British Columbia·Video

Pig ruins Christmas, gores owner, but William the tusked boar is 'usually a sweet boy'

Julia Smith is an urban farmer who knows her pigs, but a frisky 1,000-pound boar named William surprised her this Christmas.

'I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,' says owner

Two new litters at Blue Sky Ranch born in -30 degree temperatures

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4 years ago
Julia Smith was caring for new piglets when she was gored by the male pig -- William 0:30

Pig farmer Julia Smith knows her hogs, but a frisky 1,000-pound boar named William surprised her this Christmas.

It wasn't a nice surprise. He got loose from her ranch near Merritt, B.C. on Friday and accidentally gored her as she tried to round him up.

"He was doing the man dance along the fence with our other boar,"  Smith wrote to friends on Facebook, explaining that the two animals were posturing on the fence.

"I'm normally really careful about staying away from his head but I have not been at the top of my game lately," she wrote after she was taken to Royal Inland hospital in Kamloops, B.C..

"I got too close and he swung his head around. I took a six-inch tusk in the belly."

William punctured her abdomen, and hit her liver.

Way to ruin Christmas William!

The former urban farmer now works with her husband Ludo Ferrari on the 8.4-hectare Blue Sky Ranch in the Nicola Valley just outside Merritt B.C.

Julia Smith, CEO of Urban Digs Farm, was stuck in hospital due to a pig-caused injury this holiday, but says the boar who punctured her liver with his tusk is usually 'sweet.' (Julia Smith/Facebook)

The injury put her Christmas on hold as she underwent surgery, but she's not blaming William, the boar.

"He is actually a very sweet boy," Smith told CBC in a written exchange. "He didn't attack me or anything. He just tossed his head and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have raised him since he was a baby."

She blames sleep deprivation, as she's been up for days monitoring the two sows birthing piglets.

Julia Smith raised William the boar from a piglet, and usually they see eye-to-eye just fine. (Julia Smith/Facebook)

It's been freezing lately in Merritt, as cold as -30 C, so she set up insulated baby boxes and made sure she was there to dry off newborns fast or they'd freeze.

She'd been watching web-cams, checking every nine minutes, so as not to miss the births.

Other urban farmers and friends sent good wishes after hearing of the mishap.

When livestock attack

"That's a scary injury. I thought our bison were dangerous!" wrote Conrad Schiebel of Turtle Valley Bison Company in Chase, B.C.

It's not unusual for livestock to attack owners. A 2008 study by the American Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reported that most fatal injuries by farm animals involve cattle. The study does not break out swine in a category, but said that there are an average of 73 "mammal" attacks a year.

In 2012, a 70-year-old Oregon hog farmer was eaten by his 700-pound animals when he went to feed them.

In some ways, Smith says it's a Christmas miracle the tusk missed her bowel, which would put her at higher risk of infection or sepsis.

So far she's healing well, and hopeful.

"I'm very lucky to even be alive," said Smith, who plans to take another "crack" at the holidays — next year.

Julia Smith and William the boar. Domestic pigs can grow to sizes that dwarf humans, and care must be taken when dealing with them, as with any animal. (Julia Smith/Facebook)