Reflection: Other Related Research
Lil' Orphan Hammies
By Travis Jepson (04/27/10 12:47:31)
Related animal: Pot Belly Pig

I found the experience at the potbelly pig farm to be very interesting. I had interacted with one potbelly many years ago but it was nothing like having 50 pigs in one location. I decided to keep my video camera rolling the entire time so I could document the trip. When we first arrived we were suggested to go to the older pigs which had been around people more.

This perhaps was not the best idea, as the pigs there seemed to be very anxious. One of the potbelly's especially was very loud and clearly was agitated at our entrance into his den. I quickly learned the best way to touch/interact with the pigs was to NOT put your hand out as you would with a dog to allow the pig to sniff. Due to the poor eyesight of the pigs they would most likely assume that your hand was food and try to take a bite out of you. The best idea was to go behind the head and scratch the ears. I found this worked well with all the pigs that I did not have to approach. I did my best to come up to the pigs in a non-threatening manner and would get down to their level by squatting down. In several cases, I found that when I was on their level the pigs would come to me if I had my hand outstretched. Though I am not sure if it helped, I made sure to blink and keep a low breathing rate so it would provide a calm environment for the pigs. Though I am not sure if it helped, it allowed me to get more comfortable with the pigs.

In several cases I was able to start off scratching behind the pigs ears and they would allow me to continue and they seemed to like the attention. On three occasions, I actually had the pig suddenly slam themselves down on the ground so they could get their bellies rubbed. It was funny yet surprised when they did this because I realized how much weight these pigs carried. I felt these interactions were good because there was no food involved and the pigs came to me solely for the human contact. One of the more massive pigs "Oreo" actually came up to me and pulled up my jean leg, somewhat strange but I was thankful she did not decide to take a bite out of me.

Hopefully I will upload some of the video I got from this experience, it was overall very entertaining and I was glad I was able to spend so much time there.

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