Home > Uncategorized > As slippery as a greased pig…..

As slippery as a greased pig…..

A traditional entertainment at British country festivals and festivals was to release a greased pig (normally a fairly small piglet) for everyone to try and catch. The winner got to keep the pig, which was of course a seriously valuable prize for a farm labourer. Excited pigs move much faster than you might think, and a greased one is very hard indeed to catch.  Ok, why on earth would we be greasing pigs?  We have enough to do around here, besides trying to catch slippery porkers.

Well, as it turns out there is a very good reason for greasing a pig: Hog Lice.  We bought a new piglet this past weekend so that we can have fresh breeding stock.  (We chose to butcher our boar last fall, as we didn’t want a 400 pound whole male around, plus he would be another mouth to feed).  We found a nice Duroc/Berkshire-cross male for $70 on craigslist, and Austin and I picked him up.  He and his siblings looked nice and healthy, as did his Mama, and his Dad was a HUGE boar.  All in all everything looked great.

We didn’t notice the infestation when we loaded him into the truck, but once we got him home and moved him into temporary quarters for a short isolation period, Taya said – “Are those ticks?”.  All over his belly, near his hindquarters were bugs that looked sorta like ticks, but they moved around too much.  A Startpage image search told us it was hog lice, and a couple more quick searches led us to an old-timer’s remedy – oil.  If you grease the pig, the oil is supposed to smother the lice.  Apparently some folks used old motor oil, but that doesn’t seem like something we want to put on our food.  So we wrangled up some Olive pomace oil that Taya uses for her Castille soap, and I got the job of smearing it all over him.  He did NOT care one bit for it, his main complaint being flipped upside down to reach his belly.  All the squealing got the other pigs in the pig tractor worked up, so Austin had to keep them busy until I was finished.  He was one slippery little critter when I got done.  After the first application, we put him in isolation for 24 hours to make sure nothing else cropped up.

The next day, all the lice were GONE!  Once again, those old-time remedies work like a charm.  We of course reapplied the oil for good measure (more ear-piercing squeals), and will apply again in about 14 days, just in case any “nits” survived the dousing and hatch out.

So, this was a learning experience all around – inspect your piglets for lice; use oil if you find them, and now we all know where the saying “As slippery as a greased pig” gets it’s origins!

Until next time…..

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. david
    April 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    learn something new every day! Thanks a bunch! (Thirty years ago, I rented a small farm. A neighbour advised me to raise pigs. I built a neat pen for them- but they got out any time they wanted to- by digging under the fence, I chased those critters all around the yard- never caught one! But they would come back at dusk and dig back into their pen. Smart critters! (Way smarter than my hound!) (And when you taste home-grown pork- knowing what Ya fed them- you will never go back to store-bought again!) Fine article! ( I learned a lot from that- wanna hear more?)

    • April 7, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Hi David, Thanks for stopping by! I tell you, I was laughing the whole time I was oiling this little guy up, because I was remembering back when I was about 8 or 9 years old participating in a greased pig contest. Of course I wasn’t much bigger than the pig, and it was completely covered in Crisco. I did catch the little guy – by jumping on top of him and laying down; lucky I didn’t get bit.
      Our first batch of pigs sounds about like yours – every time we had a thunderstorm, 2 of the 3 pigs would dig their way under the fence and go running around the woods. I guess they were scared of the thunder or something. My wife was about 7 months along with my second daughter – to see her chasing a 150# pig thru the woods (in a downpour) was something!
      I totally agree – home-grown pork can’t be beat. I absolutely LOVE bacon, and am so spoiled by our home-grown/home-cured bacon that I just can’t bring myself to eat that “stuff” that Smithfield and friends try to pass off as bacon. I just go without until we have some more made.
      Glad you were able to learn something from my ramblings,
      Take care!

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