If You Give a Kid a Pig

Brent and B.J. Alumbaugh, the author's sons when they were younger. ( JoAnn Alumbaugh )

Editor’s note: My sister recently showed me a post on Facebook that was forwarded to her, called, “If you give a kid a sheep” (author unknown). I have modified the article to be about kids and pigs. The photos are of my boys, Brent and B.J. Alumbaugh, when they were little).

If you give a kid a pig, you will begin a journey. You’ll think it’s just a simple thing, but it isn’t. They will be happy and they’ll want a feed pan and brush to go with it.

Brent with baby pig

You'll buy the best feed pan and brush you can find and then they will probably want a bucket and clippers, too. They will spend hours looking at farm equipment catalogs.

Brent with show brush, drinking water

When they realize they can't carry all these things with their own two hands, they will want a show box. Then they will spend hours begging you to go out in the barn to work with their pig.

Brent and B.J.

Even though you just wanna sit on the couch and watch TV. They will insist. And their insistence will win!

When you go out in the barn to watch your youngster wash, brush and walk their pig, they will not want to go back in the house for dinner and will swear that even at dusk there is enough light to continue working with that pig!

B.J. with baby pig

Next the barn will not be enough and they will want to go to a show to see how they can compete while wearing their new show shirt and starched jeans! Once they get to the show they will get dirty setting up and will be happy! They will probably smile and laugh!

Brent and JoAnn showing pigs

Once they are all dirty and enjoy the way the work feels they will want to learn how to fit their pig in the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter! When they go to shows they will meet friends they can sit with on their show box.

The first time they show a pig by themselves, you will be nervous. You will want to give them helpful hints from the sidelines (read Confessions of a 4-H Mother).

When they get a new show shirt, they will want jeans, boots, a belt and maybe a hat to go with it! They may even want to expand their herd and get a bred sow, so they can have their own baby pigs. And they’ll want to join 4-H and/or FFA and go to more shows.

Brent showing a Hampshire

Then life as you know it will end! There will be no more lazy weekends. You will see more sunrises than you ever thought possible! Every spare minute of your time will be spent hauling pigs, buckets, pans, show equipment, and crazy kids all over the place to pig shows!

Brent with Hampshires

You will get excited about all the cute shirts and hats that people sell at pig shows! Your yard will be overlooked! Your house and car will be a mess all because you gave a kid a pig! Your weekends will be spent toughing it out in a fold up chair!

Their weekends will be spent gaining confidence and friends, learning new skills, and having fun getting dirty. So dirty you will learn a whole new way to do laundry! Like going to the car wash!

Brent showing a Duroc

Their smile will grow bigger and bigger! And each year that they work with their pigs, they will get better and better. They will learn about responsibility and how to win and lose. And their love for the pigs, and confidence in themselves will grow right along with their shirt size!

Brent with Duroc in pen

Then they might try to be a FITTER, a SHOWMAN, a HERDSMAN, or a BREEDER. Because pigs taught them they can be anything they want! And you will be there the day they win their first Grand Champion and win their showmanship class! And they will make you proud! So proud you will give them
a hug.

And right before your eyes, your little son or daughter will be transformed into a pig showman who set aside their toy barn one day long ago simply because you gave them a pig and a bucket, clippers, a show box, and a nice new show shirt to go with it!

Brent showing a Hampshire 2

When you give a kid a pig, you give them a talent, and hope, a passion, a dream, and friends and a new family. You give them a place to learn about life and room to grow up as a person where they can push their limits. They will have bravery and courage while they learn about LIFE and memories. And they will have all these things simply because you gave a kid a pig and a brush!

When you give a kid a pig, you give them room to grow up as a person where they can push their limits. They will have bravery and courage while they learn about LIFE and create memories. 

Then one day, many years from now.... they will be in the pasture and that old mama pig will walk up to them. They will scratch her behind the ears and instantly realize that when you gave that kid a pig, you also gave them a childhood that they would never forget! And they will hug you, and you may cry. Because then you will realize that everything you gave up along the way was worth it all BECAUSE YOU GAVE A KID A PIG!

Brent holding a baby Chester White