Pig Vandal

Pig games are very simple. Pig brains are very simple. Contrary to popular opinion pigs are not all that intelligent.  At least mine aren’t.  Not as clever as my dogs and not as clever as a toddler.  No toddler I know is happy to lie under a tree all by herself without a sound for days on end then get up to eat then break a few things , graze, empty their water onto the ground before they had a drink and then lay back down again for hours. Like many animals they live in the moment with great contentment. They don’t get bored as much as see opportunities. At least this is my opinion.

Like how a cow loves an open gate – if you open a gate they will walk through it. No real reason other than the gate was open and there might be better food on the other side.  Pigs will learn routines and like cows and sheep will respond to simple commands and calls.  Pigs are affectionate though, similar to dogs they like humans and enjoy playing with them and leaning on them and training them to bring food. They can learn a few tricks and be taught to poo outside (if it is not raining). But they do not think about consequences and do not lie under their trees plotting and love to roll in cow shit.  They see an open gate and always with caution,  follow their noses through.  After observing pigs for years I do not believe they are cognitive. Intelligent is too strong a word for them I think. I know there will be an outcry but this is what I think.

And I love working with pigs and would also love to spend more time sleeping under a tree with Our Sheila. But that is all Sheila does. Sleep.

Some pigs are busier than other pigs though. And every pig is different. We are presently building an electric fence to try and keep Poppy in her field across the way. It will be hit and miss (literally)  as to whether we can train her to respect an electric wire. As a piglet she would just run really fast and dive under the electric fence, squealing.  But I would rather all the pigs lived outside in big fields in the summer, not breaking stuff in the barns, so we will give it a go.

Tahiti is a case in point-  if a pig sees a gap she will worry at it until she makes a bigger gap. If someone closes the gap she will go and find another gap to worry at.  Pigs get their noses under things and pull up with their very strong snouts.  They are great destroyers of structures which is fair enough, the great outdoors is a better place for a pig.

Tahiti - hereford pig

Tahiti is a case in point. She saw a hole in the the back of the rat house wall, so she pulled at the board until she got the board off so she could jam her head past the exposed nails, scratching up her face, to see in, then spent the rest of the day back and forth watching the chickens lay eggs until I discovered the hole and taking my nails and hammer closed the gap.

Now that they cannot see through the wall they have lost interest in it. Back to the tree. Pigs do not lick their wounds or wash themselves so I will have to anoint her scratches for a few days and try to keep the flies away.

The back wall on the Rat House barn is rotten, I need to put fixing that on the list. West Walls do not fare well here – it is the same with the big barn. The West Wall is due to be replaced. These old wooden buildings built in a hurry by farmers with untreated timber and too many nails do not last as long as we would like. And they all need stripping and painting or replacing. And painting rotten boards is about as clever as a pig gnawing at his shelter till it falls apart or eating the roots of the tree he sleeps under.  So these are big jobs.

Sometimes I will only farm as long as my barns are standing. Maybe I am an opportunist too just like a pig.

Molly and Tahiti are not sleeping in the root cellar that we filled with fresh straw for them. They will go down into it if I am there and call them in but it is too enclosed I think – they think it is spooky, it probably has a ghost in there.  They prefer to sleep under the tree.  I don’t blame them. I would not sleep in there either – the ghost of the old house who lives in there is the silent broody type.

Boo and friend

BooBoo and friend

My sister called my place The House of Rags because I cut up all old clothes and fabric and use them as rags in the house and in the barn. Then string the clothes line with them every day. NO damp cloth is used for more than one task.  Once a rag or tea towel is used it goes straight into the washing bucket. Dampness in hot weather becomes a petri-dish of horror. And we are dealing daily with  a little multitude of animals and people some with questionable toilet habits combined with raw milk and fresh food. Any cloth that goes near my cows udder or farm dirty hands, or even wiping the chopping boards goes straight out to The Wash. I wash them every day in hot soapy water and hang them in the sun to dry. rags

Gosh is that the time! Must run! I hope you have a lovely day.

I think we will!



37 Comments on “Pig Vandal

  1. Also the root cellar may have the ghosts of the many sheep hanging about as well! I always remember the photos of Hairy McLairy with his small harem hanging out on top of the root cellar and under the tree. I miss those sheep! We are doing everything to keep our very old red barn standing for as long as possible. It is a sweet old thing! 🙂

  2. Electric fences don’t work so well on piglets, but as they get bigger the fence is more effective. The bigger the pig, the better they are grounded, the bigger the jolt 🙂 If your fence control box makes a noise (clicking on and off) insulate it. I’ve seen pigs figure out when the fence is on and when it’s off just from the sound.

  3. I’m with dianeandjack, I still go back and look at pictures of Hairy and Mama 🙂 Boo also looks like he is in his element, with all these new attendants around. Interested to hear if Amanda and Geraldine had a happy reunion? Laura

  4. And look at that garden, Damn!! We are probably 3 weeks behind you and had a light frost last night. Covered the things that needed it though 🙂 I didn’t see any garlic in your garden.

  5. Maybe piggies are like rodents and their teeth, who need to keep gnawing things to keep the ever-growing teeth under control. Perhaps piggy snouts need to be exercised constantly to stay strong and supple. My washing line looks like yours, but I have a load of microfibre dishcloths which clean really well. One use, then into the wash or the soaking bucket.

  6. I do the same with my washcloths/rags. Used once- into the soapy water and rinsed and in the wonderful sun. Cheers and have a lovely day! I so admire your strength and attitude!

  7. Perhaps one of these upcoming summers we will be reading about Miss C, her woofers and an old-fashioned barn raising. I love how old barns look but I fear treading to roughly, or with the looks of some, even touching a door or wall for fear that it will all come crashing down around me. I would have anxiety with every passing storm if I lived in your world Miss C.

  8. BooBath! I know, he is just cooling off – but I like the phrase. Animals – all animals – fascinate me. Their behaviors and patters. And oh their communications…. Sheila is a very talkative pig….. while Poppy is headstrong in what she wants. Cows – they have moos for babies, moos for danger, moos for each other…. We only think we are the top of the ‘natural’ chain – and in many ways we are – but then again – you don’t see cows in a traffic jam trying to get to their jobs…..

    • Yes they definitely have their little ways – I heard Lady Astor mooing in the night and went out in my nightie as this was unusual and there was Bobby T in the wrong field. I put them back together and went back to bed – mission accomplished.. c

      • Wow! She really comes around at that mother thing….. I guess she prefers toddlers over infants. (Kind of like me)

  9. We used to “swim” in an old wash tub outside like our furry friend. Anything to cool off. The rags on the line remind me of prayer cloths in Nepal. I hope your farm has a fortunate summer. Thank you for the pig observations.

  10. That photo of Boo leaning against you–he is such a beautifully fur-marked dog. Your take on pigs is so interesting. Some people have said they are smarter than dogs. But like you said, they are affectionate! And yes, I go back and look at Hairy and his harem. How does Boo get into that tub? I have to assume he jumps in but I can hardly believe he can scale it, as it is so steep!

    • Yes he jumps right in – I also have heard people say that pigs are intelligent but intelligent is not the word I would use. Intelligence makes one think of a process of thought. And this is not the case. Learned behaviour is different from intelligence. c

  11. Lovely post. We have always found electric fences work well with our pigs. We train them when they are little and then they keep away from them. Although the last two we had kept running up to the fence and getting a shock every feeding time (not very bright) – they didn’t break out though. I like outside pigs best too – I think they like being outside and being able to root around and wallow.

  12. We’ve used electric fence netting for years to fence our dog yard and now our chickens. It is supposed to work on other livestock, such as pigs, as well. It is portable and pretty durable. I ordered mine from the Max Flex fence site. It won’t keep rabbits out of your garden though. They will chew through the bottom strand that is not powered.

  13. Hilarious post! The pig squeeling whilst running under neath the fence, cracked me up. You get a sense that the pig is thinking “oh god here I go, I’ll just scream and it won’t freak me out as bad!”😀

  14. What a cute doggy bath Boo has……….. 🙂 – Love your veggi gardens. I have a Hokkaido and a Big Mama on my balcony this year, looking forward what the outcome will be… Their flowers are magic.

  15. I love washing on the line… gives me an old fashioned sense of contentment. We also use a multutude of cloths, tea towels and hand towels. So much better than paper towel and we seem to catch less colds, flu’s, bugs…
    I think the feathered, furred, fourlegged learn and add to their own opportunistic wisdom. We have only free birds and cats in our domestic realm but it’s apparent even with them.

  16. Very interesting thoughts today C regarding the pigs as I always thought of them as intelligent too. But then I never had a pig to observe! 🙂
    Do you have a sign in the loo that says all farm hands must be washed before returning to the farm? Like they do in restaurants? Hah! I would!

  17. HOW do you find time to wash rags each day? Love reading your daily posts. Learn something new almost every day.

  18. How do you make sure you have clean rags on hand whenever and where-ever you need them? If I need one here they always seem to be over there. My horse vet has a mini horse who has a bushel of mane, she just scoots through under the hot wire and barely feels it through all that hair. Unfortunately her mini donkey (who is Winston’s brother) is besotted with the mini and rats her out every time she escapes.

  19. Wonderful post .. I was surprised when you said that about pigs, but I have never owned one. Love your line of rags! Great idea .. One use each.

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