Pig Tales May 03, 2015 12:41 1 Comment

Hi, I am Jessica, the middle child (insert middle child joke here), and I am an avid outdoor and animal person.

Over the past two years, I have had a slight fascination with pigs. Fat pigs, skinny pigs, the ones that fit in teacups.... but more realistically- pigs that I could keep and raise during the summer. This February I went to Cuba with ALES Alternative Reading Week, I saw the Cuban pigs on the farms we visited and seriously got interested. At the beginning of April, a young farmer neighbor and I received our order of Yorkshire x Berkshire weaner pigs.

I had made a pen inside a barn at the farm, ordered feed and used a tub for water. I was prepared. When I went to pick them up, I was not nearly enough prepared for the sounds they make when you finally catch one of their short slippery legs. They did not "oink" at that point. The sound they made was a lot closer to a train slamming on the brakes and hearing each rail car screech against the tracks. In effect, you are nearly deaf by the time you get three pigs from the barn into the truck. I was laughing so hard I could barely hold on to the pig itself.

The pigs are now outside and putting their natural rooting behaviour to use. They can rip up a patch of grass the size of the kitchen table in about 5 minutes. I have also found out that they will tolerate a good back scratch. I decided on getting all three the same sex in order to have more uniform growth rate and decrease competition for feed. Of the three gilts (young females), one is pink, and two are black. The pink one is experiencing issues with having pale skin under the Albertan sun. She is a little sunburned. When I found this out I was scratching her back and realized, she was a little redder than the previous day. She clearly enjoyed what I was doing and flopped down on my feet.

So far, this pig adventure has confirmed that I did have a secret love for the swine species. It has also opened my eyes to the fascinating and amusing natural behaviour of pigs. Needless to say I think I'll probably keep this summer pig raising thing going in the future.

Follow me on Instagram @jacarlyon_11 for pictures and videos of my summer pig project!