Mike Allen, Exchange Place volunteer, with Gaines and Preston, 4 month old mulefoot pigs who reside on the living history farm in Kingsport. Photo by David Grace.
Meet Gaines and Preston, the newest residents of the Exchange Place Living History Farm on Orebank Road in Kingsport.
It’s a leisurely, albeit muddy, life these brothers enjoy. Visitors to the farm during the Fall Folk Art Festival will get to meet the boys, learn more about them and maybe purchase some of their artwork. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28 and from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29. Admission is $1 for adults and 50 cents for children under age 12.
The 4-month-old mulefoot pigs are named for the farm on which they will live out the rest of their lives.
“These would have been found, not so much on this farm, but in this area [in the 1850s],” explained Mike Allen, a volunteer who cares for the pigs.
The pigs historically would have been fed table scraps, Allen explained, so thanks to a nightly meal of about 30 pounds of food scraps donated by La Carreta and Pizza Hut, the brothers weigh between 250 and 275 pounds. The scraps are supplemented by a snack of hog feed during the day. By the time they’re full grown, they could reach 600 pounds each.
They live in a house constructed by Allen with the aid of donated materials — the roofing donated by Lyons Metal Roofing, bedding courtesy of USA Ready Mix, and building material from Midway Lumber. They’ve got a bedding cushion about a foot deep inside the house, which will protect them this winter, and a rectangular yard full of mud and water outside the house.
Allen hopes to expand their roaming area soon to include pasture behind the pig house, but not until a fence is built to secure the pasture.
Gaines and Preston will be gearing up for the Fall Folk Art Festival by creating artwork which will be sold at the event. Proceeds will help with their upkeep.