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Living the Good Life

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A Visitor Checks Out the Pigs

Our pigs attract a lot of attention from visitors to the farm. There is just something fascinating about these little animals.

Here are ten intriguing facts about pigs:

Our Dominant Pig!

  1. Despite what you may think, pigs are clean animals. When given enough space, they prefer to choose one spot in their fencing to use as their “bathroom”, keeping their eating and sleeping areas clean.
  2. Pigs share the same diseases and illnesses with humans. For this reason, we do not feed our pigs table scraps. If you feed pigs food from your plate, you must boil it for 30 minutes in order to kill any bacteria that may be present. Our pigs enjoy garden scraps, over grown cucumbers and squash, lettuce that has begun to bolt, and over ripe tomatoes. In the fall, they get apples from the wild apple trees that line the field.
  3. Pigs love to play! Someone once told me that pigs are like dogs, they are eternal optimists and love to play and interact with one another and people. Our pigs often play games of chase with one another and enjoy tramping through the woods and bushes of their enclosed area. A couple of years ago, our pig pen ran alongside of the road. A neighbor said that every time she jogged up the road, the pigs would jog with her along the full length of their fenced area.
  4. Pigs are very social animals. They sleep snuggled next to each other regardless of their age. 
     Making New Pasture
  5. Pigs establish a pecking order within their herd. This hierarchy becomes evident at feeding times when the dominant pig will push away everyone else from their eating area. This pig usually grows out larger than their mates. 
  6. Pigs love a good back scratch.
  7. Pigs have a wonderful sense of smell, using their large round noses to root in the dirt.
  8. Pigs properly manage ecosystems. On our farm, we have used the pigs to help reclaim overgrown pasture. Acting as mini bulldozers, the pigs use the rubbery cartilage in their noses to dig up and turn over rocks, stumps, saplings, and massive amounts of dirt. This allows regrowth of healthy pasture grasses. This year, we placed the pigs in an area where the forest has been slowly creeping into the open field. As the pigs uproot an area, we extend their fencing to give them more area to recapture. At the end of the season, we will pick out the rocks and stumps they have overturned and replant with mixed grass seed.
  9. Pigs do not sweat, rather, they cool themselves by wallowing in cool dirt or mud. Our pigs dig depressions in the cool of the underbrush. Here they, roll and lay in the heat of the day. On rainy days, their hollows fill with water and mud, much to their enjoyment.
    Enjoying the Cool Dirt.
  10. Pigs are intelligent animals. We have easily trained our pigs to electric fencing. A single electric wire hold our pigs within their area. With some disciplined training, the pigs learn to not challenge the fence line.

Our pasture raised pigs live a good life on our farm, with plenty of room to roam and root around. Our B&B guests appreciate them for their entertainment and bacon, our sheep appreciate them for the new pastures they create, and we appreciate them for the biodiversity and sustainability they bring to our farm.