The Story of Alfalfa
Alfalfa was born on February 20th, 2021. He was one of 9 Mangalitsa piglets. He was a lot smaller than his siblings but, for the first few days, he was thriving and drinking plenty of milk. I always sleep in the barn when we have new piglets for the first 3 days of their life as this is when there’s a high chance of them getting crushed under momma when she goes to lay down. Once the 3 days were up and Alfalfa was doing well, I would check on them periodically throughout the day. For the next 2 weeks all seemed okay, he looked like he was sucking and getting plenty of milk and we thought he would catch up to the size of his brothers and sisters! However, one morning we checked on little Alfalfa, he had no fight in him. Alfalfa was weak and was isolated from the rest of the piglets, they would come over to push and play with him; Alfalfa just let it happen and struggled to run away. I’d seen enough, I picked up little Alfalfa, wrapped him in my toque and carried him back to the house, where he would spend the next month!
Alfalfa’s first month
For the first day, it seemed little Alfalfa wouldn’t make it; we were cuddling him, bottle feeding him every 2 hours but his energy was not coming back. We’d place him on the floor to let him run around and he would stand there and fall to the ground, as if he was too weak to even stand. But we were not going to give up on this little piglet and we continued to bottle feed him every 2 hours (day and night), slowly but surely, his energy started to come back; he would want to be put down on the floor so he could run around and explore! Alfalfa had so much energy he would be difficult to catch! He would run around the kitchen, knocking things over and bashing into the cabinets. This piglet had turned into such a little rascal, we thought what better name to call him than Alfalfa!
For the next month, Alfalfa grew bigger and bigger, until he was too big to stay in the house! We didn’t want to undo all the good work we had done by putting him back with his siblings. This is when Alfalfa moved into his first outside pen and met his first farm friends: the chickens! He loved chasing and playing with the chickens and the chickens loved having a nice warm Mangalitsa piglet to roost with at night! The bottle feeding was becoming an issue, however, and we knew we needed to find an alternative for Alfalfa before he could eat solid food! That’s when we wondered if we could teach him to drink from a bowl. After a few teething issues, Alfalfa got the hang of it super quick! He would slurp up the milk and carry on chasing the chickens in a matter of seconds! We knew we had a special, smart little piglet here!
Alfalfa’s new best friends
After another month, Alfalfa was going to meet his next farm friends! My son Aubrey wanted to raise some lamb, we purchased 3 bottle-fed lambs from a local farm and wanted to see if they would all get along. After a few minutes of saying hello and introducing himself, Alfalfa had his new best buds (And the comfiest pillows he could have ever asked for!). They would go everywhere together, if we called one, they’d all come! This is when I decided to see if this clever little piglet would be able to learn a trick!
Pigs are renowned for being one of the smartest animals in the world, but I didn’t believe it would take only 30 minutes to teach one to sit for a treat! We took him out of his pen, peeled an orange and got to work. He was eager to eat at first, he just wanted the orange! I’d show him how to sit, and then I’d give him a treat, rinse and repeat. After only 30 minutes, he understood what needed to happen! I had run out of oranges at this point and had moved on to marshmallows… maybe that was what did it! I came inside and told my family, they didn’t believe me so I showed them. We all gathered outside, I called Alfalfa, asked him to sit and… He did it! I knew we had a special Mangalitsa at that moment. Every day after that, I would come out with a different treat, ask him to sit, and reward him! He got so good at it, he would often sit before we said anything! He knew he would get some yummy treats!
Alfalfa goes to school
Alfalfa joined his best buddy, Larry the lamb, in a trip to the local school in Strathmore. Aubrey, Larry and Alfalfa were there to teach the kids all about farm animals and Alfalfa was certainly the hit of the party! Alfalfa loved the attention and the kids loved seeing a woolly pig up close! Education is a big part of what we do here at Eh Farms, so whenever we get the opportunity to showcase what we do, then we will; and Alfalfa gave us the opportunity to take our Mangalitsa outside of the farm for the first time.
Alfalfa’s next chapter
Unfortunately, Alfalfa was growing fast! (Must have been the marshmallows!) He was beginning to destroy the little pen we had set up for him and we knew it was time he went back with his Mangalitsa brethren and said goodbye to his lamb friends. So we walked Alfalfa all the way to his new pen, where he met some friends that were just as red and woolly as he was! He was unsure of them at first and we didn’t want him to get bullied again, but he stood up for himself and showed that he’s a lover not a fighter! The rest soon loved him just as much as we did and Alfalfa was back with his own kind; something I never thought would be possible when I picked up that frail, tiny little Mangalitsa a few months ago.
Alfalfa is the most loving, affectionate Mangalitsa we have on the farm, which is why he still gets some yummy treats and more cuddles than anyone else! He’s never forgotten to sit and still loves to see us every day! Why not come and meet him yourself! Book a farm tour today!