Students snuggles with hog to gain trust (video)
By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 23, 2013 at 5 p.m.
Updated Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:23 p.m.
It's not unusual for Hunter Dudley to spend a few hours curled up next to his hog, Kisses.
The 11-year-old Cuero Middle School student said gaining the animal's trust through prolonged periods of interaction is part of the job.
"She's a spoiled brat," Hunter said, after feeding the 235-pound half-breed hog a marshmallow. "It's kind of like giving a dog a treat."
Next to Kisses' cage, his sister Kennedy Dudley, 8, who is a third-grader at Nursery Elementary, confidently approached her Duroc swine named Honey Boo Boo.
Kennedy's hog weighs about 175 pounds and is expected to gain more weight before the Victoria Livestock Show competition.
Hunter said he still likes to call his younger sister's hog by another name.
"Reba," Hunter said. "She looks more like a Reba."
Although Hunter attends Cuero Middle School, he's been able to compete in the Victoria Livestock Show as a member of the Nursery 4-H Club for the last three years. Kennedy is also a member of the Nursery 4-H, and their family lives in Victoria County.
Hunter recently took second place at a Cuero pre-stock show with Kisses.
Parents Bryan and Marice Dudley said the livestock show is one of the main reasons they've chosen to keep their family in Victoria.
"Competing in the shows has taught them the value of money," their mother said. "They use everything they earn on baseball and gymnastics competitions."
Each hog costs about $250 as piglets. The average feed bill comes to about $80 per week.
"They don't make back what they put into the raising of the pigs," their father said. "It can get expensive keeping up with it all."
Hunter said he's grateful for the people who come out and bid on his hogs each year.
"I just want them to know how much I appreciate them," Hunter said. "I'd just like to say thanks again to my bidders."