A True Pig Story by Sally Sullivan-Hall
A friend forwarded some pigtures to me, of PBPs (pot belly pigs), that were going to be shot and left for coyotes if someone didn't come and get them. I was told there were nine PBPs free ranging on 140 acres, NO PENS! Of the nine there were three sows and six babies. There was one three weeks old and 5 four months old. So the wheels started turning! I was told that Neil had already shot the adult boar and left him for the (hyenas) I mean coyotes, which in fact turned out to be true!
After doing some homework there was a realization that these poor pigs were seven hours away from where I live. I knew that we had to do some brainstorming to figure out how to rescue them and bring them home and then to figure out housing. But no matter how much we tried to figure out a plan we knew in our hearts that we were on our way. Believe me, I am just a pet pig owner, not a rescue person, but I couldn't let these pigs be killed.
Off we went to eastern
We were told there were nine pigs, but by the time we got there the tiny three week old baby girl had died/disappeared so now there were eight. We didn't know what to expect as far as their condition. The temperature was around 25 degrees and there was frost everywhere. Plan A didn't work so we went to Plan B. While we were gearing up for Plan B Neil hands me a bag of feed which I thought was some PBP feed. Needless to say it wasn't PBP food it was a bunch of used tea bags, chicken bones and almost rotten produce. I stood there horrified at the fact that this was what those poor pigs were being fed.
We managed to get them into a quansit hut. It was a metal building with sturdy wood fencing across the front of it. We closed the fencing and they went ballistic! We were unprepared for what happened next. Two of the babies went airborne over the backs of the sows and escaped over the fence. We did capture the remaining six including the sows. We then decided to leave some of the crates with the pigs in them inside the building thinking that they might attract the two babies that had escaped. Well, it worked for one of the babies. We now had seven of the eight pigs.
We tried several times to catch the last baby, who we now called Loner. We would go into the house hoping that Loner would calm down enough so we could catch him, but there was no way he was coming near us.
We waited as long as we could for Loner to go back into the building but still it was unsuccessful. We now had to think of the other pigs who were still in the crates and the long trip home.
It was very emotional for me to think that poor Loner was left behind. I just knew that I would never see him again and we had just taken all his family away. It was already very cold up there that day and getting colder and he had no one to keep him warm. I thought he would be eaten by the coyotes or some other predator. We left the crate there just in case Loner would come back. It was agreed that Neil would not harm Loner and if caught we would leave on a moments notice to get there to pick him up.
As a post script, the three sows (which were pregnant) went to a sanctuary and have been spayed. There was one baby girl that has been placed in a wonderful home with a family who are my friends. The boars have been neutered and are now part of my family.
The rest of the Eight Little Pigs Story. The catching of Loner the last pig. By Sally Sullivan-Hall
First, I have to give credit to the Lord and His Angels for our success in catching Loner!! I firmly believe that ALL your prayers and mine were heard and answered! God gave us safe passage over the mountain passes by providing buckets and buckets of rain instead of snow. It was actually warmer on the top of the passes than it was below in the lowlands! I can only say this was God's doing!
I don't usually get too religious on the lists but this time is different, sorry if I offend anyone. We fully intended to stay until Sunday if needed but we didn't have to. Again, God's doing! There were other things that God did for us but, the main thing was catching Loner.
We left yesterday morning in a torrential downpour, hoping it was raining on the passes and as I said, it was. As soon as we got over the second pass, the weather cleared and was surprisingly warm on the eastern side of the mountains. We rolled into Oroville about 5:30pm and we were hungry. So, I stayed at the motel and Wally went in search of FOOD!!
Wally got some burgers, which were pretty tasty! Bons, our pig, and the 2 dogs(Cracker and Dusty) had traveled really well. Bons had to ride in the back seat of the truck with Dusty and Cracker riding on the console between the 2 front seats. Well, after scarfing down our burgers, we both crapped out for a nap. Anyway, onto today.........
It's cold up there but not as bad as it has been, only about 34 degrees today. I had on my long johns, ski gear, snow boots, etc and was very comfortable. We drive up to Neil's and there is about 10 inches of snow on the ground. I look around for Loner and didn't see him. My heart started to sink a little.
I took Bons out of the truck and started walking her to the big barn thinking Loner might just be in there. NOPE, no Loner, just the chickens. Now, I'm looking at Bons and thinking how stupid to bring a white pig for bait in the snow!! DUH!!
Anyway, I had this feeling that the barn was not going to be the place that Loner would hang out, so Bons and I walked down to the chicken coop. From these lists, I have learned that pigs and chickens always seem to be friends.
As I approached the coop, I got a better feeling. I turned into a hunter. I spotted Loners tracks in the snow and started tracking!! Thank the Lord. He put snow on the ground!! The tracks led to the coop and there was a trail around the coop too and the trail had pig poop in it. There happens to be a fenced area attached to the coop also.
I figured if I could get the chickens in the coop, Loner would follow. BTW, by this time I had spotted Loner peaking at me from around the coop! He had no interest in Bons, but I don't know if he saw her either, I do know he heard her because she squealed a couple of times (she didn't like the snow!). At first, I was just calling the chickens, here chick chick chick. Then I switched to T T T T T T T T T T T T T T, nice and soft.
This is what worked....I put a Hansel and Gretel trail of food on his little trail and then a big pile of food inside the fence. I also put a big bunch of food in the coop for the chickens. I figured if the chickens would stay in the coop eating, then Loner would go in the fence and I could use the salmon net to catch him.
He did go in the fence. It was touch and go because I had to stand back about 30 feet so he would go in the fence and then run (in my big clunky snow boots) and trap him. Once in progress there would be no stopping. I'd either blow it or not.
He saw me coming and started to run out of the pen, I slammed the net down, preventing him from getting out of the gate. Then I put the net over him and HOLY COW, I had bronco pig in a net! I'm yelling, WALLY HURRY!! Well, Wally gets ahold of Loner, net and all. Oh, I forgot to mention that the crate for Loner is still way the hell up by the big barn!!
Wally's holding on for dear life and I have to once again run up hill, in the snow, in my clunky snow boots to get the crate!! I should have been the poster child for a quit smoking campaign!! About 30 feet from the darn crate, I can hardly breathe! Now, I have to drag/carry the crate to Loner. I'm dying here because I'm so outta breath. About that time George and Neil (who I told to stay away) come driving up the driveway. George helps me with the crate. Ok, we have to get Wally, Loner and net out of the coop fencing without losing Loner. I grab the net handle and Wally has Loner still in the net and we maneuver over to the crate and WE HAVE HIM!!
I have never seen the look of terror/wild/hate like I saw today in Loners eyes. He has been through so very much. But when he got here tonight, he greeted his brothers and sniffed them all over as if to say, "I missed you." And his brothers loved on him too, as if to say, "Where ya been bro, we missed ya too."
I spent about 30 minutes in the barn with them tonight. It was a very loving sight to behold and they were all sleeping when I left. Tank, Gunner and Braveheart together and little Loner was by himself. I bet that will change by the morning. Loner is safe and warm and in no danger anymore........
So the pigs have been rescued and it was an experience I will never forget.