Who weighs more?
Ray, the Alpaca
Auggie, the Pot-bellied Pig
Put your guesses in the comment section!
#1: Name the pigs ( easy?)
#2: Whose arm is in the first photo (also fairly easy)
#3: What two items are being fed to the pig
Need a clue as to the food? If so, continue reading. If not, stop right here.
The two foods are holiday/festival related, although the holidays are unrelated to each other. Think Halloween and Pesach (Passover).
A few days ago, I set off from the building around 9:00 am to go train the red ruffed lemurs in Explore The Wild (ETW). I decided to take a camera so that I could take pictures of some of our animals along the way. I first stopped off in the farmyard and was greeted by the two nigerian dwarf goats, Patches and Rocky. They are brothers and both like a good head and neck scratch from keepers and visitors alike, but this morning they decided that the brushes attached to the fence would work just fine.
After watching the goats for a little while, I caught keeper Kimberly in action while she was brushing Lightning and picking his hooves. This is something we do every morning with Lightning to keep his hooves in good shape. He also gets walked around the campus if time allows.
After that, I went over to say hi to the pigs. They both came running to the fence, but I’m not sure if Auggie wanted food or a soothing eye wash.
As I rounded the corner, I saw Max the steer and Chummix the goat soaking up some morning sun rays. Seems pretty relaxing to me…
I left the farmyard and made my way to Explore The Wild. But before stopping at the lemur house to train the red ruffeds, I headed to the wolves so that keeper Jill and I could go into the exhibit and scatter their morning food. Although red wolves are extremely shy animals, we only enter their exhibit with two or more keepers.
Jill scattered the food while I watched the red wolves and made sure of their locations while we were in the exhibit.
Once we finished in the wolf yard, I made my way over to the lemur house and trained. I don’t have any pictures of that, but I hope you enjoyed my morning stroll at the museum!
You may have heard about our newest addition to the farmyard, Auggie the pig. He is a cutie! Originally, he had been living elsewhere on grounds while he was in quarantine (which just means he is kept away from the other animals while we monitor him to make sure he is healthy). Once he was ready to move to his permanent home in the farmyard, it was time to introduce him to his new roommate, Miss Piggy.
We decided to record the initial meeting between Miss Piggy and Auggie. It is normal for pigs to fight when they are first introduced. They have to figure out who is going to be the “boss.” The keepers first experienced this type of difficult interaction when Miss Piggy met our last pig, Squealer. Although it was hard to watch Auggie go through the same introduction, we know from experience that it is best to just let the pigs hash it out. If we tried to separate them every time they weren’t getting along, then the fighting would escalate each time we tried to re-introduce them. However, by keeping them together and monitoring them closely for the first week, they will eventually work through the initial rivalry and eventually become companions.
Although Auggie is much smaller than Miss Piggy, he is also faster! Which means, fortunately, he did not sustain any injuries during the introduction. We are pleased to tell you that now, about 2 weeks since their introduction, they are sleeping side-by-side in their hay at night and are getting along quite well!!
You can hear some of the commentary from the video, which is an array of different keepers talking while they watch the introduction take place. All of the keepers working that day, along with Sherry and her daughter, were monitoring the pigs while they were first introduced. You may be able to hear Sherry mention the word piloerection, which is one of Larry’s “Big Words of the Month.” You can also hear Sherry say at the end of the video that Kent would need to check on them every 15 minutes while he was cleaning the farmyard that morning.
I went to grab the waterproof camera- the one that Erin refers to as hers or the one she suckered me in to buying- so I could take some photos that people had been asking for. I couldn’t find it. I bet Erin went away on vacation and left it in her pocket. So, instead of showing you the photos of my hair-balled cat who I was home sick with, or our new pig shelter, or the keepers hard at work, I am stuck showing you baby photos. Auggie baby photos. Enjoy.
This is Auggie, a three month old pot bellied pig. He arrived Saturday weighing a hefty 20 pounds. He’ll spend 30 days in quarantine, and then we’ll introduce him to Miss Piggy. We’ll continue to post photos on the Blog so you can keep up with him prior to his arrival in the Farmyard in mid December.
The big word of the month is a hard one to talk about. Euthanasia comes from Greek and means “good death”. I doubt any two people can agree on what exactly a good death is, yet it is a discussion we have to have in the Animal Department from time to time. When an animal is ill and our veterinarians have run out of treatment strategies we have to consider quality of life issues. Deciding when an animal is suffering too much is not a precise, scientific process. Ultimately, we all have to rely on our experiences and feelings.
One of the earliest posts we made on this blog was about our beloved steer Moo. At the time we discussed how to deal with difficult issues on the blog and whether it might be better to not include them. We all agreed that if we were to give our readers an accurate picture of our department we needed to not gloss over the hard things. Most recently, we lost our grumpy friend Squealer (we all called him “Pig”) and once again had to report some bad news.
When we shared our difficult decision to euthanize a red wolf people asked about how they could best memorialize him. Sherry wrote a followup post with some ideas. The only thing I would add to her post is that we animal keepers would be happy to hear from you in person. You can say hello if you see us working or ask at the front desk for a member of the animal department.
Thanks everyone for all your nice thoughts about Pig. I’ve worked out in the farmyard twice now since last Thursday, and it’s been weird without him there.
One of my favorite stories about Pig happened around this time a few years ago, when we got a huge truckload of pumpkins donated to us. We didn’t have much room to store them, so kept them right behind our fence in the farmyard where we keep all of our tools. We knew they would keep outside in the cold, and this way we could give Pig a pumpkin every other day or so. Keepers go in and out of this door a lot during the course of the morning, and one morning there were several of us working in the farmyard together. Well, someone accidentally left the fence door open, and Pig, who used to wander around the farmyard before visitors arrived, found his way in there. By the time the keepers realized it, we found Pig in the middle of this vast pumpkin pile, seeds and pumpkin bits scattered everywhere! There were random single bites out of various pumpkins, and Pig laid there, entirely exhausted from his feast! Needless to say he did not get anymore pumpkins for a few days! It still makes me laugh to think about it.
Last night Pig was not improved and still not standing. Calls and emails were made to veterinarians, keepers, staff, and volunteers letting them know. Dr. Mozzachio came early this morning and euthanized Pig.
Days like this are hard, and hardest on the keepers, so send them your best wishes.