Well, it finally happened. Again. With hogs it’s not a matter of knowing what to do if they get out but what to do when they get out. It has become quite obvious that they will at some point figure out a way to escape.
Recently we finished up several paddocks with new fencing. We went with pallet fencing because after putting in a few trial sections it proved to be quite strong and looks pretty good as well. The new fences have worked a lot better than the wire fencing that we had been using and escapes have been non-existent.
With the wire fencing escapes were not uncommon. The pigs would get out and have a blast running through the woods, tearing up garden beds, breaking into feed, if you can think of it they probably did it. Most of the time a little feed and calling them they would come running and follow us back to the paddock they were supposed to be in. Having some great dogs that often help out is a great benefit.
With the new pallet fencing we have been enjoying no escapes and easy moving when time to move. The pallet fences are great. As pigs will do though they are always taking notice of anywhere that is getting loose. This means no matter what kind of fencing you use you must keep up with maintenance and stay on the lookout for anything that is getting weak.
A group of 8 of our almost grown American Guinea Hogs recently found a loose board in their paddock. The loose board happened to be on the gate section, not good. As normally happens they decided to nudge the board up letting the gate push open when a trip to the store was happening.
This means when we got back to the farm that 11 hogs had made the great escape! Yes, 11. The paddock that opened had 8 big boys in it. Naturally this wasn’t enough fun for them so they turned over the bacon tractor which had 3 young grow outs in it. More buddies to play with is always good right? At least they didn’t go help any others to escape.
To make things even more fun they had gotten done playing by the time we got back to the farm. They had spread out enjoying all of the nuts in the woods and napping. This meant that there wasn’t a group of hogs hanging out but pigs all over the place.
Being spread out, well fed and tons of new nuts and acorns everywhere they didn’t care to follow me back to their next paddock. Also being spread out the dogs couldn’t seem to figure out how to help push them back to a paddock.
Since they didn’t care to follow and the dogs couldn’t seem to push them back there was only a couple options left. We could just put feed in the paddock and hope the went back and stayed. We could have started an early harvest or we could wrestle the pigs back in. Leaving the pigs to come back in on their own would leave them open to being taken out by predators or just getting lost or damaging someone else’s property. Starting an early harvest is the last thing that we wanted to have to do so that option was way down at the other end of the table.
This left us with the last option. Wrestle the pigs back into the paddock one at the time. Luckily a few of the boys did follow us back and the young grow outs followed us back to their tractor. We still had 5 big boys to wrestle with though. After about an hour of wrestling I was extremely worn out but all of the hogs were back secured behind fences with no losses.
Just another day being a pig farmer. Remember most of these guys are very close to being ready to go on your dinner table so help us out and reserve one for your freezer. They can’t escape the freezer.
Three of these guys will be playing starring roles on December 9, 2017 at our Basic Pork Processing course here on the farm. If you want a chance to learn a valuable skill and try some of our delicious heritage pork get signed up before all of the slots are filled up!