Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lunch Box: Potential Lead Pig

Introducing Lunch Box
In October when I first arrived, Andy took me with him to move a set of our pastured pigs.  We went to the farthest pig pasture, The Mountain Pig Pasture, and were set on moving the pigs to a new paddock and filling their bulk/self feeder.  Everything went as planned and the pigs looked great, but one caught my eye.  She walked right up to me and beckoned to be rubbed on.  I succumb to the urge to scratch her and friendship was made.  Ever since then she has been the friendliest animal on the farm.  

Here she is... and what a lady!

Why Lunch Box?
This may be a little morbid, but I'm not so sure.  The name Lunch Box came to my head for two reasons.  One, she is pretty rectangular.  Her body looks like a box with legs.  Two, what better to have for lunch than pork?  I know, I know, but remember kids don't become attached to something that you will eat later.  Or if you're like me understand that livestock are here for us to eat, but only after we have provided a wonderful respected life.  I think a big step toward reality is that idea.  Its silly not to look at livestock for what they are... a blessing God gave us to nourish our bodies.  So, I reckon naming them that way helps.

What is a Lead Pig?
Lead pigs are a new idea here at Polyface.  If you keep up with Polyface you may remember Doc, the lead steer.  His job was to help lead a new herd of cattle during moving time everyday.  Whoever was moving the cattle would call them and Doc would know the routine and others would follow.  We don't usually need a Lead Pig when moving pigs from on paddock to another, but it would help to have one when herding them up to the pig pastures in the spring, or down to the barn in the fall.

In Steps Lunch Box
This fall while bringing in the pigs for the winter, I noticed something special.  When we brought down Lunch Box's group (remember they were the farthest from the barn) she lead the way.  Of all the pig herding we did, her group was by far the easiest to bring down.  Even though pigs get a bad rap, they are actually very smart and clean animals.  Focusing on the smart characteristic for a minute, what about using Lunch Box as our lead pig?  We have toss it around during supper and I think we might try in come spring.  I hope we do.  Her mer presence with a group of pigs seems to make them more calm and willing to follow instructions.  If we do it I'll let you know.  Hopefully I'll get some photos.



No comments: