Saturday, August 27, 2011
The three not-so-little pigs
So much has happened since I last posted here, it will take me a couple of posts to get updated.
The first big thing that happened was that the pigs went to the butchers. And they went quietly for the first time ever. Previous posts have told of my routine difficulties due to the need for a proper livestock trailer.
I still don't have a proper trailer, but I have a home-built lash-up that is much better than any I've used before.
I realized in July or earlier that the money -- $2,000 or so -- for even a used traditional metal livestock trailer wouldn't be there, so I started to plan. I bought a used utility trailer and added a wooden box sturdy enough for pigs and sheep.
I put a sliding door on the back with a pin-on-a-string thingy that works as a drop catch, as well as a cunning trapdoor in the roof at the front that allows you to drop in special treats.
On the appointed day, which was last Sunday, I placed the trailer in position at the front of the pigs' pen, and dropped in some corn cobs and watermelon rinds. Sure enough, two out of three pigs climbed on board, so I pulled the string, and just like that they were trapped.
Off to the butchers they went.
Then I came home and repeated the process without incident for the last pig.
Let me just say that again so I can enjoy the words: The pigs went without incident this year. It was totally routine. And my blood pressure was only slightly elevated.
In the past, the butchering days have left me just shattered. It was always bad enough to have to take the poor buggers to their deaths, but then add bad equipment on top of that, and you're talking a seriously unreasonable kind of stress for me and the pigs.
The only problem with this trailer is that it's a bit too cramped for three pigs, so the third pig doesn't want to come in, however nice the treats might seem.
Once the pigs were gone, I cleaned out the barn. I did a better job of that than usual -- the cobwebs in the ceiling/hay floor joists were just a little too numerous for my tastes, and Hallow'een isn't for a couple months yet.