Billy and the Butcher Hog
March 23, 2018
A few days back, one of our butcher hogs made her way to the neighbors. Thankfully we have good neighbors and they chuckled about the situation before helping us load her. It made me recall the last time this happened…
A few years back we had a quirky hog, who planned and executed the great escape by digging out under the shed wall with a friend. She headed out to pasture, and immediately fell in love with the bovine way of life. After attempting to capture her a couple times, it became apparent she had no intention of going back to porcine living. We decided to let her be as we had cattle right by the yard at the time, thinking at some point she would wander in to the corral and we could capture her.
One day we went to town, and noticed our drys had escaped and were in our neighbor's pasture that borders us, the Cheyenne River and the highway. Plans were made to gather them the following morning as we could not turn around then. That night we returned home to a message from the guy that worked for the neighboring ranch –
"Hi Charles, this is Billy from across the road. I just wanted to let you know that you have…" and he went on to provide an exact headcount and perfect description of our cows that were out, down to the freeze brand numbers. Then there was a long pause on the machine.
"And….uh……well…..I have a pig! A big pig. In my yard! The cows are fine where they are until you can get to them. But….will you give me a call back about this pig. I am worried she may be going to have babies."
Oh, how we laughed at his message – I apologize that it was at your expense if you read this, Billy. We saved it and listened to it several times over the months. Only a cowboy could have such concern and exasperation in his tone over a hog showing up in his yard.
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Our guess is that the pig was hooked up with the drys, then made the rather impressive trek off the Cheyenne River breaks to the neighbors with them. She continued on under the Cheyenne River bridge and made her way into Billy's yard, where she took up residence in what I assume was the round bale he had set out for his horses.
I suggested Charles tell Billy that if she did farrow, we would not be able to disturb her for a couple weeks, let alone move her home, because it would be dangerous and could cause her to not mother her pigs. Charles, being himself, was nice enough to not pull Billy's leg, and instead called him back the following morning and offered to come get her later in the day, after he gathered and hooked up a horse trailer.
Billy immediately offered his own trailer, so Charles headed across the highway to gather up our pig that thought she was half pet, half cow. He found her quite unconcerned, watching and occasionally grunting at the excited cowboy as he prepared for her departure.
After getting the trailer into position, Charles searched for something to plug a hole/use as a wing. Billy grabbed his spare tire. He held it in the hole, and Charles noticed that as he went to evict the pig, Billy slowly and carefully slid his fingers off the top of the tire to the back side, out of harm's way.
From what I know of him, Billy was a pretty handy guy with a horse and rope. A rodeo guy who also did well with cowboying on the ranch. He was lean and looked anything but a wimp. So, to see his level of concern over a 250-pound pig that, while he didn't know it, was half tame, was funny to say the least.
The pig felt accommodating, and jumped right in. Billy breathed an audible sigh of relief when the trailer door shut. He happily returned her home, and bought half a hog from us, cut, wrapped and frozen. Our "cow pig," was returned to her reinforced pen, where she lived the remainder of her days as a legend.