The Phone Call Every Farmer Dreads

Getting a phone call that your animals are out is something every farmer dreads. Monday evening we got that call from a neighbor saying they spotted some pigs on their trail camera. We went down to check and sure enough, our feeder pigs were all gone. The pigs were spotted a mile from their pen, and since they live next to the Arkansas River, there was no telling where they were at night.

We were hopeful they would get hungry and come home the next morning, but alas, no pigs Wednesday morning. Much of that day was spent walking up and down the river and creek looking but we couldn’t find the pigs. Humbly, I alerted the rest of the neighbors to keep their eyes out.

Wednesday as we were all eating lunch, someone stopped in to say that all the pigs were at the shooting range just west of the farm! Exactly where you want your 150 pounds pigs, right?

Daniel, Ken, and I spent the next hour and a half walking them back to their pen. We walked through a lot of tall brush.

And we spent a lot of time in the creek bed.

The pigs can attest that we are in the worst drought ever recorded in Kansas. The creek running next to our property was dry except for a few mud holes. The pigs took full advantage of that mud.

I’m happy to report that all 18 pigs are back at the farm! We often receive comments about how amazing our farm is, but please know we have errors and bad days, too. In the pigs’ defense, this was a farmer error, not a pig issue. We didn’t move their pen frequently enough when they were young and they stopped respecting the electric fence because they wanted more pasture. The whole experience was a good lesson of humble pie for the farmer.

Listen to the animals and the earth. They always have a lesson for us.