Animals In Appalachia Weather

Pig Nests

wild hogs in western nc

“Dad caught a wild piglet many years ago that I raised. She had several liters of pigs through the years. She would build a big pile of grass and sticks every time her liter was due. These were usually 18 – 20 inches high. Once she built one almost 3 feet high and wasn’t pregnant. Dad said a big snow was coming. We had a blizzard with more than a foot of snow and ice that stayed on the ground for almost 2 weeks. Most of our snows were in the 2 – 6 inch range.”

—Jackie McClung – 2019

Papaw Wade and some of my other family had pigs when I was little. The pig pen was down the road from the mailboxes. At that time the pigs were only raised for meat so there wasn’t any piglets that I can remember.

One time my cousin and I were walking down the road talking and the pigs got out and chased us. Looking back I realize they probably thought we were bringing them some food, but at the time they scared us and we ran screaming all the way back up the holler. Everyone teased us about being afraid of the pigs.


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  • Reply
    January 18, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    As a child growing up, we always had a pig and raised it to kill for meat. Boy it was so good. Ham, tenderloin, sausage ,bacon. Delicious. I told this before Tipper, daddy told my oldest brother to pick up the pig every day and when he got big , he would be able to pick the hog up when it was full grown. My brother did this and it sure is true.

  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    January 16, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    Around 70 years ago I was 4 years old and Mama had a big wash pot set up beside the branch near our home which we fondly called the Tom House for the man we rented from named Tom Townsend. Mama had built a fire outside under the wash pot and was washing clothes that day. Mama had put my new baby brother out on the front porch in his bassinett so we could hear him and so she could keep an eye out for him if he started crying. I was helping Mama as much as a 4 year old can do, and I saw our big sow hog running across the yard toward the porch where my baby brother was. I screamed and told Mama and she ran up on the porch as the hog grabbed hold of the little ruffled skirt that was around the bassinett. Mama had an old broom out on the porch and she beat the hog off and Mama grabbed the baby and me and we ran in the house and shut the doors. When Daddy got home from work we told him about our big scare and he rounded up the hog and put her back in the pen. Soon after that we had fresh hog meat to eat. I had to stay with Grandma while they butchered the hog because they didn’t want me to hear the hog squeeling or see the meat preparation. That was a fearsome time for me because if that hog had been just a few minutes faster I would not have had my sweet baby brother that I love dearly. My Mama was so brave. Many times she showed her courage and strength all during her 94 years of life. I sure do miss her and I will forever love my dear family.

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    January 16, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Tipper; I noted that you mentioned someone named Jackie McClung. Is she a friend/acquaintence of yours? I ask because my grandmother’s family, the Callisons from Nichola County, W. VA, is related to the McClungs through marriage.
    My great aunt Margaret Callison (1865-1945) married a McClung.

    • Reply
      January 16, 2021 at 3:43 pm

      Hank-The quote I used is from Jackie-he is a Blind Pig reader 🙂

    • Reply
      January 16, 2021 at 4:53 pm

      Hank, I don’t recall hearing the name Callison but my grandfather came from West Virginia. He was known as Add. (His real name was much longer.} My grandmother’s name was Nancy Hooper. The only thing I remember about him is he read the Sunday comics to me. He died in the Spring of 1946 when I was just over 3 years old. All of his eleven children are also gone as well as several grandchildren.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    We only had one hog at a time. Daddy would buy a pig from a neighbor and then raise it. One of my jobs as a young boy was to feed and water the hog. The hog was kept in a pen and not allowed to run loose and had a shelter to go in.

    I going to tell a story that was told to me by my father in law about pigs and some things that has been discussed on the blog recently, (superstitions, or feelings). I think it will make a lot of us feel uneasy. He told the story of a neighborhood family that raised hogs to sell. One time the daddy was having trouble with some of the pigs rooting out. Instead of putting hog rings in their snout, he made his sons, about four, take pitch forks and put the pig’s eyes out. Latter on in life each one of his boys went blind. My father in law was a very fine Christian man and had the feeling that God did this as punishment for doing this.I only knew one man in the family when I was very young and as far as I know he never went blind so I think it may have been his grandaddy and daddy that did this but I really don’t know.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    January 16, 2021 at 10:42 am

    hen I was a young sailor, I had a Shipmate from Oklahoma who disliked one of the Senior Petty Officers. The Petty Officer smoked cigars. Every time my friend saw him, he would whisper, “Winter is gonna be cold. The pigs are carrying sticks in their mouths,”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 16, 2021 at 10:00 am

    All wild and most domesticated animals build nests to have their young. Domestic hogs are just one generation away from being wild. If they are lost or unattended their natural instincts will soon kick in and they will revert quickly. If they don’t they soon become prey for other carnivores including other hogs.
    Female hogs try to find a safe place to birth her litter. A place where she can defend them until they are big enough to recognize danger and try to escape. Her primary enemy isn’t always another species but ofttimes her own. The piglets’ grandparents, aunts, uncles and older adult siblings see them as squealing little morsels. Even their own father has no qualms about snacking on them. The sows themselves are known to consume their own little offspring. A “good” brood sow is one that won’t kill and eat her own litter.
    When the piglets are a little older and away from their den or nest the sow does not stand and defend her young. She runs! And so do all the littlins. In all different directions. This is an instinct too. The sow, somewhere down deep, knows that if she is killed then, the whole family is lost. She “knows” that the attacker probably can’t or won’t catch and kill all piglets. So, she escapes with intentions of coming back when it’s over and rounding up the remainder of her family. The tactic works, perhaps too well. In many places wild hogs are the number one cause of crop losses to farmers.

    Betcha didn’t think you were going to get an agriculture lesson today, didja?

  • Reply
    Dan O’Connor
    January 16, 2021 at 9:43 am

    I love reading the comments sometimes as much as the blog! Sharing memories!

  • Reply
    Gene Smith
    January 16, 2021 at 9:41 am

    A pig nest is new to me, probably because all the pigs I’ve been around were in a pen or a lot with no grass. My wife and a cousin, when they were children, were charged by a boar owned by their grandpa, who intervened and whacked the hog in the head with a tin tub, saving the girls and putting the pig on its hind end.

    Years ago, maybe on the Grand Ol’ Opry, a jokester said of some incident, “We ain’t had this much excitement around here since the hogs et little brother.” Not exactly a happy thought, but it did make me chuckle and wonder if such a thing ever actually happened.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2021 at 9:21 am

    The pig nest is interesting and something I have never heard. And they say pigs are dumb…

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    January 16, 2021 at 9:05 am

    I can remember when I was little, old timers would come in the country store on a cold winter morning and say “it was so cold last night, the pigs was totin’ sticks”. (Presumably to build shelter against the cold.,,)

  • Reply
    Patricia Price
    January 16, 2021 at 8:46 am

    My grandma always had a hog in a pen in the smaller of two barns. Unlike all my cousins, I wasn’t raised on a farm. Grandma let me take the bucket of slops down to the pen to feed the hog. One of my cousins told me not to fall into the pen, because the hog would eat me up. Scared me to death. I stuck to feeding the chickens after that.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 16, 2021 at 8:46 am

    My Dad helped my Uncle build a new pig house and my cousin and I thought it would make a great playhouse. We kept feeding the pigs outside so they would stay out while we played. When my Aunt came to feed them they would not eat. She thought they were sick and was to call the vet. We finally confessed and then took off running so we would not get a spanking. We did get a very stern and lengthy lecture when we came back.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 16, 2021 at 8:41 am

    I never heard of a pig nest. But I have learned that nature never loses the ability to surprise us. I learned just two days ago that the American woodcock, also known as a ‘timberdoodle’ is a year-round resident in the South. I have only ever seen a very few. And I once found a bear bed but did not know what it was at the time. Day before yesterday my wife found a chocolate colored mushroom in the woods and I thought it was too cold for mushrooms.

    • Reply
      Gene Smith
      January 16, 2021 at 10:22 am

      I saw a female woodcock with trailing young in July 1963 in the Florida Panhandle (Bay County). This was clearly a late hatch. They crossed a dirt road in front of my vehicle. The books do indeed show that the timberdoodle is common as far south as central Florida and an occasional visitor in south Florida.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 16, 2021 at 7:17 am

    My grand parents always had hogs, two hogs. Out the back door at my grandparents house there was a trail right behind the house came the wood shed, to keep the firewood dry, next down the trail a little ways was the chicken lot, they always had 10 or so chickens for eggs and meat. Then on down the trail and on the opposite side of the trail was the pigpen, they usually raised two pigs a season. Then down the trail from that was the barn, they usually had at least two milk cows and sometimes more. All around was fields for the cows to wander in, hay fields with shocked hay to feed the cows and a big garden. There was also fruit trees around and berry patches.
    They wouldn’t let me near the pigs cause they knew I’d try to pet them!

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