About nine years ago, Clifford Kelly acquired a duroc piglet from a friend, and brought it to his home off Rockhill Road in northern Oktibbeha County. The piglet was about 25 pounds, but began to grow rapidly and was given the name “Bear.” Today, Bear is massive, with Kelly claiming her weight is close to 1,400 pounds.
Kelly said Bear had a massive appetite as a piglet, and still does, eating two chitlin buckets of corn a day, in addition to table scraps.
“I got two of them,” Kelly said. “I got her, and I got a boar, same color as she was. I took the boar and got it processed. He kept on getting out and everything. I couldn’t keep himin, but she don’t ever get out. If we lether out in the yard, she knows where she eats at and everything. She’ll walk right back up in the pen. All I have to do is close her in.”
Kelly said he bred her once with a duroc boar, producing a litter of piglets. while the piglets were healthy, noneof them grew to their mother’s size.
“I sold all of her litter, because they were eating up something,” Kelly said. “I enjoy raising them, if my health was good I would have got her bred again, but I can’t fool with them like that anymore.”
“I’m just keeping what I got and working with her,” Kelly added.
Kelly said Bear was basically a family pet at this point.
“That’s old bear,” Kelly said. “That’s our old pig.”
When he first got Bear, Kelly intended for her to be processed, but became attached to her as time went on.
“After I sold off her litter, I wanted to keep her, but I enjoyed it,” Kelly said. “I just hate that I can’t work with them. I would have more now if I was able.”
Kelly walks with a cane and is assisted in taking care of Bear by his sister-in-law Mildred Kelly. Mildred feeds the hog and helps wash the pen out every few days.
Mildred also takes time to visit with Bear when they are in the pen together.
“I even get up in the pen with her,” Mildred Kelly said. “I feed her and pat her on the head. She’s just a big pet.”
Sometimes Bear is let out of her pen and allowed to roam the family property.
“She ain’t really mean or nothing like that,” Kelly said. “When she’s out she likes to come up to you.”
He also said she was good about not damaging gardens.
“We had a green patch right out there, and you know, she wouldn’t even go in that green patch,” Kelly said. “She’d walk right by it. I ain’t never seen a hog that wouldn’t eat greens. She won’t even eat greens and cabbage.”
However, he said he had to be aware of one thing when she was out of her pen.
“When she gets out there in the yard, she’ll rub upside these vehicles, and she’ll dent them, as heavy as she is,” Kelly said. “I had to stop her from just walking around in the yard.”
“I just enjoy letting people come look at her,” Kelly added. “Some people come and take pictures, show her off. Sometimes they’ll put her on Facebook. People ain’t never seen it.”
Bear’s diet consists primarily of crushed corn, since whole corn would be difficult for the older hog to chew. Over the years, Bear has been relatively healthy, only falling ill once, right after having her litter.
“You could see her ribs and stuff like that, she had gotten so thin, but she came back,” Kelly said. “I thought one time she was not going to make it.”
Kelly said Bear would be his last pig, and would live out the rest of her days in the pigpen behind his trailer.
“I know one thing about it,” Kelly said. “I can say this here. When you’ve got animals, you’ve got to feed them and you’ve got to take care of them. You’ve got to do that, because one thing about it, they cannot get out of there and find their own food.”