It has probably been 23 years since there were pigs on our farm. So, it proved quite entertaining for my family to witness my brother raise a pig this summer. ‘Oinkers’, as he affectionately became known, was purchased from the local high school. The school runs an agriculture program, complete with a fully-functioning barn and livestock that are cared for by the students. When the students leave in June, the animals do as well. Knowing the teacher, both because he took the class himself and he’s a neighbour, my brother offered to take 2 of the pigs.
Not long after my brother lost one of the pigs to pneumonia, the other started breaking out of his pen. My brother would return home to find his piggy out in the field with the cows, and despite his best efforts, Oinkers repeatedly found his way back out to the pasture. There was little doubt in my brother’s mind pigs were truly as smart as they say. The character of a lone pig is quite intriguing, and like something out of a Disney movie, Oinkers led the cows to the field in the morning and back to the barn at night.
|Some pig! Oinkers supervises the heifers in the pasture.|
My niece also grew quite fond of Oinkers. I suppose one pig among many cows is quite memorable at the age of 1 1/ 2. She could tell you what a pig said, nearly as soon as she could ‘moo’. In fact, it’s quite humourous. She is an agvocate in training; I expect she will never let her teacher tell her class that a pink says ‘oink’. She’s gleaned this not from books or TV, but from the real pig on her daddy’s farm. As a result, she grunts and snorts anytime she sees a picture of or someone mentions pig. It’s amazing what a little girl picks up from the farm around her.
Of course, I have been referring to Oinkers in the past tense. Animals come and go on the farm all the time. As farmers, we understand and accept this, but I think we also learn to appreciate each one while they’re there. Whether a prized show cow or some, random pig, they are all subject to nature and we have each learned the hard way, how fast they can be taken away. Despite what we read in “Charlotte’s Web”, I think the fate of most pigs is predetermined. Nevertheless, having a pig was a delight for my family and I would be surprised if there was not a new piggy there by spring!