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Discussion Starter #1
This morning at about 0130, I went out to check on Ellinore who is showing signs of being about to farrow, and my other sow Maybelle was being VERY aggressive. I have hard perimeter fences and the pigs are all kept inside of that with electric. Maybelle ran through the electric as soon as I opened the gate. She just wandered off into the dark, so I pulled the truck in and shut the gate. As I headed over to the little barn to check Ellinore, Maybelle started chasing the truck and biting the tires. She has always been super friendly and not pushy at all. My 115#s was not about to get out of the truck and fight with a 600# black pig in the dark. So I drove up as close to her electric fence as I could, pulled a post out through the window to lift up the wire, and threw a bucket of corn in. She went in after it, so I pushed the post back in and ran to open the gate. I barely got the gate shut behind the truck before she went through the fence again to try and get at me through the gate. Earlier today she seemed a little high strung and was pacing the fence line. I figure she was coming back into heat and that was pretty normal. Its been really nasty and stormy so I gave her some extra hay bedding and she just tore into it throwing everywhere. She has never been aggressive before, but today she seems hell bent on destroying something. The other sow has always been pushy but never aggressive.
We had some flooding on the lower side of the property so there is a lot of debris draining power from the fence. Normally it puts out 12k volts and this morning it was only 2k. I figure that why she was so brave about pushing through the wire. Her aggression is really surprising though, normally she wants belly rubs and treats. I am kind of at a loss for what to do about it. She was nice to me when she had babies when I was expecting some aggression.
 

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Maybe that going to check on her in the dark had something to do with this. She should of been sleeping. Maybe she is in heat and something upset her.

This shows that one has to always be aware of how a pig may react and can change in a second.
 

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Maybe dogs or coyotes had her on a "high state of alert". Regardless, she has shown you what an upset sow looks like.
 

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Yikes! The biting of the truck tires would have me wanting to hide under my comfort blankie....:D

I'm anxious to hear if she is still revved up today.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I got the fence mostly back up to speed, its pushing 8k volts now and she is staying in her fence where she is supposed to be. She is still rather tense, but after a few good zaps from the working fence her pacing and barking lessened. My pregnant sow is happy, mellow and still pregnant. I'm really hoping that we get this week of dry weather. I've had about enough tromping through mud to fix fences in the dark.
 

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Interesting at the very least. animals are routine oriented, you have changed the routine up, but not saying that would have caused the behavior, but may have aggravated the situation. Is she a full grown sow, or a younger still developing sow? if you can not even get out of your truck, definitely not behavior you would need to continue to deal with if there is not a reasonable explanation. If just a pig that is proving to be aggressive, not many choices as I see it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh shes a big girl. Well over 500lbs and 2 1/2 years old. Me being out there after dark or even late into the night is not all that uncommon. When the weather gets bad I always go out to make sure they are all out of the flood-ways and low spots. The other day I had a steer stuck on the wrong side of quickly rising creek.
She was still after me this evening when I went out to feed everybody. Its me shes after too. When she was loose she didnt bother the potbelly, the dogs or the calves. I think she is going to catch a one way ticket to the locker with my butcher hogs on the 7th.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That kind of behavior shouldn't be normal and I would definitely be looking to hang her in the freezer. This isn't something you want to play with as she can kill you before you say boo.

Keith
It has been much easier to deal with her in the daylight. One of the reasons I had such a problem that first night is I didnt have any of my tools since the hubs had used the truck. I didnt have a stick or anything to defend myself. I am also very aware of how weak and fragile I am in comparison to any pig over 100lbs. I was thrown over a four foot fence by a show pig a few years back and he was friendly. I always have a gun on me and now I keep my pig stick in the cab.

She was still aggressive today but she seemed less interested in me and more in the truck. As long as I can keep her on my property Im not too worried about it. I make sure I can always see her and that I have an escape route if need be. It just makes chore time a bit more exciting.
 

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You really shouldn't need to defend yourself. I don't carry sticks. One must be respectful of the animals, they're big, have sharp feet and strong jaws with large teeth, however they should not be aggressive towards you. An aggressive animal, be it a cow, sheep, goat, pig, dog or human, can do a lot of damage. Even a chicken can be dangerous. Do not tolerate aggression. I have a firm policy: I eat mean people. This solves problems and eliminates arguments, quickly. Pigs need to go to butcher from our farm every week. Eating the aggressive ones removes them from the gene pool so you'll have better natured animals in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I understand, but I have to wait a few weeks before she can be eaten as we don't slaughter our own pigs and my butcher is a very busy guy. I know she has to go. All I meant by needing to defend myself was that right then when I found out she was crazy I didn't have anything to keep her off me but the doors on the truck, so that's where I stayed. My pig stick is just a 2 ft 2x2. I just use it to remind them not to get pushy. I've only had these two a few months and they needed to be taught what back off means. Ive never needed the really thump them with it but I have it for just this scenario. I have heard too many horror stories of previously well mannered pigs attacking their caretakers. I for one do not intend to be killed by anything without putting up a good fight.

Now question for Highlands:
You breed for a gentle nature, have you ever had a sow become aggressive suddenly with seemingly no reason? I have heard of it happening, but I also put a lot of value in your opinion and experience with pastured pigs.
 

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Yes. She had always been slightly high strung but otherwise good and never really aggressive then she got more so. Culled her. It isn't a trait I want to encourage and there are so many nice ladies out there willing to fill her slot in the lineup.
 

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I have a sow that got ill with me once when she was in heat. I had her by herself and was planning on not breeding her until her next heat. I had a tobacco stick and used it a few times to keep her in control. The next day she went through a new tubular steel gate to get closer to a boar. She bent it like a pretzel, she weighs about 700 lb.
I just went ahead and turned her in with him and all was calm. She has had a couple litters since and I have never had anymore trouble with her. I have rebred with a boar or AI and have not had any problems.
 
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