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Senior Contributor

Cruisin' for a bruising

Actually,  looking to be FIRED!    In the past 3 weeks he hasn't been able to work a total of 40 hours.    Last week he had the flu for 7 days!    He worked Monday for 7 hours.   Tuesday he worked 3.5 hr   we got him out before the storm hit.   Did not work Yesterday because of the roads.    Today,  he had to come 30 minutes early to help sort 90 pigs for the semi load.   He was huffin' and puffin' after only sorting 35!   DH  loaded all of them.    After sorting and loading employee made a beeline for the pickup to go for a break.  (Fine DH took one too).     Then they spent a little over an hour going to the one set of hogs we didn't get to on yesterday.     DH  plowed several neighbors out on the way home but gave him jobs to do.   Time for dinner,  DH calls to make sure he knew the time.   

Employee informed husband that he was:   tired, sweaty,  and cold..he'd had it,. and he was on his way home.   Clocked out at 11:11.  NOT one word to DH or to me, who was preparing his dinner.    No cross words were said at all.    I might have made one correction while sorting pigs.   He kept trying to bring 2 or 3 up to the gate hole at a time and I told him to just concentrate on pig at a time.  

 

We made a big point of pointing out this is physical work before he agreed to work here.   Just too many people think that working for a farmer means:   riding in the pickup to open gates,  and throwing out a few bales or buckets of feed  and of course  riding around in nice cab tractors.    He admitted to us a couple of weeks ago he couldn't handle the physical demands of the job.    We agreed we would let him  muddle through  for another month or 2.   Then he should be back on his old seasonal job.   But.    just disappearing,  not one word.   

 

I was trying to reconcile the 1099's.    FSA loan is screwed up completely!   Paperwork I got in early December when I made a payment is nowhere close to the 1099 they sent.   Plus,  my accountant thinks they were off on the principal too.  This will require a trip to one town to get the paper from the accountant  and then another to the FSA  in another town.   Plus,  no help.  

The end is insight.   Half of the sows are already gone.   Full amount of market hogs though.    End of rant.   Have to go help my husband outside with the hog lots that still need to be cleaned out. 

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11 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

I'm assuming this is not the same one who had the accident earlier, right? I would have fired him for insubstantial work ethic, but I'm not as nice as you. It is disrespectful to you and your husband to leave in the middle of a day without a good reason. There are just too many that cannot do the physical labor that livestock requires. I do know of one farmer that has it really easy. He just drives around by his fields checking up on the employees driving the tractors.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

Just asking suey but do you load 90 pigs one at a time?

That is a long slow process.

I know sometimes there is the odd pig that needs individual attention but 90?

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Senior Contributor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

No,  we load 5-6 at a time.  As according to TQA.   We had to sort them out of the pens.   Pens contain 25 to 30 pigs per pen.  We sold 12 - 20 pigs per pen.   I marked,  employee and I sorted,  me on the gate with hurdle counting, him bringing pigs to the gate, with hurdle.  Job was probably harder today since it was the first time we had been in most of the pens.  Husband helped trucker get backed in and then loaded all 90 of them.    We started sorting at 7:30Am.   Truck was loaded and gone by 8:15. 

 

You know what happens when you try to bring 2  pigs to a gate hole at one time.  One goes left, and then while stopping the one, the other goes right and you end up with no pigs headed for the gate.    I've explained defense to many a kid using that double team situation.    

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Advisor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

You can get almost anybody to drive a tractor, if you are not too particular about your equipment.  It takes a special kind of person to want to load pigs for a living. 

Mike and I used to sort my little farm truck of 26 and load them out together.  That was a sorting job, as Suey says...much tougher first time in pens. We made a short sorting gate that attached onto the pen's gate conncetors and slapped back against the open pen front.  One of us flipped it open as the other funneled the pig we wanted towards the opening with a sorting panel. 

It was not such hard work, but you had to be smarter than the pigs.  I had grown up working in hogs, but Mike had not, so he had to learn things that I just knew in my bones.  We watched a guy working sheep once who had grown up with them.  He never reached for where a lamb was, he reached for where it was "going to be."  You could just see it...it was a subconscious thing with him.  It was like watching Michael Jordan play basketball. 

Too many employees you get now do not know animals, and do not care to learn; so, working in them is excruciatingly hard for them, at least compared to whatever else it is that they do. 

If you are good at marking and sorting, you can really improve your price.  It is really worth doing.  Only real help we ever had - except our daughter who works with us now - was my Murphy.  An average Blue Heeler is better than almost any human. 

Senior Contributor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

When I first read this I was reminded of our Aus. shepherd Buck.  He would help sort hogs & had the instinct & the will to figure it out.  If he brought the wrong one DH would tell him & he'd go back & get the other one.  When he got out of a messy pen he'd wipe his feet off & be ready to move on.  He would get a little rougher to move ewes but would push the back end of the lambs to get them to move.  A one in a million dog.  Even learned how to use the doorbell!  LOL  Never had another dog like him. 

Don't know how you've had the patience not to get rid of this employee.  Doesn't sound like he's worth the paper to write his check out on.  Good luck.  I think of you often with those pigs.  We don't have much anymore, just cows & sheep.

That's enough!

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Senior Contributor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

I agree.  You must be smarter than what you are sorting and a lot of it is instinct. I tried to teach my DH but he finally caught on. It wasn't always pretty. When we loaded out those last pigs and ground the last batch of feed, it was tough. I can still picture those sows laying out in the sun near our house. Just go a day at a time.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

I sounds like he is trying to get fired.  Has he been there long enough to get unemployment?  Some people just don't realize the work it takes to farm.  Good luck with whatever you do.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

Didn't show up and didn't call this morning.  I say he has quit.   Check is written for the week.  

 

Illinois farmers do not have to pay unemployment.    So there will be none.  

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Cruisin' for a bruising

OK now I understand.

Moving pigs is an 'art' that is learned, at least by some people because some never do learn. There is a 'feeling' that you develop after a while so you can anticipate what most animals are going to do and when.

You either wear yourself out and get frustrated or you figure out when to push and when to wait for a moment. When the pig is going to try to turn and how to keep them going forward to where you want them.

I shipped my last pigs on the first Monday of October last fall.

Had been raising pigs for 45-46 years by then.

Miss the barn work but do not miss the financial drain that swine had become lately.

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