Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pig Tails

Daphne and Fiona have been a wonderful addition to the place. We have learned a great deal about pigs over the last few months. Here are a few things we have learned...
Pigs are very vocal and have a wide variety of noises I wish I could understand.
There is no place to hang on to on a pig.
You can't hide a pill in a banana.
All they think about is food.
Pigs LOVE to run and play.
And they need their feet trimmed. I hadn't thought of that until I got them but it didn't discourage me. My dad taught me how to trim my pony's feet as a kid. I have been trimming goats' feet for 37 years. I can trim the llama's feet. A pig can't be that hard.
I was a little concerned because most people, I have heard, get the vet out to sedate the pig and trim but that costs around $300 in our area. There is no way I was going to pay someone when hubby and I could do it.
The woman we got them from said that if we get them on their back they will stop struggling and you can trim them. She said they would squeal but that they would at least be still. So we had a plan. The plan was for hubby to pick one up and get its feet off the ground and I would trim. Easier said than done. There was no way we could get her on her back.There is no where to hang on to a pig that doesn't want to have anything to do with what you are doing. I had my tools ready.....goat hoof trimmers and some pruners just in case. After much running around the pen trying to grab a pig we got Fiona up off her feet. She squealed at the top of her lungs the entire time. Neither the goat trimmers or the pruners would cut the hoof. While hubby kept Fiona suspended I ran for the horse nippers. They were sharp enough but very awkward due to their length. Pigs have very short legs and to get under her and bend her hoof so I could trim it was hard work. All the time she is SCREAMING at the top of her pig lungs right in my ear. You see, pigs are prey animals. They always think they are going to be eaten. There is no convincing them otherwise. You just have to get on with the deed as quickly as possible. We trimmed Fiona's hooves and started in on Daphne when I sensed a presence behind me. I just couldn't look up from what I was doing to see who it was and couldn't hear a word this person was saying due to the screaming in my ear. I dropped the last hoof and turned around with sweat streaming down my face. There was our very British, gentleman farmer neighbor wondering what in the "bloody hell" we were doing to the pigs. He hung over the fence for a while and told tales of the pigs he had had. Turns out he is quite a pig fan. With the assurance we would call him and warn him next time we trim the pigs' feet he went back over to his farm. He was worried something was eating the pig girls. I tell you they are getting quite a fan club.
So we got the job done. Not as neatly as I would have liked so I was out to find the perfect pig hoof trimming tool. I happened to be in Sears and remembered that I needed something to trim the pigs hooves and found these great tin snips gone hoof trimmers (to quote my friend Marigold). I CAN wait to try them out on the pigs. They worked great on the goats!
We have learned a lot about our pigs. The most important being.......let pigs be pigs. They don't have to be anything other than what God intended them to be. PIGS.
And maybe invite my hubby's big burly friend over when it's time to trim again.


Danni said...

How funny! And good to know that pill-hiding and bananas don't mix. :-) All this is a bit scary for a newbie like have 37 years of experience trimming goats feet and these beasties still gave you quite a challenge. Glad those new $6 snippers have been such a success. I want to go to Sears and get some just to have them (I don't have pigs or goats!).

goatgirl said...

I just heard from the gal I got them from and she said it took 3 people to trim. Two to hold them down and one to trim. I think I will be inviting my hubby's friend over next time we trim.

Danni said...

Hey there, goatgirl...I've got a question for you on a separate you know of any rescues in our area that have Nigerian dwarf goats who need homes? Do you know any breeders in the Portland area? I love these little guys. I'd much prefer to do a rescue, but I'd think about purchasing a baby if she came from a reputable breeder.

goatgirl said...

I have seen a rescue group on CraigsList from time to time. They seem to have all kinds of goats and I have seen some ND's. Most of them tend to be wethers. I would check CraigsList in Portland and Seattle. If I see it again I'll get the email address.
I don't know of any breeders in Portland. I do know of a few around here. I may have babies in the summer.
Have you seen the blog "This Goat's Life" ? You will love it if you haven't. Anyway they have Nigerian Dwarf's and you can get to their farm site from there.
I love my ND's. I have had Alpines, Toggenburgs and Nubians in my goatgirl days but love my Nigerians best. They are small, colorful and friendly little goats.

Danni said...

Thanks for the great tips. I checked out "This Goat's Life" - very funny.
I've looked at which lists all the local shelters and rescues for goats - no luck so far with the nigerian dwarfs, but it could be the time of year, too. Please keep me posted if you hear of anything in your area - you're not all *that* far away. :-) - danni

goatgirl said...

Will do farmgirl! What are you looking for?

Marigold said...

Oy. I see. This is the problem. Boo is actually I pig. (I knew it all along). Someone suggested to the goatmother that she 'turn Boo on her side and put a leg over her so she can't get up'. The goatfather said that if this happened he wanted to know so he could have the video camera ready. Actually, I think the pigs are very cute.
As an aside to farmgirl, I can HEARTILY recommend Baby Belles' farm since I came from there. :)

deconstructingVenus said...

Oh funny funny. The line about them being prey animals and no matter what you do they think they're being eaten cracked me up. Makes sense, though!