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.