Nester was born on a commercial farm. Like the other piglets in his litter, he was to be used for pork. A severe injury, however, diverted him from that grim path. When Nester was a newborn, an accident tore off a large swath of his skin. The farm owners didn’t think he would survive, but some friends of theirs wanted to give Nester a chance. They brought him into their home, and they spent the next few months gently caring for him and treating his wound. Slowly, but surely, Nester healed. And then, something more happened.
After spending so much time tending to this piglet, his caregivers began to see him as part of their family. They couldn’t bring themselves to return him to a life that would be cut short at six months when he reached slaughter weight. But, they weren’t at all equipped to house an adult pig, so they began to search for a permanent home for Nester. When they reached out to Farm Sanctuary, we welcomed the pig to our New York Shelter.
Nester had lived without expert care or pig-friendly accommodations, and he arrived with mange and a leg injury that was most likely caused by walking and standing on icy ground. Treatment by our care staff and access to a safe pasture soon alleviated both conditions. Nester had also lived without the companionship of other pigs nearly since birth. When we first introduced him to Sebastian, Eric, and Jane, the resident piglets weren’t sure what to make of the newcomer, but now the four are fast friends. These youngsters have grown big enough to be integrated with adult pigs — many of whom are well over 600 pounds — so they will soon join our main pig herd. As they take on this somewhat daunting change, the companions will have each other for courage and support.
A twist of fate gave Nester the chance to be known as an individual, and the compassion he inspired in those who knew him saved his life. Now this sweet, curious pig has a chance to help the millions of others who live unknown and unrecognized on pork farms. As he relishes friendship, fresh air, and the endless fascinations of dirt, Nester is also serving as an apt ambassador for pigs everywhere.