We both knew that loading pigs into a trailer isn’t necessarily an easy task but having spent a fair amount of time observing JimBob and hand feeding them twice a day every day, we thought we at least knew our pigs fairly well. For instance, we KNEW that they liked their food. And that they were highly motivated to ‘get to’ their food. We also knew that pigs don’t just jump up into trailers. We knew we would need a ramp.
It didn’t take long. For the pigs to discover the plywood ramp that is. Did you know pigs are to plywood as a wood chipper is to branches?? I mean, they just demolish it. In NP’s words they ‘turned it into paper plates!’ Crunch, rip, crunch. NP and I exchange glances. Is this really happening?? Yep, suuure is!
We pushed the pigs back, reset and better stabilized our now chewed up ramp, tossed out the bits and pieces of plywood now littering the pen and decided to make a trail by sprinkling some of the feed down the ramp. We herded JimBob back towards the ramp and SUCCESS! They started eating the feed and one even stepped up onto the ramp!
Wait! What’s happening? NO, Stop! The brave leader was losing his footing on the now saliva slippery ramp and slid backwards allll the way back down the ramp. :/ Now, that might be a little dramatic. He really didn’t have that far to slide as he’d only advanced about 3 steps to begin with. It still felt like a huge loss!
Now what? We decided to up the ante. We added milk to the mix. Milk is their favorite food. Surely this would tempt them. Sure enough, they started back up the ramp. Then we heard the boards start to creak and crack under the weight of the first pig. Oh boy, was it going to hold? It did! And finally, one pig was in the trailer!! YES!! But wait, where is the other half of the duo going?!! Apparently, ‘Bob’ was not at all interested in getting in the trailer and was instead high tailing it to the other side of the pen. Crap. I set up guard by the trailer door to attempt to keep Jim in while NP headed long to round up Bob and bring him back to the trailer. Long story short, before we could get Bob in, Jim got bored and bailed out of the trailer. I was no match for him!
So, with one piece of plywood in place as a ramp and I holding the other on end to use as a gate, NP set off to herd both pigs back to the trailer. With a little bit of work, we got them both just past the plywood ‘gate’ and I was able to swing it ‘shut’! Yippee!! With both NP and I braced against the plywood, pushing against the pigs, we finally got them pushed and prodded up the ramp and into the trailer!! NP swung the trailer gate shut and stood against it catching his breath! I on the other hand, had a few choice words to say along the lines of “Hurry up and get that *#$% gate LATCHED before they push it back open! NP snapped to, latched the gate and THEN we BOTH breathed a big sigh of relief!
Needless to say, we learned some valuable lessons that day and we will have a MUCH better system in place next time around!
And with that, at our expense, please .... Enjoy!
Brun Ko Farm
**Other than being a little disgruntled and out of breath, no pigs (or humans) were harmed in this loading process!***