Somebody told me that chickens were gateway animals…this was certainly not a lie!
Once we realized how amazing it was having our own free range eggs right outside our door the obvious next step was bacon to go with them! Our neighbors had a weaner piglet ready to be sold and we said yes! Our little piggy arrived and although initially quite unfriendly he soon realized that we were his food source and became much more tame.
We originally had him in a stock crate down in the yard but built him a small enclosure in the chook paddock. This was supposed to be temporary until he got settled and then he too would have free reign in the paddock but things don’t always go to plan…
The afternoon we were ready to move him to the paddock we had it all set up nicely, Josh carried him in a wool sack and we set him down in the pen. He ran around in a few little speedy circles and then stopped. We placed a tray of pellets in the pen with him and thought we would give him some space to calm down but Josh’s dad thought he would give him a little push in the right direction. Well, for want of a better phrase all hell broke loose! Piggy took off and with squeals that still make me cringe thinking about it, squeezed through the fence, hot wire and all and made his escape. He spent the next half hour cruising around our front lawn while we tried coaxing him with food. When the gentle approach didn’t work we attempted to sneak up on him and catch him but instead he took off in the opposite direction towards the neighbours farm. This was now getting serious. We knew he wasn’t tame enough to come back and if he went through that fence he was gone for good. By this point I was on the verge of tears…we hadn’t had him long but he was still our little piggy!
Eventually Josh and his dad managed to herd him through the gate into the paddock and giving up on the idea of trying to get him back into the small pen, we just decided to let him go for it in the paddock. Since then he’s been co-existing very happily with the chickens. The first couple of weeks he spent tearing around after the chickens much to their disgust but once he started getting fat the running around slowed down considerably!
We’re very lucky as I’m able to take a pig bucket into the cafe next door to my work and twice a week I bring home a bucket full of scraps often consisting of scones and cakes for him! It’s clearly working as he is growing very fast. He’s 7 months old now so is not too far away from “graduation” as we like to call it. One of the best things about having a pig is that absolutely nothing goes to waste in our house now. It amazes me what he will eat – he’s certainly not fussy!
Although he has his flaws – the rings in his nose aren’t doing the best job at stopping him from rooting up the ground – he’s very friendly and loves nothing more than a good back scratch. It’s great looking out the window and seeing him cruising around with the chookies – it’s our little farmyard, or as one of my workmates likes to call it, our breakfast paddock!