Friday, May 16, 2008

How to give a pig a pedicure

Another highlight of any visitor’s stay at the 7MSN ranch is the opportunity to assist with a porcine pedicure. Now where else can you go and do that?

Wynonna, my pot-bellied pig, needs to have her hooves trimmed regularly and doesn’t particularly enjoy the experience. I’ve found that the best way to accomplish the task is with good old-fashioned bribery. I confine her on the front porch, nuke a bag of popcorn (94% fat free, please...she’s watching her girlish figure), then have any available able assistant drop kernels in front of her snout while I crawl around on my knees with the horse hoof nippers, taking aim and snipping off little bits of hoof at a time.

This method certainly beats the get-the-pig-drunk method. Thirteen years ago when I first brought Wynonna home, I thoroughly researched the whole porcine hoof trimming thing on the internet. Several experienced pot-bellied pig people told me that if I served Wynonna a bowl of beer, she would get mellow and all relaxed and I would be able to trim her hooves easily. So I bought a six-pack of Corona and figured we could share it.

Well, she wouldn’t drink the beer out of the bowl. Perhaps I should have salted the rim and added a twist of lime? I ended up serving it to her a spoonful at a time. She was well into her third bottle (I was still on my first) and not getting the least bit mellow or relaxed; in fact, she was becoming quite belligerant. Great. Now what do I do? I’ve got a mean, drunk pig that I can’t let out of my sight for fear she might fall down and hurt herself. She finally sobered up and I learned a valuable lesson - take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt...and lime.

Wynonna, despite her occasional boorish drunken behavior, is a delight to have around. Her antics supply a continuous source of entertainment. She has lived outside all her life, sharing living quarters with the goats. Not the most patient of creatures, she is the first in the barn to awaken in the mornings, and she ...shall we say...vocalizes. To the uninitiated (e.g., my sister last weekend) these sounds are akin to a loud tribal ceremony. I told her to go back to bed, it was just Wynonna demanding her breakfast.

As a famous pioneer woman once said, “This is the life I have chosen.” And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. You know, you never finished the story of moving to your ranch - We got as far as New Mexico and we're all hanging. How did you find this place? By the way, I always appreciate a pig who can hold her liquor.

  2. LOL - the mean drunk! I am amazed at how much work you do there with all your animals.

    I'm taking the slow route to learning how to trim my horses' hooves, which I'm keenly interesting in doing. But then some days I think - Whoa! What am I signing on for?

  3. Too funny, Victoria.

    That final chapter of the real fairy tale is on my list of things to write - I just figured porcine pedicures were more interesting. Look for it soon.

  4. Billie, any time I spend with the animals is never work. I truly enjoy it, and am usually laughing while I'm doing it.

    As hard as it is to find and keep a good farrier out here, I've sometimes thought about trimming the horses and burros myself. But it's a downright dangerous occupation, no matter how well behaved the equines are. And I could never forgive myself if I caused one of my guys any harm. I have a set of farrier tools on hand for emergencies, but now that the horses are barefoot, I don't have to worry about pulling a loose shoe. Those nippers do come in handy though for Wynonna.

  5. I found you on PW's site and decided to check your site out. HILARIOUS!!!! I will definitely be back!

  6. Thanks for dropping by, Karen. Glad you found us. I'm a HUGE fan of PW's site - don't know how I'd start my day without her.

  7. That's pretty funny. I would never have thought to get a pig drunk for a trimming. She's got some face, hamming it up for the camera I guess. If she were my pig after all the work trimming her, I might just paint her hooves, she is a girl after all and a manicure isn't a manicure without a little polish.