When you think of pigs you often think of cute little piglets, jumping around and playfully squealing as they snuffle at your feet but the thing about pigs is that they grow, and grow and simply keep growing. The pork and bacon that we eat come from pigs that are only 6-8 months old and weigh just 90kg, but, the pigs that we will have on the farm will be the mummies and the daddies of these little babies. Mummy and Daddy Pigs are BIG animals and can weigh more than 300kg, imagine that stepping on your foot (I can tell you that it hurts) and so its important to be careful around the pigs and to treat them with respect. With this in mind I have just found an excellent blog from an American hog farm (that’s what they call pigs stateside) with a short list of rules for safe handling of pigs and I thought it would be useful for anyone who comes to visit us on the farm. Read and be prepared, you have been warned……
1. Don’t get between a big animal and a hard place.
2. Watch your feet, beware of hooves, tusks and tails.
3. Don’t try to break up a boar fight.
4. Be wary around the boars when they’re after a lady in heat. It’s not polite, and rather dangerous, to interrupt sparking folk.
5. Be very careful of a sow and her piglets. If piglets start screaming the sow, and other pigs, may rush to their defense. Even a sow that is normally very docile may get aggressive in this situation.
6. Greet a pig fist out fingers curled down and in. This is like touching noses which is a proper, polite piggy hello.
7. Most importantly, don’t mess around with pigs you don’t know. They can get aggressive, like any animal, if they feel threatened, especially by someone they don’t know.
These rules of conduct can be applied to many species.
As an interesting aside, the pigs perceive us as being far bigger than we actually are. They see us as a 2 dimensional silhouette and assume we have a proportional mass. To them height in particular, but also width, implies a corresponding length and thus total size. If you want to appear small to a pig, and many other animals, crouch down and you’re less threatening. Similarly, if you want to be very big and intimidating, stand up tall and spread your arms up and outward – this is called looming. It is very handy for moving animals around and backing them off if need be. If you are only 5’8″ a pig will think you are about 4,000 lbs because he never realizes there’s not more of you behind the silhouette. He has a pig-centric mentality that says everybody is proportionally long as they are tall at the shoulder.
Thanks to http://sugarmtnfarm.com/ for the blog.