Monday, November 17, 2014

The Comfort of Pigs

It has been a day of cold, hard, rain here at Cold Antler. Thank goodness it is rain, because if this was snow I wouldn’t be able to see outside my bottom story windows. Days like this are for certain things around here. They are for writing, wood stoves, and watching Braveheart. That is what I prefer to be doing, at least. But now that I raise pigs I need to consider the comfort of the porcine contingent and a large part of my outdoor work today was making sure they were comfortable in this weather.They are not complicated animals but they are very different from the horses, sheep, and poultry when it comes to weather like this. Merlin and Jasper could care less about cold or rain, avoiding their pole barn for anything short of a blizzardcane. The chickens just get wet. They walk around strutting in soggy plumage, none the worse for it. The geese, well I think it goes without saying what waterfowl think of their namesake and the sheep just choose to not prefer to be dry. Everyone rides out the weather for the simple unpleasantness it is. So do I.

But those pegs need to be dry, warm, and toasty. They will be miserable in constant wet weather, especially where they sleep the night. And so in this downpour of a day I spent a good portion of it laying down fresh wood shavings in the outdoor pig pen. They have a bowl of a nest they curl into at night and it was getting muddy, so I sopped it up and added hay for a good blanket. When it turns dark they’ll lay in a pile of hay, and if you go out with a flashlight in the dark all you will see in the cold night is steam coming off a pile of gently breathing hay. It’s delightful.

Snow is in the forecast and that means their pen needs hay bale walls and some other winterizing, but right now they are dry and content in their hay spa. The boar in the barn got the same treatment, but already has the advantage of being indoors to their outdoor pen in this weather. He still took me up on the offer and buried himself in the deep bedding, only a tail showing on a big pig ass sticking out of the hay. A happy scene for sure!

So the rain is here to stay, at least until the chill comes and it turns into soggy snow in a few hours. But I can head to bed knowing that those who seek comfort have found it. And fall asleep watching Braveheart and dreaming of bacon and pork chops earned by days such as this...


Blogger Zola Crofoot said...

Sleep tight and pork chop dreams!!!!

November 17, 2014 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Bookworm Smith (Matt) said...

I love your pig, sorry, peg stories. :)

November 17, 2014 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Susan Conway said...

The boar in the barn must be a sight to see! How about some pics of him and also the steaming pile of pig-infested hay?

November 17, 2014 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

I am just thinking about bringing a pig home to raise, but I am wondering if you have to use hay for bedding. You always talk about giving them hay for bedding. Hay is much more expensive than straw here and I'd prefer to use straw unless it won't work for some reason I can't figure out.

November 18, 2014 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Oh, use straw by all means! No one grows wheat around here and there are seas of grass so people sell last year's first cut for a few bucks a bale if they aren't giving it away! Here good hay is 3-5bucks a bale!

November 18, 2014 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Matt! PEGS!

November 18, 2014 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I'll get boar photos and steaming pile o peg photos soon!

November 18, 2014 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Jenna, do pigs stay outside in winter? I am from Saskatchewan and have been thinking about getting a piglet in the spring. What do they need for housing?

November 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger JP Swift said...

We just had our 11 pegs killed on our farm this past Sunday. We live in NH so we had the same weather you just had. This morning we had temps in the 20's and I was so glad we were done with pegs for the season. As usual they were wonderful beasts and will feed many families many meals throughout the coming year. JP Swift

November 19, 2014 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Pictures that you've taken of your day??? I miss them.

November 29, 2014 at 8:59 AM  

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