Monday, June 3, 2019

On Catching Piglets

As you might remember, my mama pig and her two babies have been loose on the farm. Well I'm real proud of myself that I caught them, getting the two babies into a piglet pen without mama attacking me. After securely latching the door, I thought, "Job well done." 

Ha! Not quite so, I soon discovered. Before I had the chance to walk away, the babes tried multiple times to jump out, with one successfully hooking it's front feet on the top of the pallet fence. Now this fence is 42 inches in height, so that's quite a high jump. So I decided the pen needed a wire roof to prevent jumping, and I happened to have suitable piece of fencing on the farm. But I needed to go get it before the piglets escaped. So I dragged over a couple of wood pallets and laid them across the top of the pen. So far, so good. Off I went to get the materials.

You guessed it......when I returned the piglets were gone. How? First you need to know that I have two piglet pens side by side. Pen #1 has 4 partially grown piglets in it, pen #2 next door is was empty before I put the newly captured piglets into #2. When I threw to pallets over the top of pen #2, the piglets in pen #1 apparently got curious. Standing on their back legs they were able to use their snouts to push the roof pallet off, dropping it into pen #2, thus creating a nice pallet ladder for the captured piglets to climb out. Drats! Foiled again! 

So I'm back to square one on pig catching. I haven't given up yet, but I need to come up with a better design for catching and confining. These wild pigs are much harder to deal with than the commercial types. 

The baby piglets quickly returned to the house area, a spot that they are familiar and comfortable with. So I'm making piglet trap #2 up by the house, using their pig trail into the woods as the trap site. I've dragged a few cattle panels up from the goat pasture (they were used as a pen to separate kids from their mamas). I've lined the pig trail with a panel on either side (the panels are 16' long). The far end is currently open, but I will bring the ends together and clip them together, shutting the trap when I'm ready. The entrance will also be stoutly clipped shut once the piglets are in the trap. 

I've been feeding the pigs inside what will become the trap. At first they were nervous, but now they are quite comfortable with the arrangement. The past few days I've been approaching while they are eating, allowing them to turn and run out the back while I "close the trap" at the entrance. They now are no longer spooked, but instead watch me, returning to eat once I walk away. Looks like I'm almost ready to try closing the end and trapping them. 

Once trapped, I plan to run them into a small cage, then transport them one at a time to the piglet pen.......which I have already roofed in anticipation. Well at least that's the plan. 

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