Posted 08-31-2003 at 09:51:08
[Reply] [No Email]
I have to go out at mid-day and feed the momma sows a little extra due to the high milk output, and each one of them has a special place that they know to look for me when the sun is right overhead.
The two out front are easy, their 'special places' are far apart from all the other animals and each other. The one out back though, lays down with all the other sows during the heat of the day, so I have to kind of clear my throat or make a noise to get her attention.
It's the same concept as going into the henhouse after dark. The sows are all about half comatose but with enough of a commotion they will get up and run around half asleep trying to figure out what all the fuss is about so I have to be very careful what I do. What generally happens when I try to get the one sows attention, is that Henry and Other Duck will notice me first and never fail to sound an alarm.
"She's got FOOD!" Flap, flap, flap, big wide orange feet smacking the soft mud. Here they come a hundred miles an hour and stand right at my ankles quacking their fool heads off. "Look everybody! Food! Bucket! C'mon! Get up get up!"
If they go on long enough eventually they will start a stampede, which means I have to stand by with the hoe or something equally threatening and chase all the other pigs away from momma so she can eat which generally takes her at least a half hour.
After the ducks get going, they get the dogs stirred up, which wakes up Bear as he reacts to everything, and he will pace the fence pulling at the wire with his tusks, which in turn upsets the dogs even more and they run up and down the opposite side snarling and barking and snapping at him.
So the scene is basic chaos, the sows milling around, me in a gladiator type position weilding a hoe or shovel, Bear carrying on, the dogs going nuts, the ducks raising cain. It took me two weeks to figure out the chain of events but today when I went out there I was ready. I saw Henry the second he saw me.
Up popped his head. He clambered to his feet and made a bee line for the gate with Other Duck right behind him. Everybody else was still calm and sleeping. When he got within three feet of the gate I flung the empty bucket I had brought along for just this purpose. It caught him right on the crown of the head, the wire handle slipping down over his neck.
The bucket did two circular revolutions, a perfect ringer, and then ultimately yanked him off his feet. He got up and wobbled off in the opposite direction, the bucket still hanging around his neck. He was no longer a problem as he was too busy trying to escape from his plastic torment. I hurried through the gate and by that time Other Duck was just starting his alarm.
In two giant steps I was close enough to slip my right foot under his big white pekin butt and I flung him just as far as my muscles would allow. He made several clumsy attempts to slow down his descent by flapping his useless wings, but eventually landed in a heap on his chin not too far away from Henry. The sound of the gate woke up mommma sow and she ambled over just as serene as you please, I poured her food into a dish and she began to eat.
Bear still slept, the other sows still snored, the babies stayed quietly stretched out in the shade under the oak tree and never flinched. The dogs came up for a scratch and then yawned and stretched out at my feet.
Complete and total peace and harmony. On days like this I can slip away and leave momma to eat unmolested, and go on about other chores. I don't know if Henry and Other Duck learned any lasting lesson, I doubt it, I imagine I'll have to repeat this process a few times before they catch on for good and all, and while I do kind of bad about treating them so roughly I'll get over it. The peace and quiet more than makes up for it.