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  • Brian Wells

Lessons In Pig Math

On Wednesday I learned, for the 4th time, about pig math. Actually, I can’t say I’ve LEARNED about pig math. Because if I had really learned about it, well, it wouldn’t have happened. Again. For the fourth time.


What is pig math? Well, it’s kind of like bunny math. Except with pigs. If you’re not sure what bunny math is, it’s the exponential rate at which bunnies can multiply. And like we had happen here on our homestead, you go from having 3 rabbits to 40 rabbits, in 28 days. While the gestation period of pigs is much longer than that of rabbits (3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days as the old timers say), when your boar breaks through the fence into a paddock filled will 5 or 6 females, all of which can have an average of 8 piglets each, well, that is how we’ve gone from 17 to 33 pigs on our farm at once.



So what happened on Wednesday? I went out to feed the pigs as I usually do on my way to work. I always start by feeding Bear, our oldest boar. Except, Bear wasn’t where he was supposed to be. Initially I thought that he hadn’t come out of his a-frame house because like I had wanted to that morning, he was catching a few extra “Zs”. If only that were the case.


I looked over in the next paddock, a paddock that contains 5 females and 2 barrows (castrated males). There Bear was, looking back at me with a cheeky grin. The last time he did this, I replaced almost all of the fencing between him and that paddock with hog fencing. And I ensured that I put hot wire on BOTH sides of the fence. After all, it’s not always been him heading their direction. Two of the “accidental breedings” were because the sows went over to him.


There was one section about 3 feet wide, on the other side of a tree that I didn’t fortify with a hog panel because I didn’t want to “waste” a full hog panel there. Instead, I had electric fencing on either side, a scrap piece of cattle panel wedged between but more of a visual barrier than a true physical barrier. Except, because the electric fence doesn’t work well during the winter, it was unplugged. And so he made a break for it. And made sweet, sweet pig love to the lady (or ladies).


How many? I have no idea. What I do know is that it took little convincing (just a little feed) to entice him to go back where he belongs. And so I patched the fence rather crudely and headed off to work. After work, I walked the electric fence line, removing any branches that had fallen during the winter, repairing areas where the woven fence and the electric fence were touching, and of course doing a better repair of the weak area of that fence. But, did I put a full hog panel in there? Naw, why would I do that?


And so in 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days (or July 29th) to be exact, we’ll find out exactly how much saving money on that hog panel will cost me. The good news though is I’ll be able to pay myself in bacon. And bacon makes everything better.


Until next time, keep up the good work!!

Brian


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