The Naughty Nine

The Naughty Nine are just that—naughty little rascals—but cute. In fact they think they can get away with about anything because they are so cute; not only cute but entertaining. But the fact is they do not have the proper respect to know where their proper place is. So they are the Naughty Nine.
Robin Roberts had ten little black and white baby pigs all dressed up in their tuxedos all shiny and black with their white vests. They are very busy little rascals seemingly aware of the expression, “root little peg or die”. That is a true expression because there is no mama to teach them when and how to get their sustenance to live.

Within minutes after they arrive in this strange even harsh world, they blink their unseeing eyes to get the mucus out and shake their heads and make little snorting sounds trying to draw in breath. Then they start rooting, searching with their tiny noses for the way to get out of the mess they come in. About the only help their mama gives at this stage is to move her leg forward in an attempt to get them to move up on her stomach. The main help is her body heat; there is safety in that warm body. So they usually follow the heat up on her body. They can soon be lost for a time or for good if she moves, sometimes in labor.

After they move up on her body where the most heat is they quickly root around to find the “faucet” where the life sustaining milk is usually readily available. If they happen to be the first one they have a whole array of “faucets” as mother pigs usually prepare 12 to 14 place settings. But they have their problems getting to the lower arrangements or clear up to the top row. Just be patient if you are observing because they are born to keep seeking or rooting. But when there are ten or more it becomes a constant moving about as each is concerned to get the most without regards to their litter mates. When there are more little ones than place settings, problems arise that the caregiver might have to help. Anyway you look at it, it is a miracle that the little three pound piglet manages to survive the antics of their 300 to 500 pound mother as she gets up to eat and then remakes her bed to lie down again among her litter.

Meanwhile while they are rooting in their struggle to survive she must survive too. Mother sows have extremely strong noses and literally do make it in this world by rooting unless there is a person who supplies her every need. Even if you do, the instinct to root is so strong that they are constantly rooting, seeking a way to get what they need or want. Of course what they think they want is usually on the other side of the fence. So just before the Naughty Nine were born, Andrew, one of my former Y guys, helped me tighten the fence by rolling in large locust posts along the lower edge of the fence. Then using steel levers we rolled some boulders down against them to hold them in place. Don’t  worry, Robin was in another pen, so we were safe. Andrew was impressed—“That should hold her.” I gave him one of Steve’s answers—“That should work for five minutes or five days or maybe five months.”

Well, it has worked fairly well for these three weeks except Robin has been able to root several small holes just big enough for the nine to explore with their noses. So out they go into this big world to explore and root to their content. And, yes, it is cute but earns them the title—the Naughty Nine.