Tuesday, November 15, 2011
There are only pigs, and mud.
this is reality.
Pig farming is not romantic. Piglets are cute, I'll grant you that, for about six weeks. Then they turn into pigs, which are not cute. They are not adorable; they do not make friends with other animals like Wilbur from Charlotte's web; and they are not clean and pink.
this is a fantasy. this is not reality.
Pigs are large, aggressive, pushy animals with teeth. They WILL knock you over, and you WILL land on your ass in a pile of pig shit. Pig shit, by the way, is one of the more offensive types of shit. Like that of other omnivores, pig shit is stinky. By comparison, horse shit smells of newly mown grass. Goat shit is practically invisible, and smells like nothing at all. Pig shit smells like an open sewer on a hot August day. And pigs shit every two minutes, on average.
Pigs are not easy to move around. It is a struggle to get pigs to go where you want them to go (this is also true of goats, but a little less so). Like goats, pigs are escape artists, and like goats, they will ruin your fences. Goats ruin fences by mashing them down from the top; pigs ruin fences by crumpling them up from underneath.
A pig's nose is like a mini-bulldozer. By the time a pig weighs fifty pounds, it is stronger than you are. I don't care if you are Arnold Schwarzenegger on his best day: a fifty pound pig can lift you right off the ground with it's nose. They are fast as deer, too: older folks might remember that county fairs used to have greased-piglet-catching contests. Whoever took that ribbon home earned the hell out of it, I'm here to tell you.
oh, you aren't scared of pigs? really?
Pigs are destructive to pasture and -God forbid - gardens. Ten minutes in your vegetable patch and you can kiss your harvest goodbye. Wherever pigs are, mud is not far behind. Put a few pigs on a major league baseball diamond and in a week flat there will be nothing but brown soup.
There is only one thing that justifies keeping pigs, and you already know what it is. It is their unearthly deliciousness. If a more delicious animal than a homestead-raised pig roams this earth, it hasn't been discovered yet. I pity the person who has only tasted supermarket pork. Pastured pork may be hard on the pasture, but is is heaven on the plate. Pork is one of those few products, like sweet corn or tomatoes, that when raised at home is simply in a whole different league than the commercial product.
In the past, we always raised one pig at a time. Then somebody told me that the pig must be terribly lonely, that more than other animals pigs need the company of their own kind. Also this person said that many of the obnoxious behaviors I complained of, such as screaming and biting, were probably related to loneliness and that two pigs would actually be easier than one.
twice as much bacon; twice as much hassle
This made some kind of sense to me, as I have myself noted that two children are usually easier than one. However, I am sorry to say, this fellow was just flat out wrong in our case. Two pigs are twice as noisy, twice as hard to manage, and twice as scary as one pig.
Here's hoping they will also be twice as yummy. :)