All I Know About Pigs I Learned from Charlotte’s Web

My godson is raising pigs.  He’s made an enclosure for them—three pigs so far—in the field that belongs to his dad.  They are contained by two fences; the inner fence is electrified by a solar battery; the outside fence is steel. 

The pigs arrived in two dog crates.  They were about the size of a medium dog, pinkish, with some black smudges.  Two boys, one girl.  They won’t have names because they are going to be meat.

The pigs have a job to do.  It is all part of my godson’s plan.  The porkers will cultivate the hard-packed earth of the field.  They will fertilize it.  And then crops can be planted.   Right now, the soil is unworkable, even with a tractor tiller.

I didn’t know pigs were cultivators.  Now that we’ve been watching them for a couple of days, I’m amazed at the power of their snouts.  They easily turn over dense, rootbound chunks of earth with happy grunts and snorts.  Apparently, there are good things to eat in the dirt, for they come up chewing.  On roots? I don’t know.  I’ll have to investigate further…

My research says that pigs eat dirt and the grubs, worms and decayed matter they find in it.   The bacteria is good for their guts.

Meanwhile, the three piggies are doing an impressive job of plowing the field.  They have a tunnel-shaped shelter filled with clean straw, a large pan of dry, compressed pig food, and a tub of water. 

The carrots we tossed to them yesterday are still on the ground.  They don’t love raw carrots.  Wilbur of Charlotte’s Web rhapsodized about the ingredients of the slop bucket in his trough.  Potato peelings, crusts of bread.  I remember reading how the slop trickled down over Wilbur’s ears. 

Some foods are toxic to pigs.  The list includes leaves of cherry, apple, pear, plum and apricot trees, rhubarb leaves, avocado skin and pit, green potatoes, and tomato leaves and vine.  Nothing moldy, slimy, or rotten.

I’m looking forward to morning pig visits, to see how their digging is coming along.

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