I'm a collector of old agriculture books. I find so many of the old methods to be just what is needed for the sustainable farmer of today.
The following passage has always made me smile.
Our pigs, when old enough, are allowed to run out everyday, into the barn yard, in winter, and the pasture in summer; and we find this arrangement convenient for letting them in and out of the pens, as each pen opens directly into the barnyard.
If well bred and properly treated, the pigs will go to their pens as readily as cows or horses will go to their own stalls.
This may be doubted by those who ill treat their pigs - or in other words, by those who treat their pigs in the common way. But it is nevertheless, a fact, that there is no more docile or tractable animal on the farm than a well-bred pig. There is a good deal of human nature about him. He can be lead where he cannot be driven. A cross grained man will soon spoil a lot of well-bred pigs. They know the tone of his voice, and it is amusing to see what tricks they will play on him.
We have seen such a man trying to get the pigs into their respective pens, and it would seem as though he had brought with him a legion of imps and seven of them had entered into each pig. No sow would would go with her own pigs, and no pigs would go with their own mother; the store pigs would go into the fattening pen, and the fattening pigs would go where the stores were wanted. Should he get mad, and use a stick, some active porker would lead him in many a chase around the barn-yard; and when one was tired, another pig, with brotherly affection, would take up the quarrel, and the old sows would stand by enjoying the fun.
Let no such man have charge of any domestic animal. He is a born hewer of wood, and the drawer of water, and should be sent to dig canals, or do night-work for the poudrette manufacturers.
At their regular feeding time, we can take twenty or thirty of our own pigs, and separate them into their respective pens in a few minutes. They inherit a quiet disposition, and would dismiss on the spot, any hired man who should kick one of them, or strike them with a stick, and we cannot bear to hear an angry word spoken near the pens. - Harris on the pig, 1883.
So true! With our pigs being on grass, we move pigs constantly from one pasture to the next. Never have a problem. I've had some people tell me they think I could lead them to town and back!
Notice the author says "at their regular feeding time". A huge key to pigs is they are very scheduled. Mine will be waiting at the gate about five to ten minutes before they are to be fed, moved, etc.
As one man said "pigs will do anything that is their idea!"
Until next time...