Pig Driving: Part 1

The thing with homesteading is that it’s really hard even if you’re a genius and downright hopeless if you’re an idiot… but it’s always funny. For our homestead pigs I started out smart but doubled down on stupid at the last minute:

In order to get pigs to the butcher you must load them on a trailer for the final trip. Pigs, to their credit, are not likely to enter the unfamiliar trailer without some level of reassurance. This is why pigs are better than humans. I could toss a new iPhone, the keys to a Prius, and/or a coupon for a free tattoo, in a cattle car and half the population of an average city block would stampede for free stuff. Pigs, like I said, ‘aint that dumb.

The solution is planning. You train your pigs. You indoctrinate them. Take your cue from public schools. They start with precocious and curious little minds who enjoy storytime, can’t wait to read, and are self motivated to build pretend fortresses out of cardboard. They end up with semi-literate, nihilist, teenage lard asses who’re steeped in Marxism and barely have the sense of a garden variety nitwit. If schools can make humans into a sheep en masse, homesteaders can train a pig to walk onto a trailer. The difference is that it’s wrong and evil to do it to a person. Oh whoops… perhaps I’ve gone off topic? Sorry.

At any rate I spent the summer interacting with the critters. Feeding them snacks. Petting them. They became downright pleasant to be around. Friendly as dogs. Nicer than cats. They came when I called. They never bitched at me. They seemed happy when the sun shone and grateful the food was plentiful. Frankly I preferred their company to most people.

Every time I fed them I’d wander into their oversized pen; give ’em a little pat on the head and ask them how their day was going. Yes, I talk to livestock. It’s only psychosis if they talk back.

Eventually the pigs graduated from skittish, to friendly, to fairly curious. They’d greet me in the morning when I started my truck. They’d watch me mow the lawn like it was the coolest thing ever. Etc…

Because the pen was so big (which I planned!), my plan was to drive the trailer right into their living space and leave it there a few days. At first the pigs would shy away. Eventually they’d become acclimated. I’d toss some food in the trailer, give a call (they came to my call better than most dogs), and lock ’em in. Then, sadly but necessarily, I’d drive them to the end of their time. (This is an important concept. Planet wide, you don’t screw with country folk because they still understand the whole cycle of life and harbor no illusions. Also we have the best bacon!)

More in part 2.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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9 Responses to Pig Driving: Part 1

  1. margaret fowler says:

    I just adore reading your column. You have sharp wit and general common sense which is sorely lacking in people these days…

  2. Albert says:

    And it’s one reason to give them pet names that reference the fact that they _are_ deliciousness-on-hooves. Especially if one has kids who are assigned to do the work (or perhaps something more entrepreneurial).

  3. abnormalist says:

    So being a city boy (admittedly one who still kills his a significant portion of his meat), why couldn’t you just take a 22, put it behind the ear on em, pop em, and toss em in the trailer to go to the butcher?

    Is that poor etiquette?

    • Actually you’re right in theory. In theory a .22 is plenty to kill a pig. In theory you can “toss” a pig on the trailer and run for the butcher. In reality, it’s messy and the opportunity for disaster was nigh. Especially for novices.

      While a .22 can kill a pig it can also fail to do so. In the heat of the moment a shot might not go exactly where it was intended and a .22 is a teeny tiny little bullet anyway. Just sit back and imagine the mayhem of a bleeding, squealing, charging, flopping, injured, terrified, brain damaged, pig from hell that somehow lived. Just let your mind soak up the levels of insanity that could ensue.

      I had visions of a terrified, wounded, squealing, limping beast charging down the road with two armed women chasing after it. It could make the OJ Simpson car chase look like a stroll in the park. We’re talking You-tube gold!

      Go ahead and add more imaginary mayhem. Did I mention the timing would be mid-morning. How about a squealing pig that bolts for the yard, charges to the road, and dies… all 300 pounds of it… on the yellow line; blocking both lanes of traffic. It does this one minute before the school bus arrives. Now picture half a dozen wide eyed children and several angry blocked commuters snapping pictures with iPhones while Mrs. Curmudgeon and Foxinator handle firearms and tug at a dead animal. Oh yeah, imagine the other pigs running around loose while the first one does all this.

      Of course none of that had to happen. I just decided it would happen or not happen with me far far far away.

      As for “toss it” on the trailer. One does not toss the better part of 300# unless they’ve got arms like Popeye or mechanical advantage. Rednecks, Foixinator included, are clever at moving more than by mere muscle but again, picture a couple gallons of blood and gore and maybe a gummed up manual winch cable or stalled truck or broken rope. Also, I’m not clear on the details but there’s something about getting the blood out of a pig pronto being a good thing. I’m not sure why but apparently they have to be bled out pretty quickly.

      Plus try to do all that before work. Imagine yourself, in whatever job you have, walking in the front door and maybe sitting at a cubicle desk. You smell like pig shit and organs, your arms are sore from “tossing”, you’ve got a black eye from a flailing pig’s kick, you’ve been posted on You tube, there’s a PETA protest with your name on it already forming, and there’s a pint of blood in your hair. You reach for a calming cup of coffee when the boss reminds you that there’s a meeting that you forgot. The one with an important client. So there you go, looking like a serial killer, trying make a sales pitch to the vegan kitten company and their factory for plush unicorn toys. (OK fine so I’ve got an active imagination.)

      So yeah, it’s totally possible to shoot a pig, winch it on a trailer, and haul it to a butcher; before work. It’s done often by people who know what they’re doing. But all I could see was the opportunity for epic disaster and a good reason to clear out of Dodge.

      • abnormalist says:

        Fair enough.

        I’m used to “tossing” 150 lb deer in the back of the car (hatchback) which can be interesting in its own way, but admittedly wasn’t thinking 300 lbs.

        Last time I “tossed” that deer in the back of the car (late Oct) I ended up taking the day off work as it was originally a half day off, but at 1:00, I was still covered in blood like the fun character from a chain saw movie marathon. Told the boss I was taking the rest of the day off so I could clean up rather than sit in the cube and smack keys all afternoon. The “Before work” part was an unknown to me at the time.

        Regarding the venerable .22, I thought this due to the low sound, recoil, and reduced potential for collateral damage, adding in that it has been used on many a feral hog in a trap, so I was thinking along that line…

        Personally my hog round of choice is either 7.62×39, or 44 mag out of a lever action rifle, either sound like they would work reasonably well in this situation, but can be noisy and potentially damaging to infrastructure. My normal use for those on pigs is again the wild ones at ranges of 25-150 yards.

  4. Tennessee Budd says:

    The last place I rented was owned by a man who raised cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and anything else that came up cheap at the livestock auction & interested him; that’s how I wound up carrying a carrot in my lunchbox daily, to feed the donkey when I got home, but that’s another story.
    One year he had a cute little black piglet, which became a big black pig. Don’t know what he called it, but we named it Bacon. The kids thought it was a great name. They’re Southern country kids, & knew the animal’s ultimate fate. Baconhamsausagetenderloinetcetc would’ve been too much of a mouthful.
    I love my new home, the second I’ve ever bought, but I deplore the fact that I’ve no room for food animals (or a rifle range, but I got a deal I couldn’t pass up). Hell, I have 2 acres, but half of it is near-vertical (welcome to TN). I’ve barely got room for a pistol range.
    I can’t wait for the next installment!

  5. Tennessee Budd says:

    Pistol training’s coming along nicely. Ma Kettle, at 69 & widowed last year, got her HCP 2 weeks ago. Last Saturday she bought a Ruger LCR & spent some of Sunday at my place learning to put holes in things with it (before 3 months ago, she’d never fired a round in her life). Go, Ma!
    Of course, I thought it impolite to not join in. I even bought her her own ears, since she got free range passes with the purchase. It’s how to do Christmastime in Tennessee.

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