Posted 10-27-2003 at 18:17:47
[Reply] [No Email]
I tried so hard to ignore it. I knew Fred couldn't hear it, he was way in the front of the house. It was about seven thirty, dark already, and the pasture dogs were going nuts. That is never a good thing. They only alert when it's bad news. Somebody had to go check.
I stepped out on the back porch and listened. It sounded like Armageddon. Big hogs squealing and raging, sheet metal banging. The sounds were enough to raise the little hairs on the back of my neck. All hello was breaking loose, so I went back inside and broke the news to Fred.
"We have trouble in the boar pasture."
I had just congratulated myself on managing to get through the whole afternoon clean. No dust, no mud. I took an early shower, put on a housedress, lathered myself in body lotion and was ready for bed. The last thing I wanted to do was walk all the way back to the boar pasture and deal with a 'situation'. I slipped on Fred's Georgia mud boots (which are only three sizes too big), he was in boxers, shirtless, and wearing a pair of hastily donned sneakers. I grabbed the spotlight, and Fred grabbed the hotshot. We were as prepared as we were prepared to get until we saw what was up.
I could tell by the sounds as we walked out there that it was not going to be an easy fix. I was right. We walked into a complete mess. We had left a gilt in with Bear so he could breed her and somehow Hercules broke out of his own pen, and in with them. Bear is a Hampshire boar in the neighborhood of five hundred and fifty pounds. Hercules is a red Duroc and he tips the scales at just a wee bit heavier. In length and age they are very similar.
The gilt had taken her share of abuse and wanted out of the pen in the worst way. She was fairly cut up, and Bear and Herc looked like they'd been through a blender. A water line was damaged so water was gushing out of the broken pipe and flooding Bear's pen.
The first order of business was to calm the dogs who were excited by all the commotion. The screaming of the pigs we could not control, the barking of the dogs was easier. I praised them for alerting and calmed them down. I shut off the water, and then we shooed all the looky loo's (the other sows) away from the crime scene so that we could pull the tractor in to use the headlights to work by.
The minute we got the gate open the gilt raced out. But separating the big boys was another matter. Every time one of them moved, the other reacted, and they tied up again. What an awesome sight. They went up on their hind legs like dogs, locking forelegs, heads thrashing back and forth, cutters flashing. Due to their height, easily six feet reared up like that, they couldn't stay up long, but even a few seconds did major damage. They both have armor on their shoulders (a heavy thickening of the skin that is as hard as saddle leather) but their necks were streaked with gashes and smeared with blood.
"They're gonna kill each other and there's nothing we can do but stand here and watch!" I yelled over the squealing.
"The heck we will!" Fred yelled back. "We have to DO something!"
I held the gate to Bear's pen open and Fred walked the perimeter, trying to prod Hercules through the gate. I found, much to my dismay that I was standing in an ant pile, and every time I bent down to brush away ants I came into contact with the hitchhiker weeds that surround Bear's pen, so before long my hair was full of the little burrs.
Needless to say, with the pen flooded the way it was, it took about thirty seconds before I was soaked to the skin. Water splashed onto my legs and ran down into the oversized boots and before long every step made a hearty 'squish' sound.
Hercules was the intruder, and while it seemed that he was running out of steam he was reluctant to leave. Clearly Bear had just had his butt well and thoroughly kicked, as every chance he got, he stuck his head in the corner, presenting his rear end to Hercules. It was then that we learned that Herc was BHOP (big hog on pasture).
Operating in the light from the tractor headlights, and armed only with a ten foot length of 3/4 inch PVC pipe, Fred finally coaxed Herc out of Bear's pen and back into his own. We spent the next thirty minutes making repairs and getting the gilt back into the hog pasture with the other sows. Her mere presence in the boar pasture was enough to keep Herc pacing back and forth in his pen foaming and growling.
By nine o'clock we were back in the house. One glance in the mirror and my worst fears were realized. I was hideous. Streaked with mud, welts from the ants coming up all over my legs, my hair arranged in unnatural ways by the hitchhiker burrs. I sighed and climbed back into the shower.
I went out this next morning and fixed the broken plumbing that was destroyed in the melee. Hercules was up and walking around but looked like he was walking on four wooden legs. Bear was curled up in a knot in a mud puddle but he was breathing and he opened one eye and grunted at me when I called his name. I think they are both feeling the results of the battle and I suspect it will be a good while before either of them is up to any more mischief.
Once again we find ourselves grateful for Girl and Sugar, our little pasture guardians. Had it not been for them, there's no telling how long the fight would have lasted and there is a very real possibility that the boars would have fought to the death. Time after time those two sweet faced girls earn their keep and more, and I can honestly say I wouldn't trade them for any amount of money.