Box O’Piglets

Pigs in a Poke

We had a group of weaners in the north field that were ready to join the rest of the herd in the south. They had been using our sorting pen as their sleeping spot which meant they were right off of the loading ramp. Typically we’ll herd them from one area to another but this time we simply placed a wooden crate at the end of the loading ramp and the weaners, now growers, all walked into the box for their trip down the road to the south field. Easy-peasy as pie.

We had to come back for more as they didn’t all fit in the first trip. You’ll notice that a few are quite a bit larger. They’re growers from a previous round who’ve been showing the new weaners the ropes of how to be pastured pigs. How to graze and what to eat. New piglets learn from older pigs what is good. They’re hesitant to try new things. Our first pigs learned from our sheep.

So what is a weaner, a grower, a piglet? Check out the FAQ.

Outdoors: 70°F/54°F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/65°F

Daily Spark: If you’re going to be using power saws it’s a good idea to have someone around to hold your hand.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Box O’Piglets

  1. Clearly you’re proper farmers. My partner and I have got pigs for pets, but now we’re looking at breeding the pigs for meat. But I just don’t know if we can eat our pet’s babies!

  2. hi walter!

    at what age do you typically wean your piglets from mom? i guess you’re weaning before they would otherwise naturally learn foraging from their mom? then how long do you have them in their weaner paddock before repatriating them to the main herd? you keep a few of the “trained” weaners to guide the new weaners coming in?

    our first moma just farrowed 11 piglets and we are just about overconsumed with their cuteness factor. knock wood all seem to be thriving and 1st time moma is very relaxed but vigilant with her brood. really beautiful.

    thanks much!


    • Weaning varies somewhat with the season. Typically it is about six weeks but as early as four or late as eight weeks are not uncommon. A big factor is the sows health (a dozen piglets suckling on her takes down her stored reserves). Timing of weaning also controls when she’ll likely farrow next. The piglets start foraging within a couple of weeks of birth. By the time they get to weaning age they’ve been eating grass, clover and other pasture forages for a month or more.

      The bigger growers in the box weren’t necessary – what had happened was when we were bringing pigs from the south field to the the loading ramp they had come along so I put them with the new weaners who were nearby. Sometimes when we’re herding pigs an extra few come along – not to be worried about as they can be sent back later. Having extras make the pigs we want calmer. The growers got along well so I left well enough alone. If I had piglets that had never had pasture though that would be a good way of doing it – Our sheep originally taught or piglets to eat pasture and hay. I’m sure the bigger ones helped even if they weren’t absolutely necessary. Pigs are herd animals and like having others around.

      Don’t worry about the cuteness factor. By the time they get to finisher size it is pretty much all gone. See Pet Pigs for how Goose discovered this.

      • okay, gotcha. i do think the big pigs are cute too. we just took a 444lbs gilt (yeah, had trouble getting my head around taking them to the abattoir but i’m better now ) and i gave her a hug goodbye. a wonderful life with one bad day…

        • *grin* I’m not saying they aren’t often nice or even beautiful, but there comes a time when they’ve lost that piglet cuteness factor. This is why cartoons are drawn with such exaggerated large eyes and things. Cuteness pattern recognition is actually hardwired into our brains and not only that but it is very deep and cross species.

          • i was thinking about the cuteness factor and how it affects humans. but, i’m not sure that i see it affecting other species. someone was commenting on a photo i’d posted of the new piglets and saying that it almost got her to swear off bacon to which i responded that a coyote would snack one up in a heartbeat. do you think that humans are the only critters out there to experience this cuteness of other species to the point of not wanting to eat ’em? perhaps a consequence of contemporary western culture where most do not want for anything?

          • Wolves, and other animals, have taken in human children and raised them as their own. I strongly suspect that has to do with the cuteness factor. Can you see mama wolf taking in you or I? I didn’t think so. :) There’s been a lot of research on that sort of thing.

            An example I see on the farm is our dogs care for our livestock. They definitely treat the young differently than they do the big animals. They are recognizing the cuteness factor, the need of the young to be protected. This probably leads to the spectrum of prey-protected-pack.

            However, the piglet is the coyote’s prey species and they do not grow up protecting the piglets so that overrides the cuteness factor – especially coupled with hunger. Wiley Coyote’s gotta work for a living. No super markets. This fits with your note about “where most do not want for anything.”

Leave a Reply to oliver griswold Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.