You're part of the family now!
12/6/98 - Sutter's Mill
Six months ago when Wilber the Pig joined us on the ranch, the llamas were very upset. They were convinced that he was a mortal threat (all 56 waddling pounds of him), and for weeks the air was filled with llama alarm calls from dawn to dusk. In those days, Pig (his nickname) was confined to a fifty foot square pen south of the barn, set apart from the llamas, but within sight. The girls wouldn't even walk past his pen for over a week.
None of this was Pig's fault. Despite the turmoil among the llamas, Pig was a perfect gentleman (gentlepig??). He spent the hot days of June and July wandering about in the daisies in his pen, or sleeping in his cabin, or splashing in his pond - a pigs life!
By and by the llamas tired of hollering at Pig. Or maybe, as the summer progressed, it just got too hot to worry about him any more. As peace was restored south of the barn, I decided to give Pig an occassional morning furlough. Free of his pen, Pig was once again a surprise to the llamas, although the terror of June was over. He shuffled and oinked around the farm, minding his own business and always returning to his cabin and his pond during the heat of the day.
After a few weeks, I stopped closing the gate to Pig's pen. He came and went as he liked with as much freedom as one of the dogs or cats. After a while, the llamas got used to the idea of having a pig on the farm - mostly . . .
As the days became shorter and cooler with approach of the winter rainy season, I set about the work of winterizing Pig's cabin - rebuilding the roof, boarding up the windows, adding insulation. But when the rains came in October, Pig had other ideas - he moved to new quarters in the back of the main llama feed shed, the busiest place on the girls' side of the farm!
Evidently Pig had been looking for suitable winter quarters during his daily travels, and nothing I could do short of reconfining him in his south side pen was about to evict him from the feed shed. He gathered together a great pile of straw at the back of the shed, and by sundown each day he could be found burrowed into his straw pile looking like an enormous black Easter egg. (Pig has grown and must now weigh well over 100 pounds.)
This presented the girls with their ultimate pig-challenge. Would their love of hay overcome their fear of Pig? I crossed my fingers. And my toes . . .
And love triumphed!!
Now Pig is one of the family. He comes and goes among the lady llamas and their babies, none of whom shows the least alarm any longer. Its a wonder that they don't trip over him as he lies in the middle of their busy feed shed. And now that the dog-nose (cold and wet) days of winter are upon us, Pig has set up another big straw pile inside the main barn. He even has his own blanket for those long windy nights.
Hey Pig!! You're part of the family now!
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