March of the Piglets: Special Edition Farm Photo Friday 4/18/14

Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!

This week we have a very special edition of Farm Photo Friday.  Our piglets have grown quite a bit since the days of the polar vortex (when they were born), and it's now warm enough to get them out on pasture.  Here, we have documented their epic journey, and the pioneering humans who laid the groundwork for their journey.  We are honored to present to you:

March of the Piglets
A Special Edition of Farm Photo Friday

We start in the planning stages.  Dr. Hue Karreman, Institute Veterinarian, enlisted his daughter, Emily, to assist in the planning of the piglets' exodus.  Here she is surveying and sketching out the landscape, establishing the plan for action.

This will be the piglets' new home.  Emily takes in the view and makes a record of it's pre-piglet condition.

The path for the piglets' move is clearly mapped out in this drawing by Emily.

Without further ado, here are the stars of the show, in their old home, the spring house.  Today, they're moving on to greener pastures.

Of course, they'll miss the old place, but it's time to move on.  They're only moving a little ways down the path, anyway.

Here is their new neighborhood!

Emily had a great day with her dad and all the hogs and piglets.

Here, the piglets catch one last snooze in their old spring house digs.

And here comes Ross Duffield, Farm Manager, tractoring in one of their new shelters!

Rick Carr, Compost Production Specialist, is on the research component of this project, testing the soil profile both pre- & post-piglet.

Soil Sampling is good for you!  A public service announcement from Rick Carr.

 Oh these piglets are really in luck with this wet muddy new home the7're moving to...  Or should we say, they're in muck!

 Moving the kitchen:   Now you see it...

 Now it's over there!

 OK, the march is almost ready to begin.  Ross starts to adjust the fencing to create a promenade for the piglets' procession.

 Has anyone let these guys and gals know that they are expected to marching in like, only a few photos from now???  Wake up and get ready to march, piggies!

 Dr. Karreman makes some final adjustments to ensure a safe journey.

 Here is one last shot of those 'greener pastures,' pre-piglet.

 And here are their new digs!!  The shelters will never be this pristine again, after the pigs get here!

And the moment you've been waiting for.... The March begins!  Even though there is plenty of safe fencing to contain the piglets, staff members must use corralling boards to create even narrower hallways so the pigs are clear about where they are supposed to go.

 The thing is, they like where they've been.  They've been treated very well there.  Many good times.  They haven't seen the new place yet, so they're a bit skeptical.

 Which means that they really want to see if they can't stay another day or two at the spring house.  'Let us back in!'

 Success!  Well, about 10% anyway.  Moving 30 piglets, 3 at a time?  Whatever it takes!

 Once they get along on their way, it ain't so bad.  They move along quite nicely.  Not quite galloping, but - can a hog jog?

 Back at the spring house, the staff are busy trying to give the piglets directions to their new home.

 'Hey!  Let us back in,' they say again.  'We love it here!  We don't want to leave the spring house!'

We almost have another 3!  Lynn Trizna, Special Project Farmer, guides them.

 What are these piglets, chicken?

 Much better!

 We've hit the tipping point...  There are now more piglets on the path to pasture than there are at the spring house, so the stragglers decide to join the migration.

 And there they go, ladies and gentlemen, marching and oinking along!  Just as planned!

 Off and away, to greener pastures!

 Hey!  Hold on!  Now it's time to close in the fencing on their new area.  They need just a bit more corralling to make it work.  Does it look easy to hold those boards up like that?

 How about now?  Those piglets are very very strong when there are 30 of them.

 We're in the home stretch, don't give up an inch, Dr. Karreman!

 Finally!  Safe and sound in their new home!

 Smiles all around let us know they're happy with their fresh new accommodations.

Hay!  What's that on your face?  Hay!  Hay you!

They're digging right in...

 Way in.  This one did a belly slide across a big puddle like it was a slip-n-slide!

This smile says it all.

Welcome to your new home, piglets!!

Don’t forget… Show your organic love!

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