6 min read

Brave Baby Piglet Jumps Off A Moving Truck To Save Her Own Life

“She sleeps in the house at night in a big cozy bed with blankets.”


Driving down an interstate near Ames, Iowa, over the summer, a passerby spotted someone completely unexpected lying on the shoulder of the busy highway: a tiny, pink piglet.

With her small face and body patched with road rash from scraping against the pavement, the piglet, later named Fern by rescuers, was rushed to the Iowa State University Large Animal Hospital where she stayed overnight for a health assessment and pain medication. After confirming Fern had not broken any bones, she was then transferred to Ames Animal Shelter, who connected with Iowa Farm Sanctuary to give her a forever home.

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Fern getting her checkup after being found on the side of the highway | Iowa Farm Sanctuary

Judging by the nature of Fern’s injuries and a serial number tattoo behind her right ear, the vets and sanctuary officials believe Fern had jumped out of a pig transport truck that was on its way to a commercial breeding facility.

“As a female pig, her fate was to become a breeding sow,” Chelsea Wilde, spokesperson for Iowa Farm Sanctuary, told The Dodo. “She was heading somewhere to get a little older, get fattened up and start having babies. Luckily she was brave and did what she could to get out of the situation.”

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Fern being held during the drive to her forever home | Iowa Farm Sanctuary

In a video of Fern’s trip to her new home after leaving the animal shelter, sanctuary cofounder Shawn Camp cuddles the small piglet in her arms. As they approach a transport truck driving in the other lane, Fern instantly begins fearfully squirming and squealing as if she was experiencing pain.

“We have never heard her scream like that since that moment,” Wilde said of the video footage. “It was almost like she was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. She recognized the truck.”

Now fully recovered from the road rash and trauma from that day, Fern has settled in comfortably to her new home. Since she’s only a few months old — and far too small to live full-time alongside the sanctuary’s other resident pigs — Fern has what Wilde calls her own “pig apartment” inside the home on the property.

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Fern enjoying some time in the grass at the sanctuary | Iowa Farm Sanctuary

“She sleeps in the mud room of the house at night in a big cozy bed with blankets,” Wilde said. “In the morning she gets breakfast in the kitchen and then has full reign of the living room to relax and explore. She’ll probably continue sleeping in the house through the winter, and by the time it gets warmer again, we’ll begin fully integrating her into our adult pig group.”

While she enjoys time inside the warm house, Fern’s favorite activities include snacking on tomatoes and watermelon and playing with the other resident animals — regardless of how small she may be in comparison.

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Fern making some new friends | Iowa Farm Sanctuary

“She is definitely fearless,” Wilde said with a laugh. “One of the first interactions she wanted to have after coming here was with our Angus steers. She’s also probably the most playful pig we’ve had so far. Sometimes she gets playing so rough that the goats start feeling intimidated by her.”

In Fern’s short time at her new home so far, the brave little pig has left a lasting impact on the sanctuary — so much that Wilde just got a matching tattoo behind her own ear in tribute to the former life Fern will never have to experience.

“She was saved from spending years in a gestation crate, having litter after litter of piglets until her poor little body gave out,” Wilde wrote in a post about her new tattoo. “The day she jumped out of that truck, she changed her fate. I’m thankful to know Fern — I love her so much. I only wish her brothers and sisters could know the same happiness.”
 

For more information about Iowa Farm Sanctuary, visit its website here. To support the continued care of Fern and other rescued animals at the sanctuary, you can make a donation.