Pigs are new to the farm this year.
I was warned that I would find them very charming and clever and would get attached and cry into my bacon.
So far, notsomuch, which is fine by me.
They like to eat -- like to be fed -- and are prepping to be dangerous assholes about food. So I take at least one, and usually two, dogs in with me when I'm messing with their food trough. When they try to slip by a dog while my back is to them, they always get bit. And they always try to do it, and they always scream when it works out exactly the same way it did that morning, and the night before, and yesterday morning.
Their mastery of the electric fence is similar.
Not even a turkey tests electronet a second time after the first jolt.
But these two porceinsteins had to check it each for himself with a wet, snotty nose, about every three feet along its length, and scream in indignation every time it did exactly what it had done five seconds earlier.
I'm trying to learn about pig behavior generally, and finding it a bit of a conundrum.
I totally get predators. A dog's mind makes intuitive sense to me. I grok why the kitten stalks moths and plays games in which he puffs up into a GIANT MONSTER GONNA GETCHA.
And I've learned a lot about what makes the hoofstock tick, how they see the world and how to manipulate them into cooperating with my plans.
The hogs are neither fish nor fowl. It makes total sense to me that swine aren't kosher. They are in a really confusing space that isn't really even "in-between" the carnivore mind and the grazer's quiet consciousness. They are their own thing, and that thing is kind of weird.
Ken Ham, the smaller pig, will lose his opportunity to eat in order to stick his head right next to the larger Francis Bacon's at the trough, or when they were smaller, into FB's bowl while his own bowl sat untouched.
Then FB will just beat the shit out of KH between bites, finish what he has, and take KH's portion too. KH is not going to catch up with FB on growth by following this brilliant diet plan. The bigger the difference in their sizes, the more he's going to get beat up.
But if one were to separate them for feeding, neither would eat.
They were cohabiting with Buck Rodgers, the goat herdsire, and his companion wether for a couple weeks.
At first the two species seemed to ignore one another while sharing a pasture and shed, and that seemed fine.
Then I noticed that the damn pigs -- commercial crossbreeds, definitely not the droids I was looking for -- were following the goats around the pasture and apparently learning to forage from them. That was better than fine.
Then I saw Rodgers bite Francis Bacon's ear and realized he'd learned this uncaprine martial art from the pigs -- not so fine.
The next day I observed Rodgers, coming into the rut rather early, teaching an uncooperative Ken Ham to squeal like a pig.
No, it was not a dominance thing. I moved the goats to new pasture the next morning. I accept that barnyard animals will comport themselves like barnyard animals, but there is a limit.
Tuesday, when it was hot, I dumped out a couple of extra water troughs behind their shed, creating a glorious mud mire for their entertainment. This seemed to get them excited in a way I'd never seen before.
Francis Bacon was biting off (inedible, or in any event, never-eaten) weed stalks and shaking them in as doglike a way as a pig might do, even carrying them around.
And Ken Ham was nuzzling Francis Bacon and then performing a ritualized jaw gape.
I seriously have no idea.