Piggly Wiggly

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pigletsThere is nothing cuter than a baby pig my Granny used to say, and she’s so right! These little guys didn’t mind being held and are about the same size as a puppy. All the farmers at the farm in Germany where we spent our last vacation got a real kick out of me cuddling and cooing over this baby.

Farm animals are not treated like pets, yet their living conditions were very humane and incredibly clean. “Let’s take a look at the older pigs” my husband’s cousin, Ludger said.

We walked into an enormous pen with a red-tiled roof where Ludger raises some 2500 pigs annually. As we walked into the main room, hundreds of curious pigs stared on, and I had the eerie feeling that they could tell I didn’t belong, perhaps they got a load of my city girl high heels.

Glares turned into urgent grunts echoing about the room and I was reminded of that movie “Snatch” when the guy is flung into a pen full of angry pigs who feast on him. I admitted to Ludger that the pigs terrified me.

“Boy, they can move pretty fast, how much do they weigh?” I said as the group started to quiet down. Ludger shrugged and responded, “Oh around 225 pounds a piece.” He laughed when one pressed his snout against my leg.

“Will they attack you?” I responded. He shook his head, “No, you can go inside the stall if you want, they’re just making noise because they are afraid of you.” Afraid of me?? I thought, backing away as he unhooked the gate. “No, no, that’s ok I said, hooking the metal pin that locked the gate.

piglets

“Look they’re wagging their their tails, like dogs” I pointed out to my husband. “Yes, we cut their tails, just like they do with dogs when they are little – to avoid serious infections down the road. Pigs have a really bad habit of biting off their neighbors’ tails,” Ludger pointed out.

He guided us out of the pen into a small shed with an enormous tank suspended from the ceiling. “Here’s the ground corn we give to our pigs,” he remarked, picking up a hunk of something that looked like chunky, clotted sawdust. I could see bits of yellow corn and wheat that were bound together with water and then dried. “They’re fed just twice a day with an automated machine.” My stomach started to growl as we thanked Ludger for a wonderful tour.

Leaving the pigs behind, my mother-in-law demanded that I change my shirt as soon as we popped into her car: She grew up on a pig farm and certainly had a slightly different view of cuddling pigs!

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