We’ve owned our boar, Abraham, and our gilts (girl pigs), Maggie and Gabby, for months now. They have been too young to breed so we’ve kept them separate and abstinent until this weekend. Which meant we needed to move a large boar through two pens, through a pasture, into a barn, and through a gate in order to make acquaintance with the girls. Sounds easy, right?! Ha, we knew better. By now, we’ve moved several pigs and it usually doesn’t go as planned. We entered this escapade with patience and knowledge.
Abe’s area was muddy. You’d think he’d be ready to go into the barn.
I had the bright idea to use a horse whip to poke Abe in the ham so he’d walk where I wanted him to go. This was after the bucket of food would only get him so far. You see, he knows where the electric fence was and didn’t have much interest in trying to cross that line even though the fence had been moved far out of the way.
Before you get upset about the horse whip, please know it isn’t actually used to whip horses or any other animal. We use it to give cues by either just holding it up as an extension of our arm or by gently touching the animal so they move away from the touch.
Abe didn’t like the cues. He barked at me and then bit my leg. He didn’t break the skin, but it did leave a bruise. I gave up the stick at that point because I knew I was only irritating him. I switched to sweet talking. “Yo, dude. I am trying to hook you up with some fine ladies. You can sleep in the barn! There is grass down there! Do you understand what I mean, when I say hook up? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure you will like that.”.
He soon started walking towards to barn. Pigs are smart, you know. I ran into the barn to pet the girls so they’d make pig noises that would lure Abe right in. Hubby stood outside the barn and tried to shoo Abe in. Abe was on his way when this guy blocked the door.
Abe ran away from the barn and hubby and I traded places. Abe must have remembered the stick. He was standing about two feet in front of me. He looked at me, grunted, and backed up about three feet. Then he plowed into my legs like he was a bowling ball and he was going for a strike. I feel forward onto him while yelling “HELP!” with my main fear being he would bite me again. My secondary fear was that he would knock me down and eat me alive. My tertiary fear was that he would tear both my ACLs. He pushed for about three extra long seconds then ran around me. It hurt a little and I almost cried.
I almost quit at that point, but felt sorry for my hubby. It just isn’t fun to chase a pig by yourself. Especially when it is below freezing outside. What kind of wife would that make me? So, I went back in with the ladies. We put the bucket of food in the barn. Abe walked in and ate a snack. I opened up the gate to the ladies. He trotted right into the pen. It went much smoother than it could have.
The moment he entered the pen, Maggie stood still like lady pigs do when they are ready to make some babies. Within about ten minutes, baby making began. Hubby took a video. Which is weird, so I’m not posting it. I have pictures, but again…weird. So, here is a post baby making photo where Maggie is covered in mud.
Expected due date for the piglets is May 2nd. Abe seems to be back to his friendly self but I guarantee we are on full alert for anymore boar-ish behavior. Safety first on our farm!