From Our Farm to Your Table

Bucky, the Boar, Attacks

Tue, 2018-02-20 19:21 -- Carole Soule
Bucky the boar with his girlfriend, 800-pound Charlotte the sow

Bucky lunged, jaws snapping at me. He pushed me backward into the fence. Bucky was not happy with me. I had to get out of his pen fast.

It’s winter and since the electric fence is covered with snow and ice in places, the charge was weak. Ideally the charge in the fence is 9.0. One or two zaps on the snout generates respect for the fence. Pigs have great memories so after they touch a hot fence a few times they’ll never try again. If the fenceline is taken down or moved, the pigs usually won’t cross where the fence had been.

A few days before Bucky attacked me we had added five six-month old American Guinea Hog (AGH) pigs to our herd. I didn’t know it at the time but these gilts (un-bred females) were seasoned escape-artists. Their former owner kept them penned with four-foot high woven-wire fencing. Not used to my electric wire, they busted out of my pen seconds after I put them in. We reinforced the wire with hog panels, more wire and more panels which worked for a while.

Did you know that pigs can jump? I watched as one of the new AGH gilt tucked her legs, gathered up her body and cleared the wooden wall between pens. Three others followed her over the wall where they joined the bigger pigs. It was night, rather than chase these delinquents we left them for the time being.

The next morning two of the escapees were waiting at the pen door. They wanted back in. The third had jumped back into her pen but the fourth was hanging out with Bucky, the boar.

Pigs are smart and won’t go through a fence they think will zap them. But if they see another pig escape they will follow. One of the bigger sows followed the fourth AGH escaped pig into Bucky’s pen. Bucky jumped onto the bigger sow hoping to breed and she welcomed his attention. For so many reasons we had to stop this unplanned coupling. First, this sow was destined for the butcher and we don’t like sending pregnant sows to be processed. Second, Bucky was her father! In-breeding is never a good thing. I had to separate these two love-pigs.

In an attempt to isolate him from his daughter I held a small wooden panel between them. That was when Bucky charged. Still holding onto the panel, I fell back ten feet but stayed standing. Then Bucky did a strange thing; he walked away. He gave up the fight and surrendered his new girlfriend. We were able to herd the sow out of his pen without another incident.

I don’t know why Bucky gave up but I’m glad he did. Lesson learned; never come between a boar and his ‘gilt-friend.’

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