Titles: Master Mower, Belly Rub Connoisseur, Champion Pig Ambassador
Favorite Foods from the Farm: Dandelion flowers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, butternut squash
Winnie joined our family in November 2018, although we didn’t know it at the time!
Kevin and I both have years of experience working in farm animal rescue. In the summer of 2018, this background connected us with a caring woman who was trying to find a home for a potbellied pig who had fallen through the cracks at the farm where she lived. Winnie’s story echoes that of too many pet pigs across the country. People purchase them as cute little piglets and, unaware of a pig’s needs and behaviors (let alone healthy adult size), lose interest or become frustrated as the piglet gets older. Pigs are smart, funny, strong-willed animals, but their intelligence, stubbornness, strength, and natural behaviors such as rooting makes them a challenge for many households. As a result, many pet pigs end up abandoned or surrendered to shelters and rescues. In Winnie’s case, she languished in a dark horse stall without the care or attention she needed.
When we first met Winnie, she was so obese that she couldn’t see or move around well, her overgrown hooves were like flippers, and she was noticeably withdrawn and depressed. We trimmed her hooves, recommended a more appropriate diet, and reached out to our networks to try to find her a new home. It is not always easy to find a good home for a pig, especially one who would need some extra care to regain her health, and so we offered to bring her to our farm to start the process while looked for a permanent home.
It should come as no surprise that we ended up as “foster failures!” After a year of looking for Winnie’s perfect forever home, we finally realized that she had already found one here at Dandelion Ridge Farm!
It has been a joy to watch Winnie blossom—first just soaking up the sunshine, and then gradually venturing farther and farther into her paddock as she gained strength, confidence, and mobility. Now healthy and active, she is a very busy woman, out grazing and exploring, sometimes into the dark of night. Not even thunderstorms faze her while she is out and about! When dandelions are flowering, Winnie works her way around the paddock, eating every flower one by one! We often see her side by side with her pygmy goat friends, Lucy and Alice, as the trio grazes or takes a siesta.
As she has come out of her shell, Winnie’s big personality has come out as well. Pigs have a penchant for drama, but Winnie is as mellow and charming as they come. It seemed appropriate to name our butternut pickles—unique and sweet, seasoned with warm mulling spices—in honor of this sweet lady!
Through our jar return program, jars of Miss Winnie’s Mulled Butternut Pickles support the Pig Advocates League, a non-profit that works to protect potbellies and other pigs through education, advocacy, rescue, and legislation. Find out more about their work at pigadvocates.com.