Foto Friday - The Joy of Loading Pigs


Last night, my family and I had to load our pigs into the trailer.  Yes, very soon, we will have a freezer full of hams, bacon, bratwursts, sausage, pork chops and ribs.  Oh my!  But, let me tell you how much we enjoy loading those pigs......okay, that was a joke just in case you didn't catch it.

The evening everyone was anticipating, yet dreading had come.  You see, we don't have any chutes, just a hay bale maze to the trailer.  Did it work?  Let me share my little story with you.

I was taking care of my 3 year old, so my job was limited in what I could do to help, or so I thought.  As my husband and four other children were rounding up the pigs and bringing them in the barn, my 3 year old son and I were waiting ever so patiently in the barn.  My job was to be the gatekeeper.  Just open the gate when the pigs get close and watch them walk through the hay bale maze, right up into the trailer.  I had it made.  I even had my camera.....

Wouldn't you know it started pouring down rain when everyone was out there getting the pigs.  I was feeling a little guilty, but I couldn't let my three year old out there in the cold rain, so I stayed there, waiting.  In comes one pig.  We had a little trouble getting him to go through the gate. But, once the other ones came, all but one played follow the leader and they made their way, with a little prodding, up into the trailer to some feed.  Nice.  Now where is the other one?

This one didn't like to be prodded.  This one did not want to go through the gate with his buddies.  This one had to be difficult.  As I am standing there, ready to swing that gate open, I am watching my husband wrestling with the pig.  I thought for sure one of them was going to have a heart attack!

So, the pig eventually went through the gate, now it had to make it's way through the makeshift chute and into the trailer with his buddies and food.  Big piggy changed his mind when he reached the trailer.  He plowed through everyone one and my daughter somehow stopped him with her body to keep him from escaping through the bales.  But, it was only a matter of time before he would have won.  I rushed over there and grabbed it's legs and yelled for my husband.

He ran over, jumped on the pig and was giving it his all to try and bring him to the trailer.

That's it.  I'd had it with this pig.  My adrenaline was pumping now!  So much for being gatekeeper and not getting dirty!  My husband was wearing out, and I was ready to dive in.  I grabbed his back legs and pulled with all of my might.  I was actually dragging that 250 pound pig while my husband was holding on to it's body.  Then, my daughter rushed in to relieve me and grabbed one leg.  We heaved, we pulled, we drug that pig all the way to the trailer.  Then we lifted it up into the trailer with as much strength as we could muster.  Of course, the pig was squealing and thrashing around which made it even harder.  But, we did it.

Was it fun?  No, as a matter of fact, not really.  But, we all felt quite accomplished when we went inside.  Was everyone all chipper and smiling during the loading process?  Well, quite the opposite. There were some raised voices, some harsh tones and at some point some bad attitudes for all of us.  But, when it was all over, we smiled at one another through gasping breaths, even gave some hugs and we could actually laugh at the dinner table that night.

That's what it's all about.


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13 comments:

  1. Whew! I am very thankful our butcher sends someone over to kill and gut the pigs and take them away....You've got a great story though!!!:)

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  2. And just how many piggies are we talking about here? Susie, you truly are a farmer! Blessings, ~Lisa :)

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    1. Just four pigs this year for our own consumption, with one going to a friend. Whew! What a night! Blessings to you too, Lisa!

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  3. What did you do with the 3yo while you grabbed this pig? I have a 3yo and a 5mo so I totally understand. Half the time I have the baby on my back and I'm defending my 3yo from our aggressive turkey tom. Crazy world being a farmer and a mom of littles.

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    1. To be honest with you, I forgot all about him for the moment. He realized mama was getting down and dirty and chose to stay out of the way of that squealing pig!

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  4. Yes that sure was a battle!!! haha :)

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  5. I can completely relate! http://www.fitzgeraldsfamilyfarm.blogspot.com/2011/10/holy-grapes-of-wrath-batman.html

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Let me try this again(not sure if the other comment went through). Anyway, I read the title of your post, Sharon, and started laughing before I even read the post! We deserve some kind of medal!

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  6. Great story, thanks for sharing. Loading any animals is challenge, especially pigs., you never know what way the task may go. But for sure it is a great feeling when completed. Have a blessed day and enjoy the pork when it is ready .

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  7. I have a couple farms and have some cattle on these farms. Each year, I select a steer or heifer to finish for beef. When these animals are finished they can weigh well over 1,000 lbs. To ease the stress of loading I do several things that may help you: 1. I hand feed the animal corn on a daily basis. The same time everyday as best I can. 2. I set up my gates weeks before loading and feed the calf in the gated area of the barn. 3. I have dug holes that the wheels of my trailer go into when I have backed the trailer in. I set the trailer there for two weeks before the load. This puts the trailer on the ground (stable, going down hill, no step up). 4. I move the calf's feeding bucket to the back of the trailer and have it eat there for 1 week. Last Wednesday night I loaded our feeder calf and took her to the processor. I just fed her on the back of the trailer, shut and chained the gates, and closed the trailer door behind her. She jumped right in. When she stepped off the trailer she weighed 1,355 lbs. I thank God she loaded without probems!

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