Agression in the Barnyard

By on Sep 20, 2017 in Carole's Corner |

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As he hovered over Charlotte, my 800-pound “pet” sow, Bucky lunged. I felt his hot breath on my hand as he snapped at me with his tusks stopping short inches from my hand. Bucky, a normally well-mannered boar was being protective of Charlotte. I was injecting her twice a day with medicine to help her recover from an illness.
When I injected her, Charlotte would squeal and grunt her displeasure but ultimately put up with the twice-daily shots. Not so Bucky. This is the same Bucky who tried to rescue one of his offspring a few weeks ago. Then he was a concerned Dad; today he was a concerned husband to Charlotte. He saw and sensed that she didn’t like the injections so he decided to take action. He would not back off and hung around Charlotte ready to protect her from the “attack of the needle.”

Bucky and Charlotte

Bucky, the boar, snuzzles wth Charlotte, the sow. Photo by Carole Soule Miles Smith Farm

Like so many of us, Bucky was acting on partial information. He only understood Charlotte and I had no way to explain to him this medication was required to save her life. To Bucky, Charlotte complained about the injections, so it was his responsibility to protect her. Fortunately, the day he attacked was the last day of her treatment. Now that I’m not sticking Charlotte with a needle anymore, Bucky has returned to his calm, non-aggressive self.

Aggressive males critters (not the two-legged variety) in the barnyard are common. When she was a young girl, Barbara from Concord told me how she would use a broom to sweep her way into the hen house to collect eggs so that when the rooster attacked she could brush him away. Every farmer has a story about a protective barnyard males. Do you have a story to share? Let me know your experience and if you were quite as scared as I was when Bucky, Charlotte’s boar-friend, got all protective. The most docile can react when they don’t understand your intention but I guess that’s true for all of us, not just the barnyard variety.

Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm, in Loudon, NH, where she raises and sells beef, pork, lamb, eggs and other local products. She can be reached at cas@milessmithfarm.com.