Saturday, June 27, 2009


When I put my name on the sign-up sheet at Feed N' Seed for some piglets, I half expected that it wouldn't happen. It was their third order of piglets this year, and it was only going to happen if there was enough interest. They said I'd get a phone call. When, after a few weeks passed, I didn't get the call, I'd more or less forgotten about it. The call came yesterday. My three piglets will be ready for pick up at noon on Sunday. The enclosure needed a little more work so I set aside work on the house for a few hours to get it done before piglet mania arrives tomorrow afternoon. Pigs have a reputation for busting out of pens, and I got advice from people who swear by a number of strategies. I decided to delve deeply into pig psychology to make a pen that was sufficient to keep them in and an enclosed area that they'd never think of leaving in the first place. I fenced in an area of oak forest about a half acre in size, deeply shaded and largely free of undergrowth. More than enough space for three pigs. Maybe too much; they won't concentrate on working over one small area at a time. But they'll have fun expressing their pigness. With all that space they could even pretend to be wild pigs running free rooting for acorns, worms and grubs. The weakest link in any pig enclosure is the bottom of the fence. They're rooting around and come to a fence and keep rooting. Something needs to deter a pig from pulling up the bottom of the fence. A single strand of electrified wire or barbed wire is a typical solution. I decided to work with what I had available: lots and lots of brush and spindly fir and spruce trees that had grown up under the oaks. So I cleared the place and lined the bottom of the perimeter of the fence with enough nastiness that any pig with a shread of common sense would quickly abandon an effort to root any further. Time will tell if my strategy will work. I have a plan B. Not to worry.

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