My family has raised pigs for as long as I can remember, but it’s not every day that one of us will catch a wild one. One of those days came last spring when we were driving home at the end of the day and saw three pigs running across the road—two piglets and their mother.
I got out of the car and took off after one of the piglets. I tried to grab it but I missed, and it got away. The second piglet had doubled back and gotten confused, so I dove for it before it could realize what was happening. I grabbed it by its waist and hugged it to make it calm down and stop it from squirming.
I got back in the car with it, and it stayed pretty relaxed on the way home. We named it George and kept it in the house for about three months before putting it in a pen with the rest of our pigs. We named him George because my grandfather was a farmer who loved pigs, and his name was George.
During the first week of having George in the house with us, he didn’t trust us so it was hard to feed him. We would put an old towel around him and spoon-feed him some oatmeal. Once he got used to it, we would just put his food in a bowl and he would eat it when he decided he was hungry. He quickly became friends with our two dogs, Emma and Mochi.
When George got too big and stinky to live in the house, we gave him a dog cage on our front deck for him to sleep in. Once he got big enough, we fed him commercial pig pellets and kitchen scraps. George would come and go as he pleased, and the dogs would accompany him. He ended up spending so much time with them and drinking from the same water bowl as them that he thought he was a dog. George would stroll around the house all day, digging unwanted holes and sleeping while he wasn’t following someone around.
George is now living in a large pen about 100 yards from our house and weighs around 200 pounds. We raise all our pigs for food and will probably butcher George sometime this December.
Sam Douglass-Thomas is a ninth grader at Anderson Valley High School. He likes mountain biking, basketball, and spending time with his friends. He has been helping with the family’s animals since he was a toddler.
Feral pigs are wild animals and should not be approached or handled without an experienced person present.