Burt The Pig (aka “BIG B”)…
In 2013, we received a phone call from a gal named Kristina from Pleasanton, California. Kristina was the sole owner of a Pot-bellied pig named Burt and she was desperate to find him a good, loving home. Now keep in mind that Burt was in Kristina’s care since he was an eight week old piglet, grew up in suburbia and was used to life indoors with his animal buddies – five dogs and two cats. We all knew it was going to be quite an adjustment for Burt to become an outdoor pig, but Burt is after all a pig, and pigs like to root around in the dirt, roll in the mud and take long naps in the sun…RIGHT??? WRONG!!!
Burt arrived on February 7th. It was a beautiful winter day…the sun was shining but there was a chill in the air and the weather report indicated a storm was on the way. After we unloaded him, we opened the gate to the goat/pig paddock and he casually strolled in with an endearing air of confidence. He seemed pretty content at first, sniffing all the new barnyard smells and gobbling up anything he could find of interest on the ground.
There is a nice, warm goat/pig/sheep pen just off the pasture area, packed with soft straw for all the animals to curl up in during the nighttime hours but Burt wanted nothing to do with his designated sleeping space. Instead, he made it quite clear as the day progressed that what he really wanted was for someone to open the gate so that he could make his way closer to…you guessed it – the house. Concerned that we had a very unhappy pig on our hands, we decided to let him have his way and opened the gate that leads into the front yard. About 20 minutes later, Burt was on the front porch squealing “let me in”! Well that did it! It was particularly cold that night and how in the world could we possibly go to bed knowing that there was a discombobulated and confused pig lying on the front porch? The writing was on the wall! Shortly thereafter, we opened the front door and just as expected, Burt strolled into the house like he owned the place. He soon determined the best spot to spend the night was under our dining room table. Quickly, we put down his favorite blankets, fed him a warm, healthy meal and finally everyone settled in for a well deserved, good night’s sleep.
It took a few weeks but Burt finally transitioned from living in our home to life in the goat/pig paddock. Slowly but surely, he discovered that living life as an outdoor pig was actually quite enjoyable. He now knows that knocking over the chicken water bowl creates the best mud hole EVER and true to form and more often than not, Burt spends his days covered in mud! He’s also come to know that if he explores the paddock long enough, he will soon discover an apple or banana, previously and secretly hidden, for him to find. During the evening hours, Burt spends the night inside the pig shed, complete with lots of straw and numerous soft blankets provided by his former mom. As is always the case with any animal going through a life changing transition, patience, understanding and empathy is the name of the game.
As previously stated, we all knew it was going to be quite an adjustment for Burt to become an outdoor pig but Burt is after all, a pig, and pigs like to root around in the dirt, roll in the mud and take long naps in the sun…RIGHT??? RIGHT!!!