Large Pigs Should Not Ride In Your Subaru

I thought I had planned the pick up of our new Mangalitsa pigs so well; I had even checked with the seller who assured me my 4 month old boar and the two female piglets all could ride together in the back of a Subaru. After a very pleasant 3 hour drive through scenic vistas I arrived to the pig farm, and was told to drive around to the back of the barn. The excitement had built steadily and I eagerly jumped out of the car so I could see our new additions for the very first time.

I first saw the male, and boy was he big for being a 4 month old. I had been told he would weigh about 70 lbs, and since I have an 80 lbs dog I didn’t think twice about handling him. I was wrong. He looked like the biggest guy in his pen. And he was dirty.. like in absolutely filthy dirty. I moved on to the next pen and there they were, the 8 week olds! Cutest little things ever! On the other hand, they looked a lot smaller than they appeared in the pictures I was sent. The farmer’s wife, a very nice lady, directed her helper to put the two piglets in crates so the big pig would not trample them. Instead, I strapped their crates into the back seat while the helper wrangled the boar. He was NOT leash trained -duh- and protested loudly and with all 4 feet. Finally he was hoisted into the back, where Scott had installed dog barrier to keep everyone where they should be. The wife smiled sweetly and said that he (the boar) would lay down and settle in once I started driving.

20 minutes into my trip the boar still hadn’t settled down and now decided to see if he could make his way into the passenger seat. I shouted a “no piggy” and he backed up, but not for long. Another 10 minutes, and there he was again, trying to shove himself through the tiny space- that now was decidedly wider- and my “no piggy- go back piggy” seemed much less effective. I looked at the clock, 2.5 hours to home.. yikes, well, he should settle down eventually, right? WRONG. How could 3 hrs all of a sudden feel like 3 days?? And the smell.. I promised myself I would offer Scott my car until the smell was gone from his.

Suddenly the boar charged the tiny space he had made and was now hanging half way over to the back seat. I made a very hasty bee line to the side of the highway. The piglet who’s crate he continually tried to heave into the air with his snout – I’m assuming to make room for himself – was screaming bloody murder. I was pushing on the shoulders of the boar as hard as I could, trying to get him into the back again. He did not budge. Let me assure you, this was in no way equal to handling a 70 lbs dog. This felt more like 150 lb pure muscle. I briefly contemplated if he would bite me, but then the squealing piglet got out of her crate at the same moment a big tractor-trailer thundered by, shaking the car as it passed. I stuck the piglet under my arm at the same moment my boar made it fully into the passenger seat. I slammed the door shut, quickly heaved the piglet into the back where she was now safe, and ran to the other side to rescue piglet number two.

This is when Scott received his probably fourth call – I was in full panic mode. What if the boar decided to get into the front? I would surely crash. Was it even legal to drive with a pig lose in the car? I declared to my always calm husband that unless he dropped what he was doing and came to help me I would leave the car and WALK home. Long story short, Scottie came to my rescue, we swapped cars, and I was finally able to exhale… did I mention the smell?? Poor Scottie, he lost the battle for the front seat by the way… (along with his cup holder) but he said he did some bonding and named the boar “Otto” in the process.

We at last made it home and got the pigs into their pen where Otto did what any clever pig does, he made himself a mud bath so he could cool down and practice some stress relief!

Lessons learned:

  • Pigs are NOT dogs, don’t share your car with them (2 hrs of cleaning the car and even if it looks clean, it still reeks!)
  • Pigs are stubborn, now I know where the term “pig headed” came from.
  • When a farmer tells you “he will settle in and lay down” don’t believe a word of it.
  • Pictures lie- I’m convinced our guy MUST be older than 4 months!! And he’s most definitely NOT weighing 70 lbs.

Once settled in, I was able to sit and enjoy them, so here are some pictures of our new family members- who apparently did not read the book that said that pigs often don’t eat after transport. Once Otto had chilled for about 30 minutes, he was checking out the rest of his pen, eating up a storm with the piglets doing the same right next to him. Peace reigns at Gratitude Acres, and I’m finally heading to the shower!

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