Picking Up Piglets

Piglet Carrier

That may look like it is a dog carrier but really it is for carrying piglets. Honest! Believe me, none of our dogs have ever been in there or ever will – they don’t fit. But, it makes a perfect piglet transport.

Weaner Piglets typically weigh about 15 to 35 lbs each depending on sex, breed and when their weaned. We generally wean at about four to six weeks. That carrier will comfortably hold about two to three piglets ready to go to a new home and begin tilling up a garden.

If you’re going to a farm to pickup piglets to raise for your own you’ll need some method of transporting them home. What ever you do, please don’t consider carrying them home in your arms or loose on the floor of your car. They won’t enjoy the experience, other drivers won’t like seeing you swerving all over the road as the piglets get under your feet and you’ll discover your vocabulary expanding. Piglets aren’t really pets, see Big’Un below, and they aren’t used to being held. In fact, they’re quite ticklish, especially around the middle. When you grab them around the middle like you might pickup a puppy or a child their first thought is “Predator!” and the first thing they do is scream “Mom!!!” Piglets can put an air raid siren to shame.

At the very minimum a cloth pillow case or burlap bag will do the job of transporting a piglet. It makes for a calm, dim space that will make the piglet feel more secure as it leaves the farm and goes to it’s new home with you. Put the pig in the poke and tie it closed with a piece of twine. That will be much more secure than having the piglet running about on the floor as you drive home.

If you’re picking up piglets in the winter transport them inside the vehicle, not in the back of a pickup truck without a cap. The cold air with the high speed wind chill would be too much for them.

Big Un

Some people think farm pigs will make a cheap pet. Not. The goofy guy in the photo above is Big’Un, one of our large boars. He’s never been on a plane, train or automobile. He’s never ridden in a piglet carrier. He never will. At this point even his head wouldn’t fit through the opening. He might not even fit in our extended body cargo van’s transport area which is only 90″ long. Big’Un’s a big boy at about eight feet from the tip of his snout to the base of his tail. Add another 18″ for his tail which he can use to swat with. Big’Un was born on our farm and that is where he’ll stay. He’s good natured, but he’s nobody’s pet.

Peeking over Big’Un is Out, one of our sows. Out’s in.

Outdoors: 64°F/33°F Sunny
Farm House: 66°F/50°F Whey tub to south field, fencing, growers to garden, weaners to front
Tiny Cottage: 67°F/56°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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4 Responses to Picking Up Piglets

  1. baringapark says:

    Just LOVE your boar ‘Big Un’ !

  2. MrPhil says:

    Walter where are you!?! I’m missing my regular dose of Vermont farm life.

  3. MrPhil, we’ve had a new adventure dumped in our lap. Not bad, just not what we were planning to do this year. I’m being very mysterious I realize, details to follow…

  4. Patrick says:

    The first time I picked up three Berkshire piglets (about 40-45 pounds each) I built a simple tee-pee of three sheets of 4×8 ply in the back of my truck. One was the floor, two were the sides. The truck tailgate covered the back, plus some wood over that to make sure they would not ‘explore’ their way out. Then I tossed some old indoor/outdoor carpet on the bottom so they wouldn’t slip around on the slick plywood.

    It worked perfect. The farmer (who sells maybe 75-100 feeder pigs a month) said it was ‘perfect’. His loading chute met the back of the truck and the pigs jumped right in with no fear they would make us chase them.

    Got home and used a broom to “push” them out from the backseat window. Wife pushed and I caught. Next time we’ll use a ramp.

    Anyway, that’s my contribution. Total cost was not much considering the plywood was pulled and used for a chicken coop a week later. Very secure and the pigs seemed quite happy with it.

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