The Screamer was so tiny and, well, ugly, when Darling and I brought her home. I mean, really ugly. That’s saying something for me, because I like pigs and think they’re beautiful. But The Screamer was ugly. Ugly and loud.
We brought her home, City Boy built a little pen, and Rocket shared his crate with her. Rocket and The Screamer have a lot in common. They share a similar snout. Niether of them has much of a neck (collars don’t work on either one of them.) And they both grunt. Rocket has never really learned to bark like a dog, but he can squeal like a pig. He’s pretty sure that The Screamer is a long lost litter mate.
The pen that City Boy made is light weight and easy to move. It’s just 8 x 8 and even I can drag it around while The Screamer walks along inside. Pigs make good rototillers, so The Screamer spent a great deal of time in my garden when she came home this spring. I told City Boy we’d have to move her every couple of days, and he scoffed. Two hours later he came into the house and said we could sell the rototiller, as The Screamer was nearly half done with her little space.
Indeed, it didn’t take long for The Screamer to till up my entire garden, and she worked it three or four inches deep. We didn’t sell the rototiller, though. When she was finished, we ran the tiller over the top to even things out. This is the best looking soil I’ve had in that garden yet!
The Screamer is getting big! It’s hard to beleive it’s only been two months since she came home a scrawny, ugly piglet. She’s beautiful now. She digs even faster than she did when she was little. City Boy has moved her pen into the woods, where it’s nice and cool. She’s busy rooting up wild berry plants and roots. She gets moved every day before things get too muddy.
You may have heard that pigs like mud, and it’s true. But only to a point. Pigs haven’t got sweat glands. Most mamals sweat through their skin. Cats and dogs sweat through the pads of their feet. Pigs don’t sweat. So to cool down, they like a nice mud bath.
This desire to plop down in the mud is no doubt what has people referring to their kids’ messy rooms as a pig pen. Most folks assume that since pigs like mud, they like messes, and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you come across a pig pen that’s totally trashed, it’s more a refection on the pig’s owner than the animal it’s self. Pigs are very, very clean animals. They have a certain area of their pen which they use as a toilet. They like a dry area to root about in, and they like a good mud bath when it’s hot. The larger the area you’ve got for your pig, the happier it is.
The Screamer is working towards a larger pen. As we move her through the woods, she’s actually clearing out an area for a fenceline. Then we’ll be able to turn her loose for the rest of the summer where she can wallow in her mud bath, root up more brush and munch on salmon berries, and rest in the shade of the cedar trees. To The Screamer, that’s better than winning the Nigerian National Lottery!