As part of a summer series to My NDFB Life, we will be experiencing 4-H through the eyes of 15-year-old Paul Hanebutt. Paul is the son of Pete Hanebutt, NDFB Director of Public Policy. Throughout the summer, we will learn about the joys, struggles and rewards of being involved in 4-H. This is his third post. Read his previous post here.
Bringing pigs home for the first time is much like bringing a puppy home for the first time. Pigs need time to get used to their surroundings such as the barn and their pen. When I brought my pigs home, at first, they liked to scratch themselves against the walls of the pen and they were always sniffing around – getting familiar with their new home. It’s also important for the pigs to get used to me. I do this by petting, brushing and walking them. Sounds just like what happens when you bring a new puppy home, doesn’t it?
Bringing pigs home brings many responsibilities as well. Just like puppies, they have a lot of needs and providing for those needs is very important for the pig’s health and life. Giving shots of medicine is important, so they don’t get sick. It’s similar to how people get shots to prevent certain illnesses. I make sure the pigs have a slightly cool place to sleep and rest and make sure their pen is clean. I clean the pen daily to make sure the pigs are clean and healthy. I wash my pigs too. Washing them helps them stay clean and look better for fairs and showing. Every day I make sure the pigs have enough food and water.
As the summer goes on, my pigs have learned to like the shaded cooler concrete. When we first brought them home we had a heat lamp and special shelter for them to stay warm and happy. Last weekend, my brother and I took out the pig’s small shelter box, to make the pen bigger. With the shelter out, they have more room to lay on the cool shaded concrete slab during the warm summer days.
As a pig or puppy grows you learn the way they act and how they behave. I’ve had my pigs for several months now so I know their characteristics and how they act, similar to how I know how my dog acts because I’ve had him for years. Most of the pigs I’ve had show happy characteristics which results in good showing characteristics.