Happy as a pig in…mud

The pigs normally spend a lot of time in their shelter on hot days, but I was out working on the fence for their next bit of pasture, and they are curious beings, so were out “with” me. Though they technically have names, I can’t really tell them apart anymore, especially when they’re covered in mud. Much like the declining energy one expends on baby records after the first child, I have not been keeping track on the calendar of how old these piglet are – but working it out from the purchasing info, they are at 12 weeks, or three months. They look about on track for growth to me, which certainly adds up with the voraciousness of their appetites, which increased a couple of weeks ago. If you look closely in a couple of the photos, you can see they are a little sunburnt behind the ears – probably the one place they haven’t managed to get mud.

These pigs are bred to be raised indoors, but seem to have pretty good pasturing instincts judging from their rooting ability and their clear enthusiasm for eating grass. They are quite different from last year’s pigs, which has surprised me a little even though I should have expected it. For instance, last year’s pigs were meticulous about their bathroom corner. These pigs use all the corners. Last year’s pigs never even considered bashing their water bucket around, let alone trying to turn it over. These pigs have managed it a few times, despite it being hooked to the corner, and wedged in with paving stones. These pigs also routinely turn their feed bowls over, which happened about twice last year. On the other hand, these pigs are less pushy, more amenable to tummy rubs, and more respectful of the electric fence.

Their new pasture is one part of a bigger pasture which I intend to rotate them round, and they should be in the first bit by the weekend. Fence is set up, but I still have to figure out how to get water to them there, and though I’ve rigged it so they can go back to the barn for shade and shelter, it won’t be feasible for the next phase of the rotation, so fixing up some kind of shelter is moving up the priority list. With roughly close to zero carpentry skills this is starting to look more and more like a straw bales and plywood kind of set up, though back in the winter, it was going to be an A frame type hut on skids. Originally I didn’t want to go with straw because it’s actually not very plentiful here, and can be hard to get. However, I have about a dozen bales of pretty low quality stuff that I picked up fairly cheaply to use as spare pig bedding if I needed to keep them in the barn longer, and I will probably use that to build a shelter, banking on the fact that I can get better straw from a friend up the road when he starts harvesting grain in a month or two.

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10 thoughts on “Happy as a pig in…mud

  1. I love pigs.

    With two pigs you have a world of inexpensive housing options available. I’m a big fan of T-posts holding pallets up on 3 sides with a fourth pallet over the top. Maybe cover that with a little scrap tin. Wire it all tight and you’re good to go. It’s much easier to move than wet straw bales too.

    We bought a field drinker for our pigs and it was the best decision we ever made. I may get one for the layers too. I know you only run a few animals but it gets the water where they need it and it’s pretty tough for them to turn over until they weigh above 200 pounds. At 300 pounds they can play soccer with it.

    • Two great suggestions, thanks. I have to borrow a pounder to get the T posts in, but that’s not a huge deal, and I’d have to get it from Hay Guy who won’t be doing his hay thing later this week anyway, since we’re due for rain. Maybe he’ll even come and pound if I’m lucky.
      I checked my Nasco catalogue, they don’t have that drinker, and I know my feed store doesn’t. I’ll have to google around. I was thinking about a rain barrel with a hog nipple, set up on cinder blocks or something. I dunno, these pigs really like to turn things over if they can.
      See, one of the great aspects of blogging, I get good practical advice from people with experience.

      • I linked to Farmtek but any number of places have them. I think I bought ours from Gemplers.

      • yeah, not so much up here. I don’t know if it’s the way I’m searching the net or what (and I’m pretty good at searches – it’s my job), but I’m not finding ANY Canadian suppliers of that drinker, nor of any Brower product for that matter. Maybe I should become a Brower dealer, there’s clearly a hole in the market place, lol. If I go with that drinker, I will likely have to order from the US, which means exchange rate, duty, and the shipping, which is not a huge deal, since I’d be paying shipping for it to come from Winnipeg or Ontario or wherever, but still – it all adds to that $350+ price tag. I don’t know why, but just about everything I’ve found up here is for piglets or for commercial hog barns. Nothing in between. I may try emailing Brower to see if there’s a Canadian option, but I didn’t hear back from them a year ago over something else I was interested in, so I’m not sure how that will go.
        As a matter of fact, I’ve had the same issue with bell drinkers for poultry. There are two versions as far as I can tell – a cheap one that gets complaints on product reviews, and the more expensive Plasson bell drinker – which gets raves, but seems to be impossible to get through a Canadian supplier (the cheap one is available, of course). I haven’t done the legwork with Plasson to determine my nearest dealer, so perhaps there IS one in Canada, but it’s not obvious from the net, that’s for sure. In the meantime, I’m continuing with the 5 gallon fount that I lift out by hand twice daily.
        I’m back to thinking about the barrel with a hog nipple. Course, I’ll have to train them to the nipple… and I have to somehow make the barrel untippable…

      • Put the nipple on a hose and the barrel out of reach. We used a nipple on a garden hose for years.

      • yup, hose is a problem. I used the bib on the chicken house last year, but can’t this year temporarily (I hope), so a hose would have to cross the driveway, which is fine if I’m filling a barrel once every day or two, but not practical 24/7. I had a hose to a nipple last year, worked a charm, but it was from the chicken house.

    • I ended up emailing Brower to find out if they had a Canadian dealer, and they don’t. They suggested FarmTek. So not happening this year, anyhow. I’m working on a nipple on a T-post (sound familiar? one of your ideas) hooked up to a hose hooked up to the hen house, which will work well once I get the split in the pipe fixed in the hen house.

  2. df says:

    They are looking super; love the sound of pig tummy rubs! Choosing the easier, more practical route for a temporary shelter sounds sensible; we find that often our plans for various projects end up evolving (or devolving, as it were) the longer we wait or consider our options. Doing what will fit with the time/energy/skill/supplies available is not all bad!

  3. Are they the same breed as last year’s pigs? It’s interesting how different they are.
    I have done the same thing with my chickens – first group all named and I tracked every little detail. Next group took me quite awhile to name and the third group is still not named!

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