I am still helping Lorri and her parents at the farm. Lots has been happening here. We still go to Tallahassee several times a week to get mash and bread that we feed to all of the animals. I have been making various meals, desserts, and bread for us all to enjoy. Last night I made pizza from scratch and everyone seemed to enjoy it. A few nights ago I baked 4 batches of cookies, 2 different recipes, two batches of each. We froze most of the cookies so we would not eat them all at once.
Lorri asked me to inform my readers about the types of pigs and dogs here. I didn’t write much about it in my previous story because I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to, but she gave me permission to include it. You can read about the dogs which are Kangals which are bred as livestock guardian dogs and are from Turkey and bred to protect animals. They patrol at night and do their best to keep predators off the property. Many nights I can hear them barking probably to keep hawks, coyotes, etc. away from the animals. I hear coyotes howling in the distance and then the dogs mimic them.
When I first arrived the dogs barked at me and stayed close to me because they didn’t know me. When I went into Lorri’s house I had to talk loudly and let them know it was me and that it was okay for me to be there. Lorri or her dad was with me at first to let the dogs know I was okay to be there. Now, after several weeks there they seldom even get up when I go in the house. If we are outside, sometimes they walk with me from the house to my camper, and other times they ignore me. There are nine dogs, and most of them weigh almost as much as I do. I think Smokey weighs more than me as do the adult pigs. The black dog Tread is a pit bull and very loving and gentle to Lorri, her parents, and now me. He adores Lorri and wants to be near her. When we go into Tallahassee to get the mash or bread he comes with us and he waits patiently, mostly resting and keeping aware of his surroundings while we take the bread out of cases and throw it into the trailer. I wrote about the bread and showed photos in the previous story about the farm.
However, Lorri informed me that it’s only because she told all of the dogs that it’s okay for me to be here and she was with me several times when she told them that I am safe with them. Otherwise, if she doesn’t tell or show them a person is okay the dogs won’t be this way with a person. This breed is known as protectors of the night. In Turkey this breed was developed over centuries to become this protective dog. They are sweet to a baby but they will kill any threat that comes into their territory. In fact one of the dogs is named Nyx which means protector of the night.
I took lots of pictures of the newest babies and added them to the photo album from the previous story. The little ones are so cute to watch. They usually run in a pack, even at a day or two old. They sleep on top of each other too. I guess this makes a larger target and keeps them safer. They don’t always stay by their mama. One of the new mamas was interested in something she smelled along the fence and she used her nose to move logs. I tried to take some pictures with a larger pig, or my glove or something else in the photo so you can see the size of the babies. Several photos I took within a day of the baby pigs being born. I don’t know if the newest photos are towards the end of the album, I hope they are. The yellow glove in the pictures below are my work gloves, and I have a pretty small hand so you can tell the size of this newborn piglet.
Most of the pigs are American Guinea Pigs which were endangered several years ago and are now called critical. There are also Red Waddle pigs and a few cross breed varieties. You can search the Internet to read about these breeds and the Kangal dogs. The American Guinea Pig was almost extinct about 15 years ago. There were only about 12 left in the wallow. With a log of work there are over 7,000 registered now. This breed datess back to the original “yard” pig. They are slow growing with a “gourmet” type quality to their meat. They are small like a pot belly pig, very docile and live in a large family unit. The dads (boars) will even babysit occasionally.
Two weeks ago three baby pigs were born and we couldn’t tell who the mama was, so Lorri and I taught them how to eat formula, I wrote about that in the previous story. Two weeks later and the “little monsters” as we lovingly refer to them are growing rapidly and are developing personalities. After a week in Lorri’s shower and bathroom they were moved outside to a pen on the porch so they could get fresh air and not be such a mess in the Lorri’s bathroom where they were for the first week of their life so they could be watched, fed, and be safe.You can see by the pictures in the paragraph below this one how they have grown in a week. The pictures in the shower are when they are only a day or two old.
They are so much fun to watch, especially when they are eating. We put their food in a metal 9 x 13 inch pan and they put their entire bodies into the pan and climb over each other eating. All three of them can fit into the 9 x 13 inch pan. They get so messy. Every time they see Lorri or me they come over and think they are going to get food. We feed them every three hours, but you would think by seeing them that they are always starving. They are really growing quickly, there are two females and one male. He has two white front feet and seems to be the smallest. Today they were let out of the pen and given free roaming privileges on the property and they had a great time and then came back automatically to their spot on the porch when they were done exploring.
Today when I was with the babies aka “little monsters” one of the huge mama pigs was laying in water in a 5′ round plastic pool on the porch near them that we keep for the dogs and other animals to drink from. I didn’t have my phone or camera with me or I would have taken a photo.
Sadly, in the past several days we lost three baby piglets. One was a few days old and it just disappeared, we think maybe a hawk got it but we don’t really know. Another one got sick or something happened to it because it just died. Than most sadly, there was piglet probably a month old I’m guessing, we don’t really know. It could have been a few weeks old. Another little approximately two or three week old female about 5 or 6 days ago was not doing well, we have no idea what was wrong but it looked thin and lethargic, so Lorri put it in her bathroom and hand fed her and then a few days later I helped feeding her. We gave her formula in a syringe because she couldn’t stand up or eat like the other babies. Yesterday, I gave her a little formula at 10 a.m., then at 2 p.m. she wasn’t doing well but ate a little formula, when I went at 4 p.m. to feed again she was dead. It was very sad. But, that’s life. And the other babies both in pens in the pasture and on the porch are all doing well. As an after note, Lorri read my story and told me that this little pig that died was the baby of the pig that moved the logs along the fence. I saw this baby right after it was born and here it is couple weeks later and sadly it’s an angel.
When we are out in the penned area feeding the pigs we look for the babies and mamas to make sure all is well. The pigs love their feed time and run towards us for the food. I get to hold the babies every now and then but they don’t really like to be held and we have to be careful some mamas are okay with their babies being away from them and some aren’t. The babies in this story are mostly a day or up to three days old. They are born with their eyes open and able to walk immediately.
It’s amazing to me how fast these piglets can run with their small bodies and short legs. I have a hard time trying to catch them. They do recognize me and know I give them food and they follow me. Yesterday I was sitting in my camper and I felt it moving which should not have happened since a few days ago I put some wide boards under my front tires to get level on a wider surface because the pigs kept digging and trying to get up against and under my camper. So, I got wider boards to be more secure under the tires and I put wood pallets along the sides of the camper. Now, mostly ducks and small pigs get under the camper. However, yesterday, I felt a huge move in the camper and when I went out to see what it was I saw the large bull against the front fender. It seems he and one of the horses took down a large, heavy, long metal gate that is probably 20 feet long and four or five feet high that I can’t move easily by myself. I went to get Lorri’s father Brian and he and I got the bull and horse back in the pen with the other cows and horses and we got the gate secured again. You can see the metal gate in the photos below.
Horse that escaped from his pen walked across the yard and went to the garage area where we keep the bread and he knocked the metal lid off of a 50 gallon drum of bread and was eating from the drum when we found him. To get him back to his penned area I took a loaf of bread and he followed me the entire way back, as did several other animals. I have to be careful around the horses, bulls, and cows because they are really strong and much larger than I am.
About a week ago I noticed that one of the ducks had 14 baby ducklings with her so we got them in a chicken coop so that the pigs and other animals would not hurt or eat them. They are growing and adorable. Out of one hatch the ducklings are a variety of colors and they stay close to their mama.
In my previous story I wrote about one of the mama pigs that took hay several hundred yards from a bale of hay to a spot where she wanted to have her babies. A few days after that when we went to check on her we saw the entire round bale of hay was spread out over a big area. It seems the cows and horses scattered that entire round bale rather than leave it whole. I also went to the pond and watched some of the pigs wallowing in the mud to cool off.
It’s still funny to watch them stampede towards the penned area where they are fed. All the animals, pigs, goats, ducks, geese, and dogs come running from everywhere. The four geese seem to all stay in a group. The ducks now seem to like laying under my camper since I raised it up a bit on wider boards.
Last week we drove about 90 miles into Georgia and brought 6 pigs to be slaughtered into different products. A week later we went and picked up the butchered meat and by products. Everything is used either by being made into sausage, brats, pork chops, and lard. All other parts including the heads, bones, etc. are brought back and given to the dogs and other animals over a period of time. I think there are about 5 or 6 large freezers here that handles all of the frozen meat, etc. We have eaten some sausages, brats, and pork chops and they are really good and of course all natural. We know what they eat since we raise them here.
That’s about it for now.