We spent most of the past two days relocating animals. Goats. Pigs. Cows. Sir Fluffkin. All of them made their way, more or less smoothly, to new homes.
Yesterday’s main task was to get the remaining goats into the pig pen. We’d captured and moved eight of them last Friday which left 11 running around the woods. Half of them found their way under the fence and into the steer pasture on Saturday. This wasn’t part of the plan, but it actually worked out because animals are always easier to work in an open pasture and the steer pasture is adjacent to the pig pen. If they were going to escape, at least they were moving in the right direction!
That left about 5 goats still in the woods that we needed to push out. We constructed a game plan: push them out the top gate into the steer pasture with the others then work the whole group into the lane and ultimately into the pig pen.
We worked slowly. Very, very slowly. The last thing we wanted was to spook them. Our main goal, even more so than getting them into the pig pen, was to keep them calm. It took the better part of an hour running back and forth over fallen trees, through briar patches and across streams, but in the end the figured out the gate was open and gladly ran out to join the rest of the herd. We used the same method to move them into the pig pen. Slow and steady wins the race and now the goats have been reunited!
Today we moved pigs. There were approximately 50 piglets in the upper pig pen and Ryan wanted to move some of the bigger ones to the lower pig pen (the one with the goats). The smaller piglets were being bullied away from the feeder by the big guys so it was time to separate them.
Catching pigs is pretty easy. Each pasture has a feeder with a fence around it. The gates are always opened. If we need to catch someone, we simply close up the feeder for a bit then open it back up. All of the pigs come running then we can lock them into the feeder area and sort out who we want to keep. That’s exactly what we did. Ryan pulled the trailer down and we loaded the largest 15 and moved them down to the lower pen. One of the little Ossabaw piglets did escape (he was so tiny he squeezed through a crack between the trailer and fence, but then he just ran around the feeder pen desperately trying to get back in with his friends. Catching him was easy.
Finally we relocated Sir Fluffkin. He went to live with Joe. Tomorrow we will slaughter the last of the broilers. Sir Fluffkin had resided with the broilers all summer and we weren’t sure where to put him for the winter. Joe, the assistant butcher, just finished his own chicken coop and offered to take him. I said my goodbyes, happy to know that he has a permanent home.
Ryan made me unhitch the trailer today and I did it! Lauren and I definitely did something wrong because it really wasn’t that difficult. I don’t know what we did or didn’t do, but now I know how for future needs.
Also, I snapped a shot of this guy today:
See all that brown? So much brown! Where’s my mild winter?!?