We keep our older pigs inside a portable electrical fence. Smart animals that they are, they quickly established that the orange netting was their boundary. Whenever we bring food or water the pigs come stampeding over to the fence but are sure to stay about one micrometer away. We thought they were trained.
The energizer that supplies power to the fence costs a few hundred dollars, so, instead of buying a second one when we needed it, we just took off the one from the pigs' enclosure, thinking they would be fooled. Ha.
Last week I was away from home, writing exams that will (if I passed) entitle me to practice as a naturopathic doctor. DH was holding down the fort alone, as he did before we were married. (Aside: he observed that he can do the morning chores, make breakfast and get out of the house faster when he does everything himself than when I make breakfast. He says the the idea is that I am supposed to make breakfast while he is doing the chores, not hop out of bed when I hear his boot-steps approaching the trailer.) This past Saturday he went to the Dump Run Special at our local community centre, which is a fund-raising breakfast, so-called because the dump is open on Saturdays. There he met up with a friend from work and that friend's two friends.
Driving down the our lane upon his return, he noticed that the pigs were not in their pen. From my perspective, I received a text stating, “Emergency. The pigs escaped and I can't find them.” 80 acres is a lot of territory to cover. Looking for animals that don't want to be found is a disheartening task. DH drove his 20+ year old truck where possible and ran around where driving is not possible. The three friends, despite being inappropriately attired for the task, set out on foot. Where DH was frantic, they approached the ordeal with a spirit of fun.
The search eventually paid off when the three friends found the pigs in the stand of trees between one of our fields and the road. They were none-the-worse for their adventure, but clearly not ready to give up their new-found freedom. DH tried throwing them in the back of the pick-up to take them back to the pen, but they kept jumping out. God, I wish I had been there to see pigs jumping out of the back of a truck. What eventually lured them back was DH teasing them with a water bottle, like a carrot on a stick.
For days afterwards the poor captives stared at the spot on the fence where they had escaped. I like to think that our pigs have it pretty good- grass, mud, mash, all in abundance- but the truth is a pig will always choose the forest over the field.
The moral of the story is that, when you have people around you things are usually less bad. Had DH been alone, he might never have recovered the pigs and he most certainly would have been in a greater panic. The second moral of the story is, if you don't want to be put to work, don't visit us.
Thank you to DH's work friend and his two friends! Come back soon!