Veterinary Tales To Save The Animals: Pigs Like Sweet Beer

Pig on fence to save the animals

Veterinary Tales To Save The Animals

Raising Awareness Of The Lives Of Animals

To Save The Animals

Once you really get to know a pig, you won’t want to eat him/her for dinner.

Pub in Wellington Somerset; sweet beer to save the animalsIf you raise a pig to eat, and you have no choice, you had better not name your pig!

Pigs are such interesting creatures. I learned this, while working on a pig farm, as teenager. I also encountered some interesting pigs, during my years in veterinary practice in the southwest of England, in the late 1960s. There were no factory farms in England at that time. Just small family farms.

As an English country vet, I couldn’t buy my own beer in a local pub. Someone would call me over, and buy me a drink. But there is no such thing as a free drink. Along with the pint of bitter, came veterinary questions and farm animals stories.

Generally I enjoyed the attention and a free beer. I was young and impressionable!

One evening, I was chatting with an old farmer, in the local pub. I’d had a long day treating livestock. We broached the subject of sows (mature female pigs) savaging, and even eating, their young. It goes like this:

Piglets suckling; sweet beer to save the animalsThe sow delivers 15 to 30 hungry piglets. Her udder is full to bursting. Sore and sensitive to the touch. But the milk hasn’t been ‘let down.’ It’s not available. This is controlled by a hormone, triggered by nuzzling from the piglets. Hungry piglets attack the teats, causing pain to the sow. Sometimes, she will react violently, attacking her young. Some will not only kill their newborns in the process. They will even proceed to eat them.

What’s to do? All those hungry youngsters, clamoring for their milk?

In college, I was told to give an injection of oxytocin, to induce milk letdown. But what about a farmer?

This old guy leans over his beer. He says to me, conspiratorially, “Young man, just give her a couple of bottles of glucose stout (a sweet English beer). She’ll drink it in a flash.

“Pigs like sweets, as much as we do. [That’s why I want to save the animals. They’re not so different to us!]

“But they’re not used to the alcohol. Before you know it, she’ll be sound asleep, milk spraying everywhere. The young’uns can gorge themselves to their hearts content. This cures the swollen udder and everyone is happy. With perhaps a mild hangover, on the part of the sow, later in the day.

Glass of beer in Revolution Restaurant, for FitOldDog; to save the animalsAs we downed our third pint, I wondered about my hangover the next day. But I liked this old farmer, and his animal stories.

On my next case of a ‘cannibalistic pig,’ I left my fancy drugs in the car.

To the surprise of the farmer, I extracted two bottles of glucose stout from the boot (trunk). And, as we say in England, “Bob’s your uncle.” The next time that farmer won’t need to call the vet. Anyone can feed a pig a beer. You end up with a contented family of pigs, and a grateful farmer. With a great tale to tell in the pub, about how the young ‘vet-n-rey’ saved their pigs, and their brass.

Another great lesson from the field. I never did read about that in a textbook of Veterinary Medicine. Nor did I glean it from a ‘learned professor.’

Amazing what you can learn over a good pint of English Ale!

Run Piggy Run; to save the animals.

Click image for link to save the animals video!


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.