Just as I had my moving day last week, our pigs had theirs this week. Their previous digs weren’t bad at all by swine standards. They had a large barn area where they were served breakfast and dinner and a large outdoor area where they could dig in the compost, wallow in the mud, and have piggy races with ears flapping and grunts flying. They got buckets full—sometimes 5-gallon buckets, sometimes front-end-loader buckets—of veggies not fit for human consumption and remnants of plants that were done producing. (I’ve learned that pigs love broccoli plants, kale, melons and tomatoes, but they aren’t fans of onions and peppers.)
People love the pork raised on this farm because it’s woodlot pork—finished in wooded areas, the meat takes on the flavor of the nuts, roots and shoots foraged by the pigs. This practice is great for the pigs’ health as well as the flavor of the meat. This type of management takes a lot more effort than that of the grocery-store pork that comes from pig’s raised in confinement barns, only fed grain and never exposed to the light of day.
Farmer Adam cut a path through the woods, we ran two lines of electric fence, and we wrangled the pigs into a trailer and moved them across the farm their new address. (It’s unfortunate that pigs don’t walk on a leadline the way horses do. Though with 11 of them to move, the trailer-wrangling process was probably just as efficient.) Two pigs managed to escape just once so far, and they happily followed apprentice Jonathan with a bucket of corn back into their fenced acreage. They’re pretty happy in their new digs, it seems.
I made the comment while we were setting up the fence that I am so excited for the pigs. For real. They just won the piggy lottery, being able to spend the remainder of their months as wild woodland foragers. If your purpose in life is to provide nourishment for people, you might as well get to enjoy your life before you go.