Fate has dealt our boar "Scrotal" a surprisingly good hand, despite his rough beginning. While we were picking up our last batch of piglets, the farmer threw in, for free, an uncastrated piglet as a "bonus," as if he were doing us a favor. We quickly noticed the large bulge of the piglet's left testicle and knew something was amiss. Yup, the farmer confirmed our suspicions, this poor piglet had a herniated scrotum.
Herniated scrotums can easily be fixed within the first few days of life, but after that it is very difficult, requiring surgery--an expensive, unlikely option. I had previously dealt with a couple of pigs with belly hernias, that actually grew well to butcher weight. So we hoped for the best. We couldn't castrate him because of the hernia, so we planned to butcher him before he hit puberty to avoid "boar taint."
That is how his name came to be. Poor guy, we often referred to him as Scrotal and it stuck. As the weeks went on and he grew and acted normally, we started to relax a bit, and think maybe he really would be all right. But, at a few months old he developed a pretty bad limp that persisted for several weeks. We couldn't discern if the cause was his hernia, or a sprain or something else. He lost body condition, and, fatefully, it was right around the time we planned to butcher him.
So Scrotal lived on. He recovered from his limp and regained body condition. In fact, he was out right thriving, courting his lady pig companions, loving life it seemed. And then, something miraculous happened: his herniated scrotum healed. It wasn't overnight, it was gradual, but it was certain.
Scrotal was left alone when his hog companions were harvested in December. We were concerned he would get lonely being all the way down in the pasture, so we opened up the gate and polywired off a huge area that included most of the back yard, Jeremy's workshop and the upper barn. Scrotal took to laying down near Jeremy while he worked, and following him around the yard. The blizzard couldn't stop him; in fact, he gained a wider range because of the snow-covered fences. We took the photo below when we were trying to go for a walk down the road, and when we glanced back there was Scrotal, coming to join us.
Although Scrotal was a wonderful companion, we couldn't justify keeping a boar with no sows to service. Plus, he probably wanted some fellow hog companionship. We decided to try to sell him, but were concerned that no one would buy him because of his rough beginning. However, a small farmer nearby was in need of a boar to service his gilts, and it worked out for everyone. Scrotal lives on, and so will his legacy! And we will definitely miss his gentle and loyal personality.