Chaotic pig day

Good morning. I have just come back inside from shifting Sheila by torchlight back to her new field, why you ask,  because yesterday my whole plan fell into piggie chaos.

It all started with Sheila coming into heat, which she does on occassion and she was chasing her calves round and round the field, so I locked the kunekune outside (it was a nice day) and put Sheila into the sunroom, which she immediately wrecked then lay down to sleep it off. sheila

I had been in the middle  of shifting the middle sized pigs into their new outdoor quarters when I went to save the calves -the  tin hut was in place and I had decided to shift them permanently into the new vegetable garden area they are in and out of here all the time so I felt confident. dsc_0368

Hearing the noise of Sheila smashing stuff  as she chased her calves around. I quickly shut their gate and went to her aid. Five minutes later I looked up and there were two middle sized pigs in the wrong place, two were dashing between the trucks in the drive, two dogs in hot pursuit.

I shut Sheila’s door, called them in (which took a while) and then saw the other middle sized pigs had got out the other side and were communing through the back fence with the little pigs and to my horror the little pigs were going under their fence like a running stream. The two pigs I had brought back joined them and off they ran into the big fields. Merciful heaven.

Before I knew it I had middle sized pigs and little pigs all mixed up in a marauding pack bleeding through more of the cows fences and taking over the concrete pad, splitting into packs, running in all directions and having the time of their lives dashing in and out from between the hooves of the aghast cows.


Herding pigs is like herding cats. It does not work. And of course it was morning and everyone was well fed.  First I shifted the cows then tried to work out what to do with eleven excited pigs in full gallop.

No-one was taking any notice of me.

It took a long long time and a lot of opportunist drafting to get the little pigs sorted out from the middle sized pigs and back into the barn. To get them through the barn I had to move Sheila back out of the front pen and into the abandoned vegetable garden field out of the way.

Once through, the little ones took over the whole barn as I shut the big door to their now compromised back yard.


The middle size pigs had been left to roam the farm while I gathered the little ones and by early afternoon I had got all four middle sized pigs into the back field where the root cellar is but they would not go through the last gate so we stopped there. The fence was not set up yet so it was not turned on but they did not know that yet and would not go through the gate behind it.  By evening I just had to leave them to it and hope they would remember where their bed was, find the gate open and settle down in there.

I was just glad to have them all in one place with a big gate shut.



The moment you change things on a farm there is a time of chaos while you hold your breath hoping they will not push the smoke and mirrors boundaries. This chaos was more chaotic than normal!dsc_0372


In the middle of all this Alex had been shifted from the West barn as arranged. So once I got the little pigs back into the barn she was released from the trailer.Alex

It did not take her long to find the food.


Late last night I went out to check that everyone was still where they should be and discovered that Sheila (who had been in the vegetable garden field) had found the hole that the middle sized ones had made (and that I had completely forgotton about). She had escaped (very slowly I am sure) and had gone back up to the barn, made herself a nice big bed by the little pigs and was fast asleep in the corner of the barn.

So I just shut the big doors and left her there for the night. And this is why an hour ago I was out in the early dawn with my jacket over my nightie and bringing her down the drive and back into the field, with the hole blocked up once again.  She was reluctant to move, having planned a big breakfast for herself from the feed bins,  I imagine. But that was not going to happen.

So now I will get my coat back on and get going and check to see how the others are. Alex is being very vocal – I am not even sure where they all ended up.

Now, I need to buy another solar panel for the Rat House Paddock. They take three days to charge up so who knows what will happen in the meantime. But I am not going to try and shift the middle sized pigs back, it took them the entire day to get where they are now!

Merciful heavens.

I hope you have lovely day.



89 Comments on “Chaotic pig day

  1. Oh my! I’m sure you had a few moments where you wished you were back in Milan! Interesting that you use solar panels. I was under the impression that they didn’t produce enough of a pop to get a cow or pig’s attention.

    • We use solar electric fencing, and ZAP! OUCH! You bet they pack a wallop!

          • Hahah! My boys used to dare each other to touch the hot wire. That whole “who’s the toughest” game. They didn’t play too often~ it just hurt too bad!

            • My father would test the fence by grabbing on to it – he was convinced his 8 children were less than brave for not checking fence the same way. He has been gone for years but I will always remember that.
              We had a sow move out to the grape arbor and have her piglets. We took the piglets and put them in a box with a heat lamp and then attempted to bring her in but she refused to cross the small ditch at the edge of the garden. We had to cover her head with a bushel basket and back her over that ditch to reunite her with her little ones..

  2. oh man!! I tried to move five pigs once. they had to go from their paddock to the next one which was a simple lift of the wire. literally had to step foot into new grass. took us an hour. I loves me some herding animals.

  3. Some time, in the middle of cows and pigs running past me in 5 different directions, I might just have sat down and cried or gone back to the house for a cup of coffee 🙂 Hope things calm down and everybody is where they should be. Laura

  4. I’ exhausted for you. Time lapse photography would have been interesting. I hope peace is restored and no more animals run amok! 11 excited piggies remind me of a kid’s birthday party! Pre Spring riot?

  5. Ah, marauding piggies. They really took advantage! I wonder if Sheila was dreaming lovely dreams of havoc in the fields last night! Probably more so a dream about the feed cans, I expect. We have had our share of pigs on the run. They really are impossible to herd on a full stomach. Hope they are where you need them to be today, and stay that way!

  6. Laughing with you this morning over these antics. I suspect ulterior motives by those pigs…sort of a payback to you for going away and then daring to disrupt their fun.

  7. Oh Oh Oh my Giddy Aunt!  all caused by Sheila….all I can say its a good thing that you love her so much otherwise wshe would end up as  pork chops…..What a day and what a night…Heavens forbid it should happen again!!! ( But the tale did make me laugh ..I can imagine such chaotic mess)  

    Sent: Friday, February 17, 2017 at 2:55 PM

  8. Poor you! You made it sound like such great fun, but I can only imagine the chaos. You must have slept well last night! Where was Ton in all this? I know you’re being careful with Boo…

  9. Goodness, what a day! I hope everyone behaves so that you can get on with the barn cleaning. At least the weather is cooperating.

  10. o my, I know just the kind of day you had, been there once or twice myself.. I wrote the story of our first piglets here on the farm for the blog years ago.. so here is a story back for you.. lol

    Get a cup of coffee and pull up a chair and get ready to laugh at us..  and remember that it never works the way you expect.. no matter how much planning you think you have done.
    First year on the farm, I want to raise pigs for the freezer, I start hunting down heritage piglet breeders and finally I find piglets available that are everything I want, natural born momma in big piles of straw, outdoor huts and lots of rooting going on.. so we drive 3 hours (one way) to pick up Fred and Barney. They are young, in the 40 pound range is my guess and we load them in the big old dog crate stuffed with bedding and they grunt and keep each other company.
    Now back on the farm, I had a huge indoor piggy area all prepped and a pop out door to a small but sturdy pallet fence outdoor area so they could sleep in the sun and dig up greens. Now remember when we bought my farm, no fences, everything is open and the hundred plus acres around me are in hay, edges by the creek on one side and the river on the other..
    So we get home, we carefully carry that crate down and I open it in the pig pen, they bolt out, zoom, zoom around the pen they go and the tiny holes that we had put up a board across that were to be small for them to get out.. WRONG!
    Both piglets are threw and out and they run right out of the barn, into the barn yard and then freeze! This not their farm.. we try herding them with boards.. NOPE.. off they go.. now they running around the barn, zooming out into our pasture and hubby tried to cut them off..
    Now I will not lie, at this point I have already said to my man, just stop. you can’t catch them and I am just standing there.. but hubby is slow moving up to them and then at times he bolting..  I finally lose my temper a little and pretty much say..
    That’s it.. STOP CHASING THEM< I am going to the house.. and he follows me in.. at this point, they are specks and then they are down into the creek and gone..
    Fine.. great! just great..
    So we go out, and I move a pan of tiny bit of food before the place they came out of and nice big pan of food and goodies in the pen itself but can be seen from the doorway, I put out a second pan of fresh water, and I set a board ready to be nailed up to stop any further we are out of here moves
    And I head to the house and it gets dark, and my man worries, ok, I might have worried a bit as well but I was pretty calm.. we only had two ways this can go..
    The next morning at 4 amish but barely daylight, I gear up and head as quiet as I can to the barn.. and I look.. at first nothing..
    Then I heard them..  grunt, grunt , the straw shakes and little fat snouts and wide floppy ears pop out of the bedding to look at me..
    Did you bring us breakfast?  I say! go back to sleep silly piglets and we nail up the board..
    I know that the fact that they were raised outside, coming back the shelter at night was taught to them but let me tell you, we did the whoop of joy after we left the barn and look at each other.
    home again, thankful that they came home!

    did I make you smile Miss C, I hope so.. you have a good day..

  11. What a day! What a welcome home! It is funny to read about this riot, but I’m sure it was a long day. Hope today is much calmer.

  12. Oh my word what a day! Ha they are saying that’s for leaving us! 😂

  13. This post garnered 2 “Merciful heavens.” That’s a new level of exasperation. Let’s hope you never need to use 3 to describe your day. 🙂

  14. I’m guessing you were thinking long and hard about the value of keeping pigs at the end of that.
    I’m glad they are back, more or less in their proper order.

  15. When I got to the end of this story, I was laughing and shaking my head. The image of the fellow that is twirling plates on sticks with that frantic tune playing in the background came to mind. Don’t know the name of the song. Does anyone know? I hope today is a bit calmer.

  16. Oh, what a wonderful post. Really bringing forth great laughter; just so sorry it’s at your expense. Yes, too bad TonTon was not of any help because that should really be his job, no? I loved Chicago John’s comment as it was similar to mine. The ‘Merciful heavens’ topped off the story in such a fine way…. hehehe (still laughing here, sorry). Ahhh, hope your day is a little more settled. ~ Mame 🙂

  17. Sounds like you had a pig of a day. 🙂 Like the Keystone Cops antics. Good thing you are well charge up from your trip. Seems they are expressing their displeasure at you being gone and decided to give you a run for your money with their antics. Hope things settle down for you soon.

  18. Maybe we all have to pitch in and get you a helmet-cam so we can truly have a Celi’s-eye view of such goings-on…but then, you’ve always had such a knack for telling the tales so richly we get the picture plenty vividly anyhow. Whew! I almost need a nap just from reading about it all. Ridiculous, endearingly maddening beasts, your piggies!!

      • Your imagery in reply just put another tangential one into my head, remembering a film my Jr. High English teacher showed on a pre-holiday break to try to explain his view of wrestling (the old-fashioned, actual Sport kind, not the “Professional” wrestle-tainment of today) as pure poetry. It was a montage of wrestling film, all amateurs but mostly very skillful ones, accompanied only by Strauss waltzes, and yes, it was quite balletic. Perhaps we need a cinematographer and soundtrack artist to follow you around for a week or so and we’ll have quite the masterpiece of improvisational farm dancing artistry. Thanks for a superb mental picture on which to take myself off to bed tonight!!

  19. Piggies everywhere!! Could be testing you for going away! Or just feeling a bit of spring in the air! Probably just being piggies. (Love, love Sheila)

  20. I wish you had recorded what you were saying as you attempted to gather your 11 + miscreants–probably not Merciful Heavens.

  21. Too funny 🐽 Maybe the piggies are feeling the seasons turning, and are -heaven help you- coming out of winter porcine-hibernation in a burst of liveliness. Proper pig behaviour really, good to see 🐷

  22. Good grief! It just goes to show much chaos a big girl feeling her hormones can create! My favourite part is where Sheila is led reluctantly home “…having planned a big breakfast for herself from the feed bins…” Poor Celi! I bet your hair was being torn out in chunks by the end of the day…

  23. Oh dear! At least I do not seem to have been the only one bursting into laughter: what do you expect from a city gal born-and-bred! ‘RecyclerSA’ and I seem to think alike on more than one occasion . . . just what would have happened if you had got yourself a cup of tea and sat back on the veranda with a nonchalant attitude 🙂 ? ‘Bad’ children get bored if no one pays them attention – huh ?? Would they have sorted themselves out . . . ?

    • Ah no (laughter) there would have been pigs way way out in the corn field for a start! No, I could not have left them like that. I did need to sort them out. It was a muddle by then.

  24. Oh my, too funny and I thought it was bad this morning with two escaped goats. I would get one to start heading back in to the pen and the other would cut him off, then the two dogs showed up and the sassy little goat was bound and determined to head butt them. All the while I had Percy’s bowl of food in my hand and he was at my heels shrieking for it. All before my first cup of coffee, sigh.

  25. Reminds me of my classroom early on as I tried out “creative teaching” on high school freshmen. It took me the better part of a year to regain a sense of order. I admire your patient, loving calm–rather like an understanding grandmother’s than that of an inexperienced leader. Also your ability to be amused, at least after the fact if not during. Did you smile at the piggies as you and Ton chased them around?

  26. Jonathan > Makes you wonder whether they thought ‘whilst Celi’s away, the Piggies can play’, and maybe they did, and got to like it so much, thought they’d see if they might get away with it even when you’re back! Or maybe they were so delighted to see you, they just couldn’t contain themselves!

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