It was a sad day at Quail Hollow Farm Tuesday morning. Chaucey, the large sow with 8 piglets died.
Nick, another WWOOFer, and I were doing morning chores. We were feeding the pigs and billy goats at the back edge of the property. Chaucey was not interested in the food, and in fact, didn’t respond to us at all. Nick braved the large sow’s morning breath to step over the fence and see.
Chaucey managed to stand for a few shakey moments before she collapsed again. She looked like she was choking, or maybe having a heart attack. But mostly her jaw was slack, and it felt like she was trying to scream.
Nick and the two employees got on the phone to call the owners, and I warned Emma, the third intern. Emma has known Chaucey the longest, and I was worried about her being caught unaware about the sow.
“Chaucey is dying,” I told her while she was struggling to get the goats to the milker. She didn’t really get what I meant.
By the time we were done with the chores, Chaucey had died. And no one knows why. She was buried.
It’s a little hard to process what happened. I barely knew Chaucey, so it’s not horribly tragic for me. But it does leave me with a little bit of a hollow feeling in my stomach. What killed her? The mystery of it makes it feel creepy. Not knowing is what made them bury her. Why risk contaminated meat? Did she choke? Did she have a heart attack? It feels like I am in the beginning of an episode of the X-Files. I am just waiting for David Duchovny to show up with the Lone Gunman to wax paranoid about government conspiracies having to do with covered up livestock deaths.
I try to console myself with knowing that her body will go to fertilize next year’s crops and she has left with us an adorable legacy.