Yes. You do have to train them you know. Or they will nominate a corner inside and GO right there in the house. Especially on a windy rainy day like today. Pigs will do what is easiest and they don’t mind the smell.
I have to say that Pig babies are easier to train than Human babies. Mostly because they can walk at birth I suppose. And grow at an extraordinary rate. And are obedient (to a point). I like that in a pig.
And unlike cows and horses and sheep they can be trained to leave their little messes outside. Anyway training piglets to poo and pee outside is really remarkably easy. It is all about repetition. And like the best training of children and dogs, it is all about catching the piglets being good. And getting ahead of the game.
Rewarding for getting it right is so much more effective than punishing for getting it wrong. Habits are hard to break so all I do is establish the habit of going outside very early. When i was learning to farm I studied the pigs and noticed that Piglets always poo directly after having eaten, like within moments. And some will pee while they are eating if they have a lot to consume at once.
So, when they are in training, I break their meal into two servings. I feed them their first feed of oats soaked in warm milk – they eat like crazy. Then after about two minutes, I pick up the bowls and walk outside to the Pooh Corner. I call them all out with me, saying Time for Toilet. Time for Toilet. They rush to me and quite delightfully stand around my feet and go to the bathroom. Right on cue. It is all over in about 60 seconds. I say Good Piggies loudly and frequently then once they are all done I very VERY carefully pick my way between the steaming little piles back into the barn, followed by the gaggle of grunting and squeaking babies and put out the larger second half of their meal.
I will do this again and again for a good month after weaning until the habit is instilled in the pigs to go OUTSIDE.
Though in bad weather they will find corners – they are pigs after all.
Now, you never thought you would be reading that with your morning coffee did you?!
I think Tane was a bit better yesterday. I had not quite shut the gate and at one point in the afternoon I saw him following Tima out as she bashed her way through the unlatched gate and he began to hobble at speed to the shed where the feed is stored. I picked up a half full bag and lead them back into the field and was so happy to see Tane following along behind grunting loudly for More Food.
The sun did not come out yesterday and neither will it today I think. It is stormy, lots of high winds and rain and grim. Not a good day for pigs!
Here is another image that Skip found for us. So you can get an even better idea of the overview of the farms. This is not a romantic pretty tree filled farm with babbling brooks and gentle rolling fields. What I have done is claw back a few acres of dead flat industrial cropping land and put it into pasture.
We rent the bigger fields off John’s uncle. This image has both the Home Farm at the bottom of the image and in the upper left corner of the screen you will see the West Barn and land owned by John’s mother. The long dark line running though the center of the picture is the creek that is really a ditch. In ancient times this was all swamp and then last century John’s great, greats dug very deep ditches to drain it so they could clear it and farm it.
This Google Earth picture is a few years old – we have put in more pasture and quite a bit more grass hay over at the West Barn.
But this does show my walk between the barns, I walk along the ditch, turn left onto the road, cross the bridge and follow another very deep ditch along the road, then left again and up the drive to the West Barn.
There is a little house at the West Barn – John’s son, home from the army, lives there now.
It is a very grim and blustery day out there today. The wind howled all night and the trees are now completely bare. I bet everyone was grateful for their winter quarters last night. Temperature wise it is still warm. But the rain and wind does not let it Feel warm.
I hope you have a lovely day.
The potty training had me ROFL 🙂
Potty training piggies – never thought about it before.
Hope your weather improves C.
🙂 Mandy xo
I never knew one could potty train piglets. That is too funny, but I completely understand why you do it. It must take a lot of diligence and patience.
Thanks for the farmy pic’s, there I was thinking the West Barn was just a short distance over the ditch! Do all the piggies use the same corner or do they have their own spot(s)? Potty training should help reduce mucking out chores 🙂 I hope the sun comes out for you today, willing to trade for sunny skies, empty wispy clouds and high of 29C/85F or even our low this morning of 20C/68F. Laura
They all use the same corner. And yes my objective is to cut down on mucking out – these piglets will not be piglets for long! c
Potting training the little piggies!! probably 99% of the people have no clue that is possible!!! You should put that on the front of the Tribune!! Those little plonkers are so cute!! Glad to hear Tame is moving a bit ~ but really worried about my Boo ~ can’t imagine him layin’ low ~ hugs to Boo for me!!! Stay out of the wind today!
I am worried about boo too. c
So I have been ‘away’ – not far – but I have a week of posts…. so much to comment on:
1) I do need to have trips planned also – last week was to see an elderly family member in Paris (Texas). And then next April – the Panama Canal via cruise. Travel is what keeps me driven.
2) Poor Boo! My Gracie had a torn ACL – surgery called TPLO – and 10 weeks of crate. It was horrid for her and I, but she was back to normal after 5 week of PT at home and at the vet. Hydro treadmill was wonderful for her. For ‘warm’ compresses – we pour hot water onto towels – wring them and then just held it against her hip and knee. A 5 minute compress is enough to warm the area. I’m sure Boo would love the cuddles too.
3) Tane and his kity! Loved those images along with Sheila and all the others. It was not surprising the Hop=n=Pop escaped….
OH NO! Ten weeks in a crate – Boo would die in there. How awful that must have been. I am being so careful now but still I have not seen any improvement. I really hope it does not come to surgery. c
you do make me smile..a very big smile .:)))) the thought of wee wee wee little piggies is so appealing..But if it works..all to the good. We also have cold weather here but must be grateful that it is cold and wind only..not rain or snow ..yet!!!
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2016 at 3:09 PM
I don’t mind the snow – I guess it is because I was born at a beach so snow is still a novelty – mud I do not like and we have a LOT of mud here.. c
Lovely overview photos of the two farms! No wonder you get all those steps in each day! I keep meaning to ask, how went the zip line? Did it not really pan out as expected? I thought it was a great idea!
He got it almost finished – we are still waiting for the last ropes to go up .. c
You are hysterical–and SO wonderful. Love the potty training of piggies. (Could you come deal with my cats, who upon occasion like to be naughty and pee in bad places?) Also love seeing the images of the farm so I can better visualize it all. We’ve had day after day of rain here, but we were snug in a cabin at the beach for the holiday so I didn’t mind.
A cabin at the beach sounds wonderful – even in the rain.. c
Would the lady who charioted Lurch be able to do the same for Tane by any chance?
He is too big and too old i think and I would have to give him to her – which means he would be confined to a house and crate etc, I had thought of that too, but I think he would be happier here. c
Do I spy intact little boy bottoms Miss C? Have you decided to not castrate the males since you are raising these for Jake to the end? Some pig raisers, like Walter Jeffries, feel that castration is not nessesary.
I hope not – we castrated a while back – I have taken intact boys through with no problems and the meat is delicious. However they need to be raised separately from the girls. Which is a bit of a bore (scuse the pun) on a tiny farm. And these ones are going right through the winter with me so it is easier to manage them as ONE team. Now i am going back out to check – I am fairly sure we got the boys though there were only two if I remember rightly.. c
Oh sorry to cause you pause. I’m sure you are correct and you captured all the boys before now. It is probably just their markings that have fooled me. Hereford colorations are so much more interesting than our Yorky/ Red Wattle/ Duroc Montana mix ups 🙂
That is a collection of genes! Herefords are pretty aren’t they. I have one piglet with quite the pink bottom – did you see her? c
Yes! I think so! Quite~ um~ lovely 🙂
An excellent case for waterproof / leak proof wellies if I ever heard one!
And a good hose down afterwards! c
What I love about your blog is that it brings back memories from my childhood in Germany. I remember the pigs going potty in one corner but nobody trained them.
Yes they will go in one corner – no problem – I just prefer them to go in the corner of the back yard – not a corner of the barn. c
I knew pigs were smart enough to potty train! Good for you to do that- makes everything easier to keep clean!
it works as long as the weather holds – these pigs hate the snow!
I particularly like the thought of you standing there giving them vocal encouragement… Thank you so much for taking the trouble to source all these aerial views, they really do help to make sense of the descriptions. I hadn’t realised what a walk it was to the West Barn; not a gentle stroll at all, especially in dirty weather.
Loved this post. I can just imagine it.
Since so many now make pigs into house pets, I was aware you could train them. They are smart if not a bit stubborn. Training en mass is a whole different ball game. You are so good to your animals and it warms my heart every day. I walk so little and never out in the cold and wet or extreme heat. I’ve become quite “soft” and pudgy from it. The clouds are getting denser now and the next storm coming in. Time to get Christmas out of my truck and bring it in. Putting the tree inside was like wrestling greased piggies yesterday. Maybe that’s why it’s still out there. 🙂 Thank you for the smiles today.
Christmas will begin when you get that tree in. I used to shift all kinds of stuff with a skate board but I am sure that would not be useful for a tree! c
Skateboards don’t go up stairs. 🙂 That puppy is in and up. Now the work begins. 🙂 I’m a strong woman for a woman my age! :))))
yes you are! hauling christmas trees up flights of stairs – no problem for you!
Ha ha that’s so funny potty training piggies. I always say to our dog. Come on poo poo wee wee. She can be a little madam if it’s horrid outside but out she goes, with me shouting poo poo wee wee go on poo poo wee wee at her from the back door. I’m just glad I don’t have to go outside! 😂 I’m glad Tane is feeling a bit better 😀
I am just so hoping no-one can hear you!
For many years my husband and I worked from home: a number of business meetings every day. Problem: a lively Pembroke corgi and a longhaired dachshund who wanted to greet every incomer in vociferous tones two floors down and were definitely faster than we 🙂 ! And the two of us shouting ‘Piss, piss’ to get them to the back door and out would have been heard by every knowing or puzzled entrant!! It DID lead to some explanations . . . some understood, some thought us potty 😉 !
I say ‘toilies’ to my dog…..:) Soon as I utter that firt syllable, she’s off!
I was wondering why the sow wouldn’t train them but maybe it takes a big longer especially if they don’t understand your concept of outside corner. Brilliant to establish the routine using their own habits. I guess I have done the same with puppies, taking them outside frequently and especially after eating. That walk must be wretched in bad weather. I’m looking forward to the zip line adventures. Have a good day.
Poppy is quite happy if they go in their corner – she does not have to clean it up! like I said Pigs don’t mind the smell.
Strange how a long-distance image flattens out a world that is so vibrant; so varied, friendly, and funy. I have driven past farms in Illinois for years on my way to cities in the north or east, and never did I think about stopping to say hello and wish the animals and farmers a lovely day. Also flying over the land lulls one into discounting the possibility of interesting, precious lives down below in those tiny houses. Your posts wake me up to the beauty and joy that could exist anywhere. Many thanks!
Great to see both the Home Farmy and West Barn in the same shot to get the full picture! How is the swinging/tightrope/zipline-like crossing coming along? I’m remembering that Our John was working on it awhile back, but ran into difficulty getting anything you might be carrying across. Am I right? XO
Delightful and enlightening, as always. But what really surprised me is that the former TTT is already out of the Army and living in his own little house! Where did the time go?
I know! c
Love it, potty training for pigs, I can’t wait to try this next year. I wonder if they will still learn when they are 8 weeks old? Love the pictures, your place is like a little oasis.
yes they will – these ones are eight weeks now – i think. c
I taught my dogs to “poop in the scoop” on command which they all did (and Smoky still does happily “okay, here’s good, poop in the scoop”) as the scoop slides under them and catches the poop. Don’t have to wait and scrape. The neighbors were amazed and spouse thought I was crazy until we ended up in the temporary quarters with no dog yard. There were huge burdock leaves tho if spouse wasn’t paying attention. Supposedly it is required that one curbs one’s dog – no one does and I doubt most even know about it. There are some who don’t pick up, but not many. I do have a couple new neighbors who find it laughworthy when Smoky produces as commanded. Stay dry. Supposed to be nice, sunny and warmer tomorrow.
Rosie my potbelly would use a (large) litter box if I wasn’t home to let him out. I’ve also heard of people who kept their horses stalled ‘seeding’ a particular corner of the stall with manure to encourage the horse to use it as the toilet area and lastly, I read of an endurance rider who taught her horse to pee on command at the required rest stops. I’d really like to know how she did that! Our horses and Winston the mini donk are turned out 24/7 with available run in shelter. Funny thing is the horses go wherever while Winnie picks a spot and uses that consistently. Wish all the critters here did that! Glad to hear there’s some improvement for Tane. As for Boo – well it hasn’t been real long that he’s been on enforce inactivity so there’s hope still.
I love the aerial photo… no wonder you speak to me of trees and woods, and laying on a carpet of leaves! You have few trees! I understand the desire for a Fellowship Forest now. Where do you have those trees planted? Do you know if there was ever a shelter belt on the property? I know those were implemented in the 30’s and 40’s primarily in the central Great Plains states. Many of these tree rows on farm land are now being bulldozed to make more space for farming. I always thought those were a wise idea to prevent erosion and also to provide a barrier to protect houses and out buildings from the north winds in winter.
They were planted after the dust bowl too – now they rip them out and wonder why the air is thick with dust on a bad day! sigh
I know the pain and heartache of having an ailing farm member. Or having uncertainty in how you have arranged your animal groups. I felt it when we added a LGD to our flock and he promptly killed a couple young birds, before settling into his role as top dog and loyal guardian. Or when we opted to raise a wry neck rooster, which had no hope for long life nor contributed to our bounty, and yet we went ahead with our folly. He added years of joy and unexpected wonder to our existence. Currently suffering with the quick decline of a middle aged house cat that we have treasured since she was a kitten. Her vet visit later this week will likely be costly and possibly long term. It’s difficult to quantify what these animals mean to us and yet that is what makes us human. We have intellect, but we also have heart and show compassion. Your Tane and Boo are going through a rough patch, but perhaps a slowing down isn’t such a bad thing, if you imagine it this way, a long rest after a busy season is just what most of us would enjoy, eh? Sending a warm drink and hug from the Midwest. Suzy
Yes, Sue, this is a god way to imagine it, to slow down and repair over the winter. c
Oh piggy heavens! I remember when mom/dad were potty training me. Yep, I still have memories of that time. After every meal, mom would walk me out and tell me to go potty. I think dad even showed me once how to do it outside – silly daddy but it worked. After I whizzed, mom/dad would act like silly humans saying, “Bacon pottied – way to go Bacon – good boy.” Heck, all of the attention is what the snorter craves. Now, I still do it and occasionally I still hear mom in the background, “Good boy… who’s the best piggy in the entire world?” XOXO – Bacon
Glad to hear Tane is better .. Toilet training piglets, well done 😃