When I was a little girl, to the chagrin of my mother, I used to sneak out of my grandparent’s house over to the pig pen and wait with handful of grass firmly in my grasp for a good 15 -20 minutes, waiting for the piglets to get brave enough to take some. I’d hold completely still because, if I moved at all, they’d certainly take off in the other direction and ruin minutes of hard work. When I had had enough of squatting I would run back inside completely emaciated with the smell of pigs, usually within an hour of going to church. My mom was never very pleased.
I think as a child all I ever wanted was to be loved by animals. And have them love me. Such a simple childhood wish.
So, in lieu of my childhood dreams, the family that I am staying with has pigs as well. However, these are quite a different breed than the typical midwest American breed. It looks something like this:
But wait, that’s not all there is to this picture…
That’s right, that’s my hand on this beast.
This is a Kunekune pig, native to New Zealand. Despite their horrifying looks, they are incredibly tame. I was trimming the edges underneath their electrical fencing and at first I stayed outside the fence even though it put me on an awkward downward slope. They kept coming up to me and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Finally I decided it wasn’t worth it and started cutting from inside their pen. To my surprise they slowly moved around their 1/2 acre or so with me. At first I just thought it was by chance, but towards the end when they had accompanied me the entire circumference of the field I realized they were following me. They just like the company.
There you see one of the sows right up against my leg to take a sniff and to say hello. This always makes me a little nervous but they mean no harm. I mean, just look at them:
If you didn’t believe me, this is the above sow getting her belly rubbed. I creeped up right next to her and did exactly the opposite of my instincts: reached down bellow her belly and started rubbing. She flopped right over. I must have petted her for about 15 minutes and she was grunting in a slow comfortable way the entire time. My hands got pretty sore, though. Their fur isn’t exactly silky smooth. It’s more like wire.
And to see a full length of the sow, here she is standing back up from her long belly rub.
And just one more look at that adorable face: