As you might know, I love our pigs. They are cute, social, super smart and funny. They help us tremendously with plowing and fertilizing pieces of land where we can then plant crops. Therefore they are of huge value to our eco-project. Plowing is probably their favorite activity. However, they have another hobby they enjoy with a burning passion that I’m not a huge fan of, namely escaping. No matter how big their new enclosure, no matter how much fresh vegetation, shade and sunlight, they will ALWAYS try to escape. Every couple of months we change the pigs to a new enclosure, or an old one where the vegetation has regrown, so they have fresh soil to plow and roots to eat etc. Rather than enjoying this first they immediately start checking for weak spots in the fencing, once found, they escape. This always results in days running after pigs, leading them back, reinforcing the fencing, they find a new way to escape, repeat. This cycle goes on until the fencing is ultra pig proof and then they decide to enjoy the given fresh vegetation. However, if they stay in one place for too long and there is no more plowing to do, they get bored easily and they will do everything in their power to escape again.
Earlier, they would escape and come to the barn to steal grain. Once they know where to find food, they will never forget. We have found Jambonnie (one of the pigs) several times with her head and feet in a barrel of grain, devouring the content. Oreo (the other pig who is still a piglet) is also a star escaper. Now they discovered their love for acorns together during an escaping session a while ago. This resulted into pigs escaping and running to the oak trees, eating the acorns. Not so bad at first, we just let them eat and enjoy for a while and then lead them back. Until one day, they escaped again and I found them eating acorns near the oak trees on the field. All good, we decided to finish some other things first and then deal with our pigs. When we came back to the oak trees, the pigs were not there. They didn’t go back to the barn or to their pen. We started searching in the forest, on the other meadows, around the house, the veggie garden, the creek, the river, NO PIGS. (to remind you, the land is 60 hectares in size, and so this searching session took several hours).
We decided that we just didn’t see them and they would come back eventually, as they always do. We continued with our activities, but no pigs for several hours and I started to get worried. Until my partner got a call from a neighbor (neighbors here live far) that the pigs were seen on the highland of the village together, which is not near at all. Some hikers had spotted them and had pet them and told the neighbor they are very friendly pigs. I know they are! I miss them! So we got into the car and after driving for a while, we found them, standing by the road, eating acorns… I got out of the car and when they saw me, they ran towards me and we were all so happy to be reunited. I walked all the way home with the pigs and stopped here and there by some apple trees to let them eat even more. In the next days, we built a new enclosure for them under the oak trees on the field, where they are staying now. So far, no escaping pigs yet!