Why We Had To Re-home Our Pig | Our Happy Hobby Farm Friday
Good morning, fellow farm friends!
Rehoming is NOT something I take lightly. In fact, in all my life, I’ve only re-homed one animal. When we lived in Japan, Katelyn developed a serious allergy to Hurley, our rescue dog there, and it became a very serious health concern. Re-homing Hurley hurt so bad, but I knew we had to do it.
This week we were faced with the same agonizing decision. So why did we have to re-home our pig?
Over the last six weeks of having our two Duroc pigs, Holly and Jingle Bell, we have learned so much about pigs and hobby farming. The biggest lesson we learned is that we don’t know a lot! When we first brought the girls home on Christmas Eve last year, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We had zero intention on eating them, and just wanted to have a couple pet pigs to hang out around the farm, eat our scraps to reduce our trash waste, and to enjoy.
Unfortunately, we did not realize that Duroc pigs are basically not recommended as pets. These pigs are bred purely for meat purposes. They aren’t the cute little Babe or Pumba pigs – these are hearty farm pigs, that will grow to be 700-800 pounds. Do you have ANY IDEA how big of a pig that is? It’s insane!
We have had a couple really terrifying incidents here at our hobby farm that lead to the decision to rehome Holly.
The first? She charged our dogs in an aggressive manner, and our dogs retaliated. She nearly got one of her ears ripped in half and she got a couple large gashes as a result. Our dogs had no intention on letting a 100+ pound attack them, and they acted as dogs do – defensively. It was absolutely surreal to witness and break up, and not an event I ever want to relive.
Then, Holly attacked one of the hens that accidentally got into the pig pen. It happened in the blink of an eye! I walked away for a second, and I heard this horrific bird scream and when I came running back, I saw Holly literally eating the butt off of on our hens, whom we have affectionately renamed Buttless. I will spare you the graphic photos I sent to Randy, but let’s just say that I cannot believe how resilient chickens are after an attack. It’s been a couple of weeks and Buttless is healing quite well. However, I don’t know if she’ll ever lay again; time will tell on that one.
And most terrifying of all, Holly started biting Randy and drawing blood. She has nipped at all of us one time or another. But, a few days ago she tried to rip into Randy’s knee flesh. She was shaking her head back and forth, and we are very lucky that Randy was wearing thick jeans or it would have been much worse. If it had happened to one of our kids, or had been a finger – it could have been catastrophic.
We realized that Holly needs a much more experienced family to raise her. It was becoming an entire farm safety issue.
It took several days and a few different conversations with local farmers to take Holly. I really, really did not want her to be taken by someone who was going to butcher her. Even though I know duroc pigs are meat hogs, the idea of someone eating her literally made me feel sick. I had several people inquire and offer to take her, only to back out last second or ghost me (seriously y’all, if you’re in conversation with someone … don’t do this!!!!).
Finally, my new friend Flavianne with Happy Snout Ranch offered to come and take her. Yesterday before the storm came, Flavianne came with her horse trailer to get Holly and take her to the Ranch with other rescues. And yes, I cried when they closed to the door to the trailer. I cried listening to Jingle Bell worry about her sister. I cried feeling like a failure as a farm mom.
Happy Snout Ranch is a vegan animal sanctuary. This means no animals are ever butchered or sold for butchering from their Ranch. So while I am devastated that we weren’t the right home for Holly, I rest easy knowing that she’s going to be very well loved and cared for at her new home. And I know that even though I feel like a failure, I’m not. I did the absolute best I could. I have to consider the safety and health of everyone on our farm and that is why we had to re-home our pig