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My daughter Jill has....
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Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 00:54:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
...taken to sleeping on the couch. She and her sister share a bed and she claims Jenny kicks and squirms all night. Sometime around two a.m. she comes into my room.

"Bwah bwah bwah, bwabwabwabwa!"

To me she sounded just like that teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons on t v. Then there's this screeching noise in the background like someone dragging their fingernails over a chalk board. Slowly, like I'm resurfacing after being underwater I hear...

"Bwah bwah piglet! Bwabwabwa do with it?!"

Then I can hear it. She's standing there holding the piglet that I stitched up earlier that evening. The banamine pain killer wore off and it's awake, and it's hungry, and it's painfully vocal about it.

"What can I do with this piglet? It won't shut up!! I can't sleep!!"

Well, neither can I, now.

I ran through all my options. Lock it in the bathroom. No, the bathroom works like a megaphone, all putting it in there will do, is amplify the sound and send it all around the house. Give it more banamine. No, that will only delay the inevitable. By now the squealing is ear splitting and I had a wild urge to hold it underwater until the bubbles stopped coming out of it. No, that would be counter productive after all the work I'd put into stitching it up.

"Take it out there and put it with it's momma."

"HUH!?"

"You heard me. That's the only thing to do, it's hungry."

"Well....okay."

She's a smart girl, she knew I was right, but she agreed so readily that I got suspicious that my gut reaction was not a good idea. I heard her go through the house, and heard the squealing increase when she put it down in order to put on her rubber boots. Then I heard the front door open.

"Jill! Wait!"

I came through the house in nothing but a t shirt and drawers.

"What?"

"I wanna go with you."

"Why?"

"I'm not sure." I wasn't either, I just felt the need to go with her. I slipped on my rubber boots.

"Nice look." She said giggling.

"Shut up and go."

I grabbed the spotlight and out the door we went, the piglet still screaming. I really wanted to kill it. That's the one thing about piglets I can't stand. Their propensity for screaming bloody murder over the slightest little thing. We went around the corner of the house, headed toward the back pasture.

"Wow, it's really bright out here." Jill said.

"Yeah, the moon is full, in a few more days we'll be able to see Mars."

"Huh?"

"You know, remember I told you that Mars is going to be visible?"

"Oh yeah.."

We're walking along, talking, everything was fine. We neared the gate that led out to the back pasture. The sow had built her nest about ten yards northeast of the gate so I told Jill to try and shush the piglet.

"How exactly?"

"I don't know! Put you hand over it's mouth."

"You put YOUR hand over it's mouth. It bites!"

By then we were through the gate and that's when I heard it. The sow had heard her baby screaming and was on her feet, grunting and barking and headed for us at a dead run. Oh crap! I had no idea she would not only react, but move that fast! She sounded for all the world like a John Deere tractor going uphill full blast in fifth gear.

"Shi*!" Jill exclaimed. "What do we do?!"

"Dammed if I know!" At the moment we were just trying to stay ahead of her, and I was shining the light in her eyes trying to confuse her. She ran back and forth from one of us to the other until she pinpointed the origin of the baby's cries, then she headed right at Jill, light be dammed.

"Throw it Jill!"

She tossed the piglet to her right, where it landed in some soft grass on the outskirts of the nest, and then snuck around behind me, using me as a shield. The ploy worked for a second or two, mom followed the piglet and sniffed it, and then as if she just wanted to be nasty for being woke up in the middle of the night, which I could relate to, she turned on us again, effectively blocking us from escape.

I never felt so vulnerable in my life. Armed with nothing but a spotlight, barelegged in the dark and facing four hundred and fifty pounds of pizzed off pork.

When she came at us there was no hesitation in her, I had a two million candle power spotlight burning full blast into her eyes and it never even slowed her down. I did the only thing I could think to do. I hauled off and planted my right foot under her chin for all I was worth. Her head jerked up violently and she stopped dead in her tracks.

"C'mon!" I yelled at her. "There's more where that came from!"

It was a classic confrontation, two mothers, both protecting their babies. The difference was, hers was no longer under any threat, mine was, and I would kick her to death before I let her at Jill. If all else failed I would use the spotlight on her. It is heavy and cumbersome and would make a formidable weapon but probably wouldn't be worth much afterwards.

She shook her head and backed up a few paces and then turned back to her baby, giving us a chance to scoot around her and make for the gate which we passed though and then stood clutching each other on the other side.

"I can't believe how fast she is this soon after having her babies!" Jill said.

"Me either."

I locked the gate with shaky fingers. I had expected to be able to walk right up to the nest before she had a chance to react, using surprise and speed to get the deed done, but she fooled me. Otherwise we would have just stuck the baby inside the gate and left it at that. I knew we should be on our toes, but hadn't expected anything like what had just happened.

"Now do you see why I wanted to come with you?" I asked her.

"Yeah. By the way, sorry about the bad word."

I had to think back.

"Oh well, under the circumstances I guess we can let it pass."

Teenagers adjust well to trauma I guess, she's already gone back to sleep but I am still sitting here thanking my lucky stars that I had the good sense not to let her go out there by herself, or at least to instruct her to just put the piglet inside the gate, but I hadn't been awake enough to think that far ahead and instinct prompted me to just go with her instead of thinking it through. The lesson was a good one for the both of us.



Jimbob    Posted 08-14-2003 at 11:19:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
I can relate to sharing a bed- movements by my wife wake me up. We use two twins next to one other. I would look into getting bunk beds.


Old Sarge    Posted 08-13-2003 at 09:02:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi
Maybe momma pig has figured out what you did to her other babies? Just wants to protect them. Mother instinct you know.


KellyGa    Posted 08-13-2003 at 07:51:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
My Mama says always listen to that little voice in the back of your head. Its usually right. And it was, good job!


Scott Hansen    Posted 08-13-2003 at 07:31:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You have a more exciting life than I do. (pout)


Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 10:28:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sarge, you may be right, and thanks Kelly! Scott, I don't know if exciting is the word for it, but it isn;t boring, that's for sure. I will have some pics probably by this afternoon!


ret    Posted 08-13-2003 at 06:51:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Guess you caught it this morning, just trying to look out for you.


Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 07:00:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
Lol! It's okay. You've seen the details of my life, I'm used to it. If only one person learns anything by what I wrote here then it will be worth the experience. I betcha Jill never approaches a sow with babies casually again.

All life is a risk. How we come through it is a testament to our instincts, survival skills, will to prevail, and ability to learn. Based on that....I'm a dead duck. Smile.


RichZ    Posted 08-13-2003 at 06:25:36       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I'm sure glad you and Jill are all right, Cindi!!!

Jeeze!!! Will you please stop putting yourself in these dangerous situations!!!!

If I didn't know you better, I'd think you did these things just to get a good story!!!

BE CAREFUL!!!!!


Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 06:32:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well to be honest with you Rich, I thought long and hard before I posted this one, because I knew I would get yelled at, but the truth is, I really did not expect her to react the way she did.

I have been around her three or four times after she gave birth and she was sweet and calm. I had to literally build a shelter over top of her and her babies and I was welking amongst them for fifteen minutes with no reaction from. I firmly belive that she was awakened aburptly, heard a piglet screaming and came out of there loaded for bear.

On reflection, we should have just put the piglet down by the gate, but it was small, injured, and had some rough terrain to get over to get to mom, so I wanted to get it as close as possible.



RichZ    Posted 08-13-2003 at 06:59:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Sorry I yelled at you, Cindi!!! But you'd yell at me if I did something like that!!

And to be perfectly honest, it's exactly the type of thing I WOULD do. I'm always very trusting of my animals. For example, my Belgian fillie is now over 1300 pounds, but to me she's still my little sweet baby. And she is, but she's real big. My vets and farrier are always telling me that even though she's very attached to me, that I have to respect her size. Only...I KNOW she would never hurt me.....INTENTIONALLY.

Well, the other day I was mending fences in the paddock, which I always do with the horses loose in there. My two gelding quarter horses just like to watch, but Rosie, my Belgian fillie, loves to steal my tools and play. Rosie kept picking up my tools, and I kept having to take them away from her, until I just piled them up between where I was working and the fence so she couldn't reach them. Well, she tried to reach around me to grab them with her mouth, and she started to stretch so much that she lost her balance, and leaned into me hard. She accidently slammed into me so hard that I hit the fence and broke three rails of the fence. Amazingly, I wasn't hurt at all. I guess the fence just absorbed the impact. Now Rosie is locked out of the paddock when I have to do work in there!!!

So I guess I'm as bad as you.

As you say...birds of a feather....


Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 07:03:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
True. It's easy to forget their size and ability to hurt us without trying. Clementine stepped on my foot once, had no idea I was under her. I was pounding on her shoulder and pushing and she was pushing back rubbing her face against my thigh, thinking I was just being a little enthusiastic with my petting. Left me limping for a week. She had no clue.


LH    Posted 08-13-2003 at 05:03:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Im glad you came out pretty unscathed from your incident but like Ret said you got lucky. I had an aunt and uncle who had a confinement hog operation many years ago and my aunt was seriously injured when a sow much like the one you described tore through the metal tube gate of her farrowing pen in a similar type of incident. I work with horses every day and have been busted up a few times but hogs are much worse and will kill you in a heartbeat if you give em the chance. So be careful from now on.


Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 06:47:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
LH, it's just an opinion, because I haven't been doing this long enough to have any real statistics to document what I think, but our sows are all on pasture. They were confined in pens in the beginning and one day Fred and I looked at them and made the decision to turn them loose. They were miserable. It's very hard to keep pigs comfortable in a small enclosure using our limited financial means, and we had the room, so now they have five acres, a pond and shade trees.

They get exercise and can find a place to get out of the heat or standing water if they need to, and they are much more content. It makes it harder on us but it's worth it. We walk among them everyday at feeding time, pet them, feed them, and so on. We may be working with a ticking time bomb, but I think they are a lot less agressive on the average than confined pigs. They are just basically happier. We just have to compensate, and every day (or night, grin)we learn something new.


ret    Posted 08-13-2003 at 04:43:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
The story was good cindi, and I am glad it turned our alright, BUT You say you have been raising pigs for awhile and you decided to take a piglet back to its mother who is in NO confinement. I am going to come down hard on you for this. Bad enough in the daytime, but at night? D**n, that was the stupidest thing I have ever heard you do. You are plain lucky, for a sow with little ones is really dangerous. Trouble is, you ought to have known that. Could it be that your son really knew you didn't belong on that tractor awhile back? You need someone to give you h***. This message didn't go through twice, had to modify the language


Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 06:22:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ret, that's just the problem, I have been around them for awhile and some of them get agressive and some of them don't. Our last three litters came from sows that we hand raised from babies and with them, you could walk right up from birth on and handle their babies with no problem.

They would huff and puff a little, but they never charged or acted agressive. As scary as it was I'm glad it happened. It gave both of us a reality check. Each one of them has a distinct personality, Daphne, Emily, Hannah, Ida, Gracie, Clementine, just a few that never gave us a second's trouble. Clementine had seventeen the first year and I got in the pen with her and hand caught very one of them, and then when she proved to be a lousy mother and laid or stepped on seven of them, I was in the pen with her every day handling them and moving them around. Brought them all in the house and gave them nutrients from a bottle and then brought them all back, and she never even looked up.

Further more I was out there with this sow yesterday afternoon, testing, I brought her water in a pail and she drank it, her babies were crawling all over my feet and I picked them up and moved them back into the nest and she never blinked. I think what happened last night was it was dark and she didn't know what the heck was going on. But in the future, no more nocturnal pig encounters. Also I will be hanging a sign on the gate today that says..."piglets and mom loose- do not enter" just in case it wasn't an isolated reaction.




Steve from Tn    Posted 08-13-2003 at 04:09:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
Happy ending. Main thing to remember about mad hogs is that they can't twist their heads to get a good bite on your leg. They might knock you to the ground and then bite ya. I have a big scar on the side of my calf where a boar that had not had his tusks removed got me. He ran past me and hooked me. It was ugly. Ruined a pair of my jeans which was tragic as well. I think I had two pairs of pants back in those days. I don't fool with no hogs no more.(My wife is an English teacher. She would love that triple negative sentence.)


Cindi    Posted 08-13-2003 at 06:39:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
Both of our boars have their tsuks, but they were cut back very short at birth so they are not very long and are flat instead of sharp at the end. But I will never, ever, get in the pen with them.


Reddee    Posted 08-13-2003 at 14:38:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Good story Cindy Glad it worked out and no one was hurt!! Redd


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