Kay’s tip: pigs are not meant to live in houses
A PIG DOES NEED its own shelter, somewhere warm and dry like the great pig houses Kay has in her paddocks (right), but she can tell you firsthand that an adult pig has no place inside.
“If they can get out, they come into the house, tip the dog’s water over and lay in it, the water goes all underneath the fridge, it’s not very nice.
“There are a lot of people who think they can just treat them like dogs and put them in the house but I say you’ve got to be realistic: they grow. Imagine sitting there having a cup of coffee with your bickies – the whole table would be turned upside down by a pig.”
Over all the years she’s had pigs, Kay still finds them fascinating. She now knows the saying “piggy in the middle” is based on behaviour she’s witnessed where piglets all squabble to be in the warmest, cosiest spot (the middle) – “They love to be snug!” says Kay – that a herd of big, hairy Highland cattle will respectfully (and very quickly) defer to their short, fat grunting paddock mates, that goats and pigs will live and sleep in harmony, and that all the comforts provided by a human won’t stop a sow’s natural instincts.
“One sow got the hose that was running through the paddock and she dragged it along and put it in her house. Then she got all the rubbish from the rubbish pile – branches of trees, big, big branches – and we watched her keep carrying stuff over. She already had half a bale of hay (in her house) but she wanted to make her own nest. It wasn’t a very comfortable nest at all… it was the most fascinating thing.”