Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pigz Eat Farmer! (not me)

I couldn't pass up this headline - especially since a bunch of my pals sent it to me last nite. Consider yourselves warned!

"70-year-old Oregon farmer eaten by his hogs"

"On Wednesday morning, Terry V. Garner, a 70-year-old Oregon farmer, went to feed his animals. Several hours later, when he hadn’t returned, a family member went to look for him and found, on the ground of the hog enclosure, his dentures... "

And I'll throw in a "I told you so" just for good measure least all y'all think I make this stuff up. While we don't want to make light of a tragic death, I think I should say that makin' bacon is our only defense against the evil pig empire.

I'll repeat my admonition that pigz can be big, mean, and dangerous. Even the cutest little piggy-wiggie can grow up into an incredibly strong, aggressive animal. That eats meat. Any meat. Including you, your kids, and your favorite runner ducks. The hard truth is that more people are killed by pigs in the US and Canada than are killed world wide by sharks. So don't let those squinty little eyes and snuffy snout noises lure you into a false sense of security.

Inevidably at this point someone will say "Well what about....." and then insert some crazy picture of a fool snuggling a big hog or a story about how well behaved a fair hog can be. That's fine. And here is the way of things - even the most well behaved hog can be big, mean, and dangerous. Assume that a hog can easily move three times his (or her) body weight. So if you have a 200lbs snuggle bunny that can move 600 lbs with its nose, wouldn't you want to be a little careful?

Now I could lecture you all day about the dangers of owning hogs but instead I'll just say that all real hog farmers I know are extremely cautious around their animals. If you don't believe me then check out what Kelly Klober wrote in the Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs: 3rd Edition. He gives a great overview of safety measures for being around hogs, such as making sure you always have a line of sight to an exit when you are in a pen with them, having something in your hand, and being exceptionally cautious around boars and momma pigz.

As for me, well. I quit getting in the yard with the big pigz a while ago and I won't even get in with the little ones either. I never approach either of the pig yards unless I have at least one dog with me and usually a stock cane in my hand. And since Zander found out that them pigz are made of meat... well... lets just say I'm as safe as a kitten with him around.

Sometimes folks will feel lofty and tell me that I'm just afraid of pigz. Oh no no no, friend. I'm just not foolish. And I'm not that big of a person. In the barnyard size matters and them pigz just won't take me seriously at all. So just like I'm not afraid of that 12" compound mitre saw or a busy highway... I won't stick my hand in the buzz saw end of it nor will I run wildly into on coming traffic. Its not fear, friend, its just common sense.

Lets all look a little sideways at our pigz today, people, and remember that bacon is the best revenge.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Now get out there and re-evaluate your hog safety measures!


freemotion said...

I'm with you, ofg, I no longer go into the hog pen. Not since I scratched my leg on a raspberry cane in there once and one of the small pigs came up and tasted me.....and decided I tasted pretty darn good. They never looked at me the same way after that and I only saw bacon, hams, shoulder roasts, and racks of ribs when I looked at them.

Misty Pines Homestead said...

This is one gal a piggy won't get,I'd rather buy one and have it butchered.I don't mind having chickens or rabbits or a cow,its ok but a pig scares me.Something about their beady little eyes and snorting and that dancing squiggley tail. ewww thank goodness we don't eat alot of pork.

Anonymous said...

Deadlier than sharks eh? Maybe Discovery will have a pig week then, with heroic cameramen getting close pictures of especially aggressive hogs. Nah, probably not.

David said...

These stories crop up from tme to time. They will eat anything, including the hand that feeds'em.

small farm girl said...

Good to know since I'm thinking of getting some.

Big Onion said...

Thank you for not romanticizing farming. It's not always pretty, and it's not always fun and snuggly. I think some folks forget that.

We're still relatively new to it but had some experience beforehand that kept us sort of grounded. We meet a lot of folks who think it's awesome, but losing lambs to parasites (effing barber pole) or having to cull baby birds for deformities is nothing pretty. Not to mention raising animals that can eat you or kill you. Also not pretty.

Anyway, kudos for keepin' it real, OFG!

Anonymous said...

I remember visiting my grandparents dairy farm in North Dakota when I was around 6 or 7 (we lived in Texas at the time). The first thing I remember about that trip was my Grandfather taking my hand and leading me out to the pig pens, because I just had to see the cute little baby pigs. But he took me to the hogs first, they were freakin huge, bumping up against the fence and snorting. Scared the dickens out of me. When I asked him what they eat to get so big, he told me "Aw, everything I throw in the pen with them, and that's why I brought you out first thing, because if your out playing, you need to know if you get in the pen with these pigs they will eat you too."

Yeah, I stayed away from hog pens and just played with cows.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks Free, and yeah, you dont want to mess around. zoikes!

AnnNF, yep, its a good option especially if you aren't used to big livestock.

Hi Paradigmo! Pig week would be awesome - all pork all the time.. but i think it would be the Food Network and not Discovery...hee hee hee

Dave, they will eat anything they can smell. They think I smell delicious.

SFG, good fencing is always the answer. Electric hotwires and field fence or hog panels is a great way to contain them.

Thanks Anthony, really appreciate it. I always said I'd tell you the truth. The hard thing is folks how have an idea about how it should be - the peaceable kingdom - but sadly its just not the way of things. Its not always pretty being so close to the circle of life.

Hi Anon! Cows are more fun to play with. Absolutely. I think its really just been this last generation that doesn't believe that food can fight back.

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