I was expecting a litter of pigs a couple of weeks ago, but nope. One of the tough parts of farming is that sometimes you don’t know if an effort has failed for weeks or months (in this case, three months, three weeks, and three days). I’m evaluating when I want to have another litter. I have interest from a 4-H member in buying some pigs for stock shows in the spring of 2020. To make that work, there is a fairly small window for the pigs to be born. Had I gotten a litter in October, I would be right on track for the show pigs. As it is, I either need to hold off on breeding for a few months or give up on the show pigs. I’m also looking for some feeder pigs…that would make up for this missed litter, and keep me from needing to rush into a new litter.
One of the perils of free-ranging hogs in Texas is unwanted porcine visitors. In a state with somewhere between one and four million wild hogs, it’s inevitable that they’ll want to provide company to my bunch sooner or later.
We’ve had a sounder running around the neighborhood since the spring. The first time I saw them, half hidden in tall grass, I thought it was a bunch of puppies. They were only about eight inches tall, all black, with long tails wagging. At first, I couldn’t figure out why someone had dumped a bunch of lab puppies in my yard. Then I wondered why the puppies all seemed to have their noses buried in the dirt. Then I realized I was looking at about a dozen little feral pigs.
They showed up here and there through the summer. Each time I saw them, the pigs were bigger, but fewer. We went into the fall with just four, but they were pretty big, as wild pigs go. They mostly stayed along a creek across the street road from my pigs, and they weren’t much more than a curiosity to me. (Except for what they did to my sweet corn, but that’s a different issue)
Then it happened.
I went out to check my pigs, made a quick count, and realized I had an unwanted guest. There was a feral boar that was visiting my young gilts. He was quite enamored with my girls, and paid me no attention. I made short work of him. Sadly, he was inedible….mature boars are so loaded with hormones that their meat is awful. His BO was overpowering even from eight or ten feet away. Problem solved.
Or not….there were three feral pigs hanging out the next day, including another boar. A neighbor took the two sows the next week, leaving just the single boar. I kept trying to get rid of him for the next few days, and he kept one step ahead of me. I finally caught up to him, though, and I’m back down to just my domestic pigs. I suspect that I’ll have one more reminder of the wild pigs in February, though……