Even with my No Freeze, No Fuss, Automatic poultry waterer I was not looking forward to watering 22 ducks over the winter. Ducks are messy. I’m sure you are all shocked to learn that. So we decided we would keep 7 ducks, 6 hens and our welsh harlequin drake. I placed a Craigslist ad for the remaining 15 and was flooded with responses. I was iffy about promising the ducks to any one person. Husband and I decided a first come, first serve mentality was the best, as we’d been stood up by buyers before. However, I was contacted by a very persistent man who wanted all 15 immediately. When discussing the price he casually mentioned he’d like to do a trade. He had pigs, goats and donkeys available. Pigs, oh yes oh yes!
Now, to convince Husband that instead of getting money to help feed the other birds over the winter we should take on 2 more mouths. That went smoothly and it was arranged. While our kids were enjoying themselves at a Halloween party we loaded 15 ducks up in boxes and set off to meet up with our pigs.
This duck was a real PITA. I’d cut slits out of an abundance of caution. We did not want anyone suffocating. There were 2-3 ducks in each box, plenty of space. This duck though, she just had to make a fuss the ENTIRE trip. She annoyed her box mate so much that she jumped ship to another box half way through the journey. I kept crawling back to shove her head down and she’d just pop right back up quacking like a lunatic. Luckily she never figured out how to escape, or we’d have had a loose crazy duck running about the vehicle. Husband would have been thrilled!
At our destination we got to pick between 3 pigs. A larger pig and 2 cute small ones. I went with the two small ones. We loaded them up in the back and set off. They were calm during the journey. Unloading them was a bit of a trick as they didn’t want to be touched. I managed it and they are happily tucked in now.
I originally intended to keep the pigs separate from the poultry. I have 2 connecting runs, one was intended for the ducks, and had a pond, but the pond leaked and the ducks always stayed in the barn with everyone else anyway. I never bothered putting a gate up between the two runs though and so I had a pallet temporarily blocking the entrance.
The pond needed removed, it was cement. I did not want the pigs to slip down and be unable to get back up. So we spent an afternoon removing the cement. The kids helped pick up the small bits, for a price, while we broke the cement into large chunks. We were under constant turkey supervision.
It is now a giant dirt hole that the pigs have no problem navigating. I’m really hoping they gley this pond for us and will be watering them in the bottom of it.
While I was slipping into the barn to turn on the electric fence (dogs kept trying to get at the pigs) a pig followed and…I figured that was fine. They show no interest in the birds and the man we got them from said his chickens go in with his pigs all the time. The pigs are happy to graze on all of the grasses and such in the poultry runs. The birds never did scratch down their runs as they were far too busy begging at the doorstep. I’m not sure how long the grasses will hold out before we have dirt runs, but I’m hoping they can last until spring.
The pigs prefer the duck area. It’s extra muddy!
I am free feeding the pigs, as directed, but this brings about the challenge of keeping everyone else from eating the pig food. I’m mostly just waiting until butcher time when 80% of our birds will be removed.
The kids named the pigs. Son named the bigger pink one Rocker and Daughter named the small black and white pig BLT. Well she said B.L.E. but I suggested we change that to a T and she said that was good. She is desperate to pet them but the pigs are desperate to stay away from her. I hope they adjust in time to each other.
I put 2 feet of hay in the duck hut turned pig shed and the pigs happily slept there their first night, buried in the hay. In fact I couldn’t find them the next morning and was freaking out about it. Thank goodness Rocker snores!
So that is the amazing story of how I turned 15 ducks into 2 pigs. I love my man!