Thursday, May 15, 2008

Swine Lecture Series - Transportation

Our swine lecture series continues with a timely installment on porcine transportation. Class, today we'll see some photos of swine hauling devices and hear a case study on swine transportation gone wrong. We'll wrap up with a heart-warming story of agri-brotherliness.

Back in the actual old days, or in the current days of farm cartoons and Charlotte's Web, hogs were transported in the bed of the farm pick-up truck, usually equipped with high wooden slats to keep the livestock from jumping out at 45 mph.

One family we knew hauled their Poland China boar (translation: black and white colored male pig) on the back of their truck in a more modern aluminium carrier known as a "popper." They seemed to forget the that the popper, which doesn't have a floor, requires a strap to keep it connected to the truck. So they left the fair and headed down the highway when the wind caught the aluminum box just right and lifted it right off the back of the truck, leaving only a VERY surprised Poland China boar in the back.

But today, hogs travel in de-luxe accommodations like aluminum trailers full of sawdust bedding. Trailers so nice our children sleep in them between trips (just kidding).

Last year, our trailer was the talk of the barn at the Ohio State Fair. Can you imagine me sharing this with my friendly suburban-dwelling co-workers?

Friendly Suburban-Dwelling Co-worker (FSDCW): How was your weekend? We had soccer, a pool party, got a new game for the Wii.

Me: Oh, we had a great time at the Ohio State Fair. Our new aluminum goose-neck was the talk of the barn. And my husband won Grand Champion Yorkshire Boar.

FSDCW: You took a boring goose to the fair? Was it allowed on the rides?

On our farm, hogs are transported from pen to pen on this cool trailer that lowers for loading and unloading, then can be raised for moving around the farm. It is also handy for corralling farm boys (kidding again!).

Sometimes people not trained in agriculture and/or devoid of common sense will attempt to transport livestock in unsuitable ways. Like the family from northern Ohio who bought a pig, and then hauled it four hours home in the back seat of their pick-up along with their children.

Or the guy we saw in Oklahoma, who loaded his newly purchased pig in the back of his rented SUV.

But farm people are always ready to lend a hand to one another, whether it's putting in the crops after pa hurts his leg... sorry, that's a Little House plot.

Anyway, farm people do help one another. Several years ago after our spring pig sale--a time when we sell small pigs to 4-H kids for them to raise and take to the fair--we got a late night call from a farmer who had found a pig at McDonald's. Yes, he went to McDonald's to get a snack, came out and saw a pig loose in the parking lot, captured it, saw our tag, tracked us down, and called us. Farm people are that nice.

Turns out, one family had come to our sale and bought a pig for their daughter. They stopped at McDonald's before their long trip home. Somehow, the little pig escaped without notice and they arrived home later that night with no pig. We were able to unite the Samaritan farmer with the pig-less 4-H girl. And all lived happily ever after--except for the pig who did NOT escape his last post-fair trailer ride.


  1. An added bonus to reading this blog is seeing Ryan and Justin!! Kate was so happy to see them and thought they were doing funny stuff (her words).

  2. They seemed to forget the that the popper, which doesn't have a floor, electric bikes nz

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