Across the creek from our trailer is a gentle hillside of woods where we decided to put our pigs. We call it The Drift (one word for a group of pigs). It is a big area- a couple of acres- which Henry has coppiced, clearing out the shrubby junk trees (tulip poplar, ironwood, tons of stupid non-native roses with sharp sharp thorns) to give the other trees (oak, maple, black walnut) space to grow and thrive. A little corner of it (roughly 40 by 60 feet) has been fenced off for a while and the pigs have been there for a few weeks while we (Henry) got everything prepared, but finally today they were allowed the run of the whole thing. Our large black hog (who had been kept in a very small pen with her sister until we got her) did a giant lap then came right up to Henry, made a huffing noise, and flopped down at his feet.
The pigs have a wallow, which is fed with runoff from their water trough (which in turn is fed by runoff from the roof of their shelter- if it ever rains again). They have a little three sided house to snuggle up in, a creep feeder area for the piglets, a sturdy (but not sturdy enough! On to design number two…) feeder, and most importantly, all the space they could want to roam around, eat dead leaves, snuffle the ground, root up dirt, lay on top of each other, and generally express their innate piggy nature. It is such a joy to watch them run around and play together, and to know that these animals are getting such a full and natural life, the way it should be.