What we learned in our first year of raising pigs — Volume 1

We brought our pigs home on May 17, and we were only moderately prepared for this endeavor.

Well, I suppose I can only speak for myself … so I wasn’t very prepared.

Prior to welcoming Pigloo, Porknelius and Crisp P. Bacon to our homestead, my only interaction with swine was at a local county fair, where I was tasked with photographing each winning pig.  In reality, that meant I crouched in a pen with my notebook and camera while pigs were rapidly sent through a chute behind me–occasionally knocking me over with their stout and bristly bods.  Sometimes screaming was involved.

So it was a natural choice for me to become a pig farmer.

As is the way with my husband, he spent weeks researching all the details in raising pigs; their diet, their need for interaction and enrichment, keeping them safe, and what to avoid.  He was prepared.

We also had the extreme fortune to have mentors living just down the road from us.  Our neighbors and their knowledge, patience and unending generosity was a crucial factor in our success.  Seriously guys–Iowans are the coolest.

So while A was carefully observing and nurturing the animals, I was busy feeding them rhubarb leaves (poison) and trying to stop them from eating my dresses (questionable attire).

So here is a short list of what we learned, for posterity and nostalgia (and hopefully to amuse you with my nonsense).

1. If you’ve only had your piglets for two days and you hear coyotes … you will sob about their welfare and urge your husband to rig up a system to scare the beasts away.  It was a difficult time.

2. As the Iowa summers approach, the flies and ticks will feast on your pigs.  And the ticks will be HUGE and awful and nauseating.  Therefore, you will be drafted to swat the pigs with flyswatters in each hand as soon as you come home from work and are still in heels (until you wise up and purchase those disgusting hanging fly tape contraptions).

3. Pigs … FROLIC.  And they play with bowling balls.  Special thanks to my aunt and uncle, who own a bowling alley, for supplying us with said bowling balls.


4. Pigs enjoy belly rubs — and will learn to approach humans and tip over to get what they desire.

5. Seeing your pigs graze from your deck will make you swell with pride.

The next volume of this blog will be what we learned from our pigs’ graduation (which is the euphemism I used for the processing of our pigs.  Don’t judge).

But for now, here are some adorable photos :

squeal of glee!
squeal of glee!
There's a new outdoor beast in town!
There’s a new outdoor beast in town!


Still trying,



One thought on “What we learned in our first year of raising pigs — Volume 1

  1. Mom January 15, 2015 / 11:48 am

    And you did a great job. I still can’t believe you enjoyed those piggies so much. How about a cow?
    I know better than to suggest a goat.

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