Piglet saved by driver on Manitoba highway finds new home on farm

It turns out five little piglets found along a Manitoba highway this week won't be headed to market after all - at least not yet.

This little piggy will join 4 others discovered near Birtle on Monday

Brenda Marshall-Wilson with the piglet she found on the highway near Birtle, Man. on Monday. It was one of five that were found in the area that day. (Facebook/Valley Recreation District )

It turns out five little piglets found along a Manitoba highway this week won't be headed to market after all — at least not yet.

And one of those piglets has Brenda Marshall-Wilson to thank. On Monday morning, she was driving to work in Birtle, Man., a town about 285 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.

When she stopped at the corner of Highways 42 and 83 just outside of town, something unexpected caught her eye.

"I look in front of the car and there's this little pig, like almost dancing around in front of me with its nose towards me," she said.

"I wish I had a picture of my face ... I'm sure my mouth opened up," she added. 

When she got out to examine the piglet, Marshall-Wilson said it was shivering and looked to be about two weeks old. Having worked in a pig barn before, she knew to get down low and "talk" to the piglet just like a mother pig would do. 

Brenda Marshall-Wilson took the piglet to work and put it in a box before taking it to the local Co-op store, where a local farmer agreed to raise it and four others. (Faceook/Brenda Marshall-Wilson)

"It was starting to walk towards me, it probably took a good 25 seconds to 30 seconds ... I just reached over and picked it up," she said. 

Marshall-Wilson believes the piglet may have been out in the cold for about an hour. The temperature in the area dipped to a low of -30 C on Monday and only reached -19 C through the day.

She tucked it under her arm and continued driving to work at the local recreation office, where co-workers took notice of the unexpected visitor as she wrapped it in a towel and put it into a box.

"I just said, 'Don't panic ... don't be alarmed, I'm carrying a pig.'

"It came out of the towel, turned around and starting warming up its little feet," she said.

More piglets found 

Not long after a co-worker posted about the office's new-found pet on Facebook, Marshall-Wilson said someone else came forward saying they too had found a piglet on the highway, this one near St. Lazare, Man., about 20 kilometres from Birtle.

A third was found on the highway near Birtle, Marshall-Wilson said. 

Brenda Marshall-Wilson said the piglet was shivering and looked to be about two weeks old. (Facebook/Valley Recreation District )

"They were found scattered and littered about," she said, adding that a total of four other piglets were found within an hour of when she picked hers up on the highway. 

She said no one is certain where the piglets originally came from. She and a co-worker called around to area farms to see if anyone was transporting pigs and lost a few, but the search came up empty. 

After discovering that the other piglets found were taken to the local Co-op store, Marshall-Wilson took the pig she found there as well. Before long, a local farmer offered to take the five to his farm to raise. 

May have fallen from truck 

Marshall-Wilson said the piglet must have fallen off a truck on its way from a farrowing barn — where sows give birth — to a feeder barn, where they are raised, in another location. 

Even if she did find the farm where the piglets came from, she said producers would be apprehensive about taking them back due to contamination concerns. 

The piglet she found wasn't injured, aside from frostbite on its ears and a slight limp, so she figures it must have fallen off when the vehicle was moving slowly, and speculates a trailer door may have come open.

No more reports of loose piglets have come in since, she said. RCMP said no such incidents were reported. 

"I knew when I picked the pig up that I was going to find it a home, even if it was the friend who takes in everything," Marshall-Wilson said, although she's realistic about its prospects.

"It won't escape maybe becoming bacon."