The red wench is loaded!
And now I am going to pass out because ye gods, that was the physically most demanding thing I have ever done.
If you recall, this horrible, ill-tempered red pig missed her original locker date with a stunning execution of human-evasion techniques. I am pretty damn good at loading recalcitrant animals (even a half wild, terribly mean camel one time but that’s another story for another day) but I absolutely failed to get this pig on the trailer after nearly two hours.
So we rescheduled. And had a blizzard.
Then rescheduled. And had a blizzard.
And rescheduled one more time. And, you guessed it, had a blizzard.
In the mean time, this red wench was just eating and taking up space (she is so bad tempered she can’t be housed with any other pig, they hate her) and getting BIGGER. This photo doesn’t do her justice, because you can’t see her height, but she is pushing 350-375 right now.
Tomorrow is our 4th scheduled date and the weather looked grand so I told my husband we would load her tonight, come hell or high water. And by god, she gave us hell.
First, we gave her a chance to be a good pig and follow the bucket of feed into the trailer. Nope. She came out of her pen and immediately went into psycho running mode. The bucket, the calm voices, the niceness meant nothing to her.
So we set up our chute and tried some gentle herding into the trailer. Not happening. All we got for our efforts was being pile drivered into the wall...repeatedly.
I had assumed the nice ways of doing business would go badly and thus had several back up plans at the ready. The first of which I stole from the James Herriot books and had used successfully before: Put a large bucket over her head and because a pig that can’t see will back up, then back her into the trailer.
And so I got her as close as I could to the trailer and dumped a bucket over her. Bzzzzzzt, in seconds she had flipped around and dislodged everything, sending us flying.
So we did it again with the same results.
Finally on the third go, I was able to stay with her and we starting backing in the right direction! Hurray!
There was a 12 inch space between the open trailer gate and the wall and she managed to wedge in there and, cursing, I had to let her go.
By now she was worked up and going into full idiot mode so the 4th time I got the bucket on her head, she just refused to move at all. So much for the bucket plan.
My last gasp was to attempt to get a rope around her hock and simply haul her to the trailer. I am not a cowboy. I cannot rope. This meant somehow physically grabbing her back foot and slipping
the rope on. You can probably imagine how well that went. The decibel level in the barn, from both pig and humans, reached new highs.
On one of the rope attempts, the loop somehow went over her head and miraculously stayed in place. Pigs don’t have much of a hinge between head and neck so I had never considered holding her from there but there the rope now stayed. The game was on!
I am pretty tough and I consider myself strong but holy heck—holding an angry, several hundred pound pig on the end of a rope was nearly the end of me. I have not been that winded since the last time I was forced to run the mile in grade school. We went up and down the barn several times as we tried to get her into the trailer door, once Even nearly having her head inside only to have one of her damn WATTLES get stuck on the door clasp and stop further progress. You just cannot make this crap up!
My husband, who had been doing duty as the pig body redirector whenever she got close, finally asked for a turn on the end of the rope and I, wheezing on a Hay bale, handed it over.
God help him, he set down like a pulling tractor and just physical pulled that pig to the trailer door—I pushed her along from behind but he did the lion’s share. She finally got the drift and actually stepped in her front end on her own but then stopped and refused to move again. I grabbed a second rope, looped it over her backend and heaving like sailors bringing up the anchor, we got the wench fully inside.
I want to celebrate this monumental achievement tonight, maybe some champagne and a big pork chop, but a part of me is utterly terrified I will wake up at 6am and find that she has broken out of the trailer and is now running amuck on the Farm. I know what my prayers will include tonight....
(Update: She was still on the trailer in the morning and unloaded at the locker without incident!)