As with life, farming projects don’t always work out as we envision. We wanted to move our young pigs into fresh pasture. All the books say they will stay inside electric fencing. Our first set of pigs had a fence that was really three fences-electric, hog panel, and a row of pallets for good measure. These younger pigs have been living in what was originally planned as a chicken yard, with four foot fencing and an electric wire down low to prevent the pigs from digging out. We had never tried a pen using only electric wire.
The thing about pigs is that they tear up the ground pretty quickly so we want to move them every few weeks in order to 1) give the ground time to recuperate and 2) give the pigs fresh grass. They had turned the chicken pen into dirt and it was past time to move them. One summer day, hubby was working inside and the girls were contently playing inside. I jumped at the chance to start building a new pig pen. You see, hubby has done all the fence building so far. I hammered some poles into the ground. I ran electric wire. I was so proud of my pig area. Later that evening hubby helped me move the waterer and he built a pig hut made of hay. What a nice pig area, we thought.
We went to the old pig area to gather our pigs, who weigh over 60 pounds. Pigs are fast and pigs don’t like to be captured. So just imagine us at dusk, running around trying to catch a pig. Twenty minutes later we managed to grab a pig by her back leg. We each took a leg and carried the pig about thirty yards to the new pig area. We gently placed the pig down. She immediately ran into the electric fence, squalled, and ran through said fence. Sigh.
Well, that one is gone. Let’s get the other one. Fast forward thirty minutes, two injured knees, and a pig caught in a dog crate. We very gently placed this pig in the new area and she happily ate some grass. We now had one pig still free. We chased her through the cows and into the old pig area. We chased her until we were all panting. We finally caught her in a mud hole. We put her in the crate and carried her into the new area. “See pig? It is lovely here! New grass! More space!” She walked out of the crate and ate some grass. I went down to the barn to get them some food. Before I had scooped the food out of the bucket, hubby appears to tell me, rather sheepishly, that the pigs have escaped. Again. At this point, the sun has set. A thunderstorm is brewing with lightning strikes close enough to make this girl nervous. “Well, I am done! This is how feral hogs came into existence.” Feeling like we wasted $140 worth of pigs plus who knows how much feed, I trudged up to the house. I see the shadows of the pigs up by the road, inside the fence, but I know it wouldn’t take long for those pigs to dig to freedom. Thankfully our pigs romped around all night but then trotted back to their original pen in the morning.
Our grand plan that didn’t work. But guess what? Life doesn’t usually go as we plan. Sometimes people fail, fences fail, animals/kids don’t obey. Sometimes darkness falls when you need light. Sometimes a scary storm catches you outside. These trials will mold you and strengthen you if you allow it. We could complain about how the books lied about electric fencing, how our pigs are badly behaved, how we are stupid. We could say it isn’t fair we ran out of light. Or we can learn from our experience, laugh about it and come up with another plan. A few days later we were able to place them into their new home after we added hog panels and pallets behind the electric wire.
They smiled and settled in quickly.