As the days turn colder the pigs have been moving into their winter quarters. This is most important for the little ones born this fall, who need a dry, sheltered place in order to keep warm. But while mature pigs, with their layers of back fat and rotund physiques, are impervious to a chilly November night, they can do some real damage to the pasture.
In part this is due to the weather. After a gorgeous September, October was more or less one long rainstorm. The ground is so saturated that my boots can tear the sod just by walking on it, so a large pig barely has to look at a piece of ground tochurn it to mud. The cold and rain also decrease the quality of the standing forage, which incentivizes animals that are experts at rooting to start looking for food below the surface.
Only our boar Ranger remains roaming free. As I looked at him today I realized that the passing years have made him look more and more like an aquatic mammal. His tubular body, stubby legs, and deceptive athleticism bear more than a passing resemblance to a hippo, and like a seal he has a layer of blubber that jiggles just a little as he trots around, wondering where his friends have gone. There are a couple rams running around the same paddock, but he doesn’t seem to have much interest in them, so I’m sure he’ll be happy when he gets to rejoin the other pigs in a month or so.