My evil plan to lure the pig placidly back into his pen if he ever got out failed miserably. He wanted no part of my cookie. (It was a fresh baked still warm peanut butter cookie. What kind of monster doesn’t like peanut butter cookies?) He didn’t want carrots or bread or anything else I came up with. He wanted grass and that was all he would accept. I couldn’t even get his head out of the dirt unless I shoved him.
Carrots didn’t work so I tried sticks. Shoving and pushing made him fall over but he got right back up without a sound and kept rooting like nothing had happened. So I kicked him square in the patootie. Nothing.
Picking him up was not an option. The most I can conceivably carry for a hundred yards is 50 lbs. The pig, having roughly my dimensions, and being similarly composed of bone, organs, and muscle, probably weighs roughly what I do, which is 150 lbs. And when the thing you are carrying wriggles desperately it’s a multiplier of at least five fold.
I thought about letting him roam until he wanted water – which is only available in his pen – and then simply closing the pen door after him. But after following him around for a few minutes I saw that he had grand plans to renovate my yard. He spread out the burn pile, overturned edging rocks, bit pieces of scrap metal, and snorkeled a long line through the lawn, digging a six-inch deep trench with his face. I just knew he would eventually bite his way into the chicken pen or uproot my precious new peach tree or upend the garbage cans.
I went to the band shed and armed myself with a few of Matt’s logging slings. Since Mr. Pig didn’t care if I invaded his personal space I put my arms right around him and made a cincher out of a sling. Have you read The Story of Ferdinand? Well, this sling was the equivalent of Ferdinand sitting on the bee. Mr. Pig went apeshit. He ran from one end of the yard to the other squealing and barking and spinning in circles to try to shake me – and the sling – loose. Eventually he made the connection between the evil sling and his foodbringer and he started lunging at me when I jerked on the sling. I panicked and dropped it when he charged me and he picked the end up in his mouth so he wouldn’t trip on it and ran away. This from an animal that has spent the last five months flipping over his water dish because he thinks there’s a well under it. An animal that doesn’t know his name (“Black,” for the record) or retain any memory of the electric fence zapping him five minutes after biting the wire.
What finally worked was harassment. I channeled my inner border collie and chased him hither and yon, slapping his wiggly butt with a switch, until he was snarling mad. He has four legs but they’re no match for mine when it comes to stride and I was able to swing around in front of him when he got to the door of his pen and chase him back and forth and back and forth until he finally realized the only way he was going to be rid of me was to get back in his pen already.
Which he did.
But not without a well-placed boot in the hinder from me.
The chase made me feel spectacularly stupid but I have one saving grace: I backfilled and compacted his escape hole before I started working on getting him back inside his pen.
Butchering day is March 30th. I am counting down the days.