We transport pigs each week to butcher inside our extended body Ford E-350 van. They get to travel in comfort on a bed of hay inside with the drive so they won’t get exposed to the extreme wind and cold which is most of the year in our climate.

The back half of the van is setup with a cage so that in the case of a sudden stop 1,500 lbs of pastured pork won’t come crashing forward towards the driver. This also protects the van from the pigs chewing on wiring or messing with the windows.

The big problem with the pigs in the van is they poop and pee during the trip. The salts and acids would eat away the metal of the van unless we protect it. For years we have had a fiberglass and epoxy pan that has done a good job of that but it was starting to wear.

Last year Will welded together a large stainless steel pan that fits in the back. This way all pig pee is directed back, over a flap and out when we clean out the van after each trip. This is one of the projects he has done on the fabricating machine he designed and built for bending, folding and cutting of metal. Doing this project was a practice for steel work in the butcher shop.

The stainless steel pan prevents rust, at least from the pigs. There is still the problem of the state of Vermont salting the roads – for that we undercoat each fall.

Why don’t we use a trailer? Very good question. Because our narrow, steep dirt roads are barely passible with the high riding van and it’s studded snow tires much of the year between ice, snow season (four to five months) and mud season (2 weeks on either end). A trailer would be too dangerous or simply not possible half the year. Carrying the pigs inside the van is also more fuel efficient and a lot simpler than driving with a trailer. This way they also get to listen to VPR and classical music on the trip.

Outdoors: 25°F/14°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/60°F

Daily Spark: The law of unintended consequences states that you will be punished by the people who mean to help you. Welcome to modern regulartocracy.