For several years our farm has had pot-bellied pigs, whose average weight is about 110 pounds. Recently we moved to a larger space, which enabled us to adopt pigs who are members of much larger breeds.
We adopted our first newcomers in August. They are two baby Yorkshire pigs who will eventually grow to be about 600 pounds. They were spotted on top of a pile of dead animals in New Jersey, apparently left to die. The people who retrieved them were thrilled when we agreed to give them a lifelong home.
We adopted three more pigs in December. They are mature Berkshire females (one is part Tamworth) who weigh nearly 500 pounds.
The adult pigs were used for breeding on an upstate New York farm. After six years, they were no longer producing sizeable litters, so the farmer planned to send them to slaughter. A young woman who worked on the farm had bonded with them and was terribly upset. The farmer readily agreed to send them to a new home if she could find one. For months she searched in vain. She was so relieved when she found us and we agreed to take them in!
The adult pigs have been very accepting of the young ones. The youngsters sometimes sniff and nuzzle the adults, who patiently permit the youngsters to do what comes naturally to them.
All the pigs love to eat. When the babies first arrived, they engaged in some scuffles over the food, but they soon began to share. The adults, too, initially shoved one another at meal time but they now eat cooperatively.
All the new pigs have names. We named the piglets Charlotte and Gus. The mature pigs came with names—Jules, Irene, and Virginia.
The young pigs are constantly on the go, rooting everywhere. The adults are rather stately. Although we were initially a bit wary about being with pigs so large, we found them to be gentle and friendly. They especially enjoy back scratches. When they are out in the pastures, they add a peaceful presence to the farm.
— Bill Crain and his wife, Ellen Crain, founded Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary in 2008. Located in Poughquag, it is home to a variety of animals, including sheep, goats, horses, ducks, turkeys, and chickens. Its website is safehavenfarmsanctuary.org