Beware of The Hog(s)

Just when I think there can’t possibly be any more for my children to learn about their 4-H market hogs, a chicken enters the barn.

“Chickaletta the Hen” was the lone survivor when Ms. K – the owner of Kaffenbarger’s Good Oak Farm – decided she would no longer be raising chickens and focused her attention on the family hog operation. Ms. K rounded up the brood of hens and relocated them to another farm, but Chickaletta managed to hide and avoid transport. She became a legend on the farm, and a daily encounter for the last three (four?) years.

Chickaletta spent her days scavenging for food scraps and laying eggs in undisclosed locations. She survived amongst steers, cats, ginormous dogs, random wildlife, crazy weather, countless cars in and out of the driveway, toddlers, and teenagers.

But, ultimately, Chickaletta would not survive amongst hogs. You see, hogs are – ironically – carnivorous (technically, they are omnivorous, as they also like marshmallows and beer). You know the lore about getting rid of bodies on a pig farm, right… (awkward pause) …anyone?

As we suspected, there is a pen of Mafia Swine in the barn. These smooth criminals recently had their feeder removed from their pen and are now hand fed twice a day; clearly, this isn’t often enough, and Chickaletta? Well, she made the same mistake as Icarus – she flew too close the sun, er, the pen, rather.

It seemed a typical day at the farm, the kids were fighting over whose turn it was to do what chore, and I was threatening to “never let them participate in 4-H again!” if they can’t figure out how to get their work done.

In the middle of the barnyard chaos, we noticed the pigs in the pen next to ours were all very interested in something. What that something was – we just weren’t sure, but they were all quiet and circled around the “something” as if to keep it a secret.

“What are they chewing on?” I said to my kids while giving a cursory glance to the Mafia Pigs. I walked over to the pen and opened the gate with every intention of taking away whatever it was they were so nonchalantly munching.

I leaned over, reached, and screamed, “OH. MAH. GGAAWWDD! It’s the CHICKEN!!”

My horrified children audibly gasped and ran to the pen to see for themselves. One pig was chowing down on a chicken foot, while the others yanked, pulled, and chewed on the obviously deceased hen. It was truly a scene from a horror movie.

I quickly escaped the pen, not about to become their next meal, and ran to get Ms. K. “Uh, you need to come into the barn,” I said, half gagging. “Your pigs are eating something.”

“What?” she said. “A mouse? A cat?” Clearly, the Mafia Pigs have a reputation.

Just an hour earlier, Chickaletta had been roaming the barn, minding her own business, eating scraps of feed, and then she became one herself.

The moral of the story: always be aware of your surroundings and others, because like herd of hungry pigs, the real world can eat you alive at any moment.

#4Hlifelessons #barnlife #chickenlivesmatter #nooneissleepingtonight

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