Every job you have ever held, had elements that made the job difficult, things that frustrated you, things that inspired you, things that gave you a sense of accomplishment or a sense of pride. Since not too many of you have been hog farmers, I want to explain to you why you should be a hog farmer…just once in your lifetime.
Raising hogs creates consistency in your life. You must feed the hogs twice a day and water them twice a day and clean out their pens frequently or your attempt to raise hogs will be all for naught. And like milking cows, it’s best to be on a set schedule. Because hogs can tell time, as can most animals. Hogs like to eat. And when they get too hungry, they get touchy. Downright angry. And they turn on each other which isn’t a pretty sight and can make a difference in whether you make any money or produce a good product.
Raising hogs teaches you about hard work. Whether you are scooping up hog manure with a shovel and throwing it over a gate or pushing piles of hog manure into a pit, the one constant is…. hog poop is heavy. You will develop muscles, your back may ache, and at the end of each day you will be tired. This may lead to better sleep. Unless you have to get up in the middle of the night to check the sows who are schedule to “pig” any day. And by “pig” I mean … deliver a litter of baby piglets.
Raising hogs also teachers you tolerance. A pig is an animal. A pretty smart animal. But still an animal. Yoy might start to think that the mean old sow that always grunts and squeals when you get near her is purposely waiting to deliver her piglets at 3 AM just to piss you off. I assure you that is not the case. Those piglets are born when nature says they should be born. And you might think that that mean old sow who delivered her piglets at 4:30 AM (30 minutes after you checked on her and then went back to bed) is intentionally waiting for you to leave. Not so. You might even be paranoid enough to think she laid on top of 4 (or more) of her piglets just to cut into your profit margins. Not true, either. She is tired from delivering anywhere from 8-14 baby pigs and then being available for every single one of them to nurse right away. She needs to lie down and if those pigs get in the way… well, too bad, she’s tired. Doesn’t she love her pigs? I don’t know what emotions pigs can feel. She is protective as most animal mothers are, but she is also oblivious to the fact that her babies are underneath her and can’t survive. Its really nothing personal.
Raising hogs will teach you about working conditions. You will get dirty. If you don’t, well, you’re not doing it right. You will wade through deep “stuff” and it will saturate the bottoms of your jeans. You will learn to set aside certain chore clothing. Because a distinctive odor will permeate your clothing and it never really goes away. You will learn to shampoo your hair after being in the hog barn, because no amount of hair spray can cover the odors your hair absorbs. There is a reason why male farmers don’t sport mustaches.
Raising hogs can be rewarding. I’m not talking about how much money you make from selling your hogs, although that is important. I’m talking about intrinsic rewards. At the end of the day, when you are dirty and tired you will hopefully develop a sense of pride in the work you are doing. As in any job or career, when you know you have done your best and you can take pride in a job well done. And… those baby pigs are awfully cute…. for awhile.
So now dear readers, I am setting forth a challenge. Tell me what your jobs have taught you. Tell me your story about why everyone should ******once in their lives. Everyone has a story. Tell me yours.