Adventures in Pink #2

Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.

-Ambrose Bierce

Walter and Flo have become very friendly. Ever since I accidentally gave Walter some red wine (more on that later), their attitudes have improved dramatically.  

Flo has become a shameless tummy-rub-lover. Yesterday I went over the fence and peeked into their lean-to. They were still sleeping, nestled in a pile of hay in the corner. They sleep late; actually they sleep most of the day. It’s been suggested that they’re lazy, but my argument is; what would constitute a non-lazy pig? What productive industries do pigs engage in besides rooting, eating, sleeping, and shitting? Anyway, when they noticed I had come for a visit Walter, made a beeline for my feet and immediately began chewing on my shoelaces. He succeeds in untying them if I don’t double knot. I gave him a scratch and looked over at Flo. She had taken a mere two steps out of the hay pile and promptly lay down, rolling onto her back and gazing up at me expectantly. I patted my leg in an effort to get her to come closer. She got up, took three more steps and again rolled over. I reached over the plywood and gave her a rub for her efforts.

I’ve tried to give Walter and Flo scraps from the kitchen on several occasions. Each time they’ve turned up their snouts and continued foraging. I guess I can understand that they don’t want my old, moldy, way-past-its-prime, garbage, but they even refuse fresh stuff, like carrots and strawberries. This was a bit of a myth-buster for me. I’ve always heard that pigs would eat anything, perhaps even (ahem) a dishonest business partner or an adulterous spouse. My only other pig feeding experience was terrifying. I wasn’t sure I could get out of the way fast enough. They ran at the food with such energy that I threw the bucket and leapt over the fence.

I think most of the pigs I fed, the only other time I’ve ever fed pigs, were pregnant at the time. According to Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs, by Kelly Klober, when pigs are pregnant it’s wise to not let them gain too much weight. It will be easier to carry the piglets. So a pregnant female’s diet might be slightly restricted, not much, but enough to make them hungry at mealtimes. Walter and Flo have access to grain whenever they’re hungry.  They just lift up a little flap and dig in, so they can be choosy. They also have plenty of room to forage. I don’t really care that they won’t eat my garbage, but I do wonder if more of a variety of diet would be beneficial.

The only thing Walter would ever take from me was a glass of red wine. I didn’t really mean for this to happen and I was certainly concerned afterwards. I mean, he weighs thirty pounds. I have no idea how much wine it would take to get a pig drunk and I didn’t want him to get sick. It was after dinner and I was outside in the pen with Cory and our friend Jay. I had a glass with a small amount of red wine left from dinner. Walter came close to my legs and started to sniff my boots. This was still during the running away and squealing phase, so thinking to cultivate his curiosity I bent down and let him sniff my glass. He inhaled deeply, closed his eyes and grasping the edge of the glass gently with his teeth, tipped back the contents without spilling a drop.

After that he let me rub and scratch his belly freely, and we became fast friends.

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