On Pigs. The place where I cared for perhaps a dozen was a farm where school children came to learn about agriculture. After the piglets were several weeks old, I no longer remember the exact number of weeks, but they were still not big, we could no longer bring the children into the large pen because the pigs would start attacking the children. And these were varieties of pigs bred for centuries to be less aggressive.
When BBC filmed Tudor Monastery Farm they were unable to use authentic period pigs because those breeds represented too much of a risk of knocking down someone on the production and killing them.
When mucking out pigs, they are itchy creatures, they will rub up against the barrow and blithely knock it over if you do not chase them away from it. And it is not easy to persuade a pig to go somewhere else. They don’t catch on very fast.
There is a myth about pigs being clean that no doubt is just a reaction to pigs traditionally being thought of as dirty. We actually told the school children that the pigs would restrict defecation to a toilet area if given enough space. I cleaned that pen. This is a lie. It is perhaps true that there was marginally more shit in one corner. But they shit all over that large enclosure. And on the subject of waste I have never seen another animal standing in its water trough and peeing into it while drinking.
But before I personally had experience with pigs, the first time I had the ‘pigs are smart and nice’ bubble burst, I roomed for a year with a kid who’s family farmed pigs. He knew. And I will not repeat the horror stories he told me after laughing at my Arnold Ziffel misconceptions.