Saturday, February 26, 2011

What do you expect? They're pigs!

So this year we have two pigs. Last year we had one. I was a little concerned about this growth rate: extrapolating geometrically, it'll only be fifteen or twenty years before New Zealand is sinking under the weight of our pigs. But lately I've realized that two pigs is already some kind of limit. The smell is sort of reaching the house when it gets hot, and Damn! do two pigs that are probably pushing 100 pounds eat. This is a statement about quantity, but also about fervor. If they think they're about to be fed, piggy pandemonium breaks out. The howls and squeals are heartbreaking. An uninformed party would be convinced that I was torturing these poor beasts, even though I'm just standing at the fence with my hands in my pockets.

I've recently nailed the trough down to the fence so I don't have to actually enter the pig run to feed them. I just got tired of being nuzzled and slimed--if not actually nibbled, and not in a nice way--by two beasts that collectively weigh more than I do, while wrangling the trough back into food-receptive position yet again. Even so, the trough is alarmingly small relative to the animals, and even small relative to the amount of food we're now forced to dump in there. For a long time we were feeding them "pig nuts", pellets of virtual Piggy Chow, along with a steady diet of cheesemaking-runoff whey and, now, a box of castoff/windfall apples at midday. But the feed got expensive, so now we're buying wheat kernels and barley from up the valley, soaking it in hot water and dumping it down them. Quite frankly, they should be more discriminating, because I'm becoming convinced that I could shred the styrofoam from the garage and they'd still injure each other trying to get to it.

I am told that pigs are more intelligent than dogs, the obvious implication being that I shouldn't even be THINKING about eating them. And I have no reason to doubt it (the intelligence, that is). But if they're so smart, why haven't they developed better manners? As far as I'm concerned, they could ace a university-grade intelligence test and any charm thus accrued wouldn't survive the next mealtime.

So, bottom line: I take food out to them morning, noon and night. I manage to get most of it--most of it--into the trough without decorating their heads with it. Then I stand back and marvel at the relentlessness of the eating machine thus displayed. And I think about doing some eating of my own.

Does that make me a bad person?

1 comment:

  1. Yes they say pigs are smart. I doubt it: if they are so smart, why do they taste so good?