Today was moving day for Gladys and Lucile, the two resident potbelly pigs. Working around the rain drops these past two weeks, I finally finished the new Piggery. My original plan was to tuck the piggery under the old truck which serves as a hay shed for the lambing barn. Winter put the project on hold. Thanks to my friend Duane, the new Chicken Palace was completed before winter hit. It allowed me to do a major chicken roundup of the wild bunch and move the flock from the old 8 by 12 coop into a new 14 by 24 building. The chickens, including 80 roosters hatched last summer, loved it. Thanks to Craigslist, I was able to trade the roosters for two turkeys. That’s a story for another day.
Anyway, the old coop became the piggery for the winter. I got Gladys and Lucile in a trade. I traded hay for a petting zoo. Gladys and Lucile are real pigs! They love to eat. They survived the winter hunkering down in a mountain of straw, eating and getting real fat! I try to make sure my animals get enough food. Apparently pot bellied pigs are easy keepers. I didn’t factor that in to my feeding. I suppose I could rationalize and say their legs shrunk from snuggling in a thick blanket of straw all winter. Needless to say, when your a four legged critter and your belly exceeds your leg length, you begin to experience mobility issues. Sorry girls!
So I added a piggery into my work plan. My work plans are fluid. I make them up as I go along. I had lots of eight foot two by fours so I decided on an eight by eight structure. The two by fours cut in half led me to decide on four foot walls. Using rough lumber, I decided to make the sheeting a board and batten finish. Deep within my storage shed, I retrieved an old barn cupola I had bought at the Waverly auction, as it still had the tag on it. Pigs stink. I figured ventilation would be a good thing. I mounted the unit in the center of the roof and built the roof around it. Also stored in the shed were bundles of shingles left over from another project. Just enough as it turned out.
So today was a big day! Just as I finished caulking around the cupola my young neighbor Dallas rumbles into the yard on her four wheeler. “What are you doing Mr. Ed? ” “Getting ready to move the new piggery” I said. “Can I Help?” “You, bet”, I said, glad to have help. Did I mention I built the piggery out in the yard in front of the workshop? As most of my projects, the new piggery, turned our a bit more substantial than I anticipated. “Are you going to be able to pull it”? My skeptical friend asked as we hooked up the chains. “if the tractor can’t , I’ll go get the horses”, I joked. She helped hook the chains. I hopped on the tractor, put it in low gear and slowly began moving forward. It moved! I crawled towards the new site, Dallas borrowed my phone and documented this momentous occasion.
Five minutes later we began maneuvering the new Piggery into position. Pushing, pulling, shoving and sliding, we managed to get it where we wanted. Time for a lemonade break. Rested and updated on the events of the day, my friend and I moved on to phase two. We needed to connect the pig pen to the Piggery. I pounded the posts, Dallas tied the hog panels to them. Pigs have strong snouts. We made sure each corner was secured well.
Phase three proved to be the most challenging. As I flung open the door of the chicken coop, Dallas informed the girls, it was time to move! They grunted and resumed snoozing. I hate to say it, but offering them a snack was the only way to get their attention. After a few minutes of pushing and urging, we were able to get them to exit the old coop. Pigs aren’t stupid. They quickly figured out something was up. Faced with a choice of moving twenty feet to a new home or going back to the familiar, they protested vehemently. Growling, squealing and snarling like beasts ten times their size, Gladys and Lucile, pushed Dallas and I to the limits. First we tried gentle persuasion by pushing them. Not. Then we tried the stick method like the experts use at the State Fair. No way. They tried to eat the stick. Next came the rope method. Try lassoing a two hundred pound solid chunk of pig when there is no ground clearance! When I finally got the rope around Glady’s middle, I pulled it tight. Upset by the rope, she pulled me backwards. Them we tried the rope around the rump trick. Gladys retaliated by peeing on my boot. Dallas found that particularly amusing.
Thirty minutes later we managed to cajole them into their new pen. They nibbled the new grass. I Hope they enjoy their new home and new lean green diet. Just in case they were still upset, I gave them a little scoop of grain. Judging by their grunts and slobbering, I think they were thinking about forgiveness. Only time will tell.