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"The pig pen was disgusting!"

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

We got this feedback from a customer last week.

Let me take you on a tour of our pig pen, and you tell me what you think.

Let’s look in the bedroom. Mama and her eight babies sleep and nurse in here. The straw is kept clean and dry, not by farmers, but by the mama pig herself. We give her fresh straw to work with once a week. Pigs are the only farm animal who will keep their straw dry and tidy.

Over to the trough, er, dining room. This IS messy. Not only does she eat like a pig, she also flips over her trough with her strong snout to make sure she hasn’t missed anything that fell underneath. She gets grains, pellets, food scraps and grass to eat, and she has opinions about the different tastes of each food she gets. But mostly she just wants MORE.

Now, how about the bathroom? This mama always uses one corner of the pen (the northwest) to do her business, and she’s teaching her piglets to do the same. We’ve seen her training them not to pee in the straw bed. The middle picture is right after breakfast, when several piglets went straight to the ‘bathroom’. Even to sensitive urban noses, the bathroom doesn’t smell too bad. We never have to shovel it out, because the chickens scratch out the poop looking for insects and it all just dries and turns into dirt.

Then we have the pièce de résistance of the whole sty- the mud pit or ‘spa’. Only the luckiest pigs get a wallow. She uses the mud for sunscreen, moisturizer, air conditioning and insect repellant. She submerges herself part way and shakes like a dog when she gets out- don’t stand too close! She manages to keep her straw bed mud free by making sure she is dry before she lies down.

With careful observation, anyone would consider this pig pen very well kept. Pigs are marvelous creatures. Now if only we could teach her to fix the loose board that she keeps pushing off...

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