Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals

Jul

04

Duncan

Posted in: Di's diary9 Comments

On Saturday, a new member of our family is joining us. Duncan is a 180 kilo Large White (that’s the breed) pig.
Duncan has had a rather unusual life. At about 8 weeks of age he was found wandering in the bush between Kurrajong Heights and Bilpin. I can only surmise that he escaped from someone’s property where he was destined to be raised for the dinner plate, as purebred Large White pigs do not normally roam around feral in Bilpin. (Lucky break no 1). Anyway the piglet was caught and given to a man who decided that he would fatten him up and have him for Christmas dinner. This was last July so Duncan would have been an appropriate size for the festive season. However over the next couple of months something magical happened. The man started to bond with the pig.

He started scratching him behind the ear and was surprised by the fact that ‘Mr Pig’ as he called him responded with little piggie grunts of appreciation. He soon found that when he rubbed his back, ‘Mr Pig’ would lie down, roll over and demand his tummy be rubbed as well. ‘Mr Pig’ started to see the man as his friend and companion and would be pleased to see him and get sad when he was left alone. After a few short months, the man admitted to himself that he could not kill this animal that he had become so attached to, so he had him desexed and resigned himself to the fact that he was going to have a very large house guest. (Lucky break no 2) ‘Mr Pig’ began to enjoy the best of food and developed a curious habit of dunking his bread in his bowl of milk (hence the name Duncan). The man was not the only one attached to the pig, his wife shared his affection and admiration of him as well. So Duncan has lead a rather charmed life, growing steadily bigger and fatter and BIGGER and FATTER until now he is over six foot long and weights as I said, about 180 kilos. He is quite simply enormous. Even though I am used to big animals when I first saw him the other day, he left me absolutely gobsmacked!

Mr Pig or Duncan

Mr Pig or Duncan

However the Duncan and the man have a problem. The man and his wife are going to the Northern territory for an extended semi-retirement holiday. Now if you are going away and have a cat or a dog you can usually find someone to mind them or board them in a boarding kennel or cattery. But what do you do with one massive pig? There have been plenty of offers of people willing to take Duncan but for all the wrong reasons (need I say any more). The man has become quite desperate and claims that he would rather shoot him and bury him than let anyone have him who was going to eat him (although I rather doubt his capacity to carry this out). Anyway, the man recently drove past our property and noticed our two pigs in the paddock, found out who we were and rang us. (Lucky break no 3). The first thing he said to me was “I see you have a couple of pigs, are you going to eat them?” When I stopped laughing I said “We have eight year old cows and nine year old chickens here. No I’m not going to eat them.” He then asked me would I take Duncan. I agreed that I would go and meet him and think about it for a few days. I have done a bit of soul searching simply because of his size and my ability to handle him but the man assures me that he doesn’t have a malicious bone in his very large body. He goes for walks with him like a dog and has been known to come into the house but is very careful not to knock anything over. He caught him once in the bedroom eyeing off the bed but when he was told ‘no’ he simply laid his snout on the bed in quiet resignation.

So Duncan is arriving on Saturday and Patch and Simon are being desexed this week to increase the chances of them all cohabitating. He will stay in a paddock, next to theirs for a couple of weeks to let them get acquainted before introducing them. If they all get on, the man is happy for him to stay here permanently as he is lonely and needs the company of his own kind. He is also I suspect, stretching their budget with his very large food requirements. If they don’t get on or he frets too badly, we have left the agreement open, so that he might return to them after they get back. But for now we will just play it by ear. I have a lot of work ahead of me and I do feel quite daunted by it, but I am spurred on by the incredible series of events (lucky breaks 1,2,3) that have allowed Duncan’s life to reach this far, without ending up on someone’s plate – a sad fact of life (or death) for nearly all pigs.

How can I possibly let him down now?

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  1. Bronwen said on 04/07/2011 at 10:11 pm

    Well hello Duncan! I look forward to meeting you and giving you a scratch behind your ear.

  2. Margaret said on 05/07/2011 at 12:40 am

    i’m sure Duncan will enjoy a very good life at your place. With the many and varied animals you already have, I’m sure you’ll have no problems in caring for him. Staying at Di’s place (lucky break no 4 Duncan!)

  3. Rebecca said on 05/07/2011 at 2:17 am

    He’s gorgeous! Enormous is an understatement!
    What ARE his food requirements, out of interest? I can only imagine… lucky Duncan!

  4. Diana said on 05/07/2011 at 2:51 am

    Duncan, at present eats, a loaf of bread a day plus litres of powdered milk, approximately 5 kilos of mixed grain -(cracked corn, wheat, barley and pollard – all boiled up), plus cooked vegetables and fruits. We will be gradually changing his diet over to what the others get which is a moistened grain mix with molassas plus raw fruit and veges. He will also have grass to graze on at will. He doesn’t really need all that bread or milk and I’m not sure I could afford it either. But I’m sure he’ll get plenty of ‘treats’ to help him get through the day. LOL

  5. Margi said on 06/07/2011 at 4:14 am

    Welcome to the family Duncan. I think we better start a feed the animals fund or have a working bee to plant a vegie garden just for them
    Margi

  6. sue lobsey said on 09/07/2011 at 1:39 am

    OMG he is huge, I’d love to meet Duncan, I’m sure the boys will love him very much. Banjo roams with our big cows and I can tell you he is the boss. So size doesn’t matter

  7. Gregory Carr said on 18/07/2011 at 3:57 am

    I am an old friend of the man who rescued Duncan. I was fascinated to watch my friend change from keeping Duncan to fill his freezer to befriending the fellow. Duncan enjoyed the company of my friend and his wife, and the affection was returned. Duncan has a personlaity and it is an endearing one. Duncan became a friend; how do you kill your frined? I had resigned myself to an unfortunate fate for Duncan. My friend and his wife were set to go on a trip and I could only see this ending in Ducnan’s demise. Yes, I liked Duncan too! But I could see no alternative to Duncan becoming dinner. So I was thrilled to learn today that Duncan’s life is spared! And now he can have some companionship of other pigs who are also pets. The most telling part of the story, for me, was when my frined had delivered Duncan to Tallara Park and was walking away; Ducan cried and so did.

  8. Shannon said on 04/08/2011 at 11:48 am

    Hahahaha. I love him. Funny that I’ve read a few other blogs on him but not this one – the first. What a great story Diana. They really are amazing animals, the more I read the more I am fascinated by them.

  9. Patricia Boyle said on 31/12/2011 at 5:00 am

    “The man” is my brother & we’ve enjoyed stories of Pig since the beginning being ever hopeful that he would not end up on the dinner plate. Thanks to Di and all the friends of animals throughout the World compassion & love come to the fore. Go the Pigs.

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