The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pig Tales, Volume 2

All the worry and dread about getting pigs has pretty much been laid to rest. Our pigs are doing very well. They are funny when they snort and squeal at us for their food. If you are walking around in the pasture with a bucket and don't go directly to the feed pan, they follow behind and do this little squealing sound, especially Liberty, our gilt.


We told you about Liberty's mother and the problems the breeder indicated happened to the litter. The sow had four piglets, but two of them were dead. Because of that we thought it would be wise to get a second gilt, just in case there are problems with Liberty's genetics. We had a young gilt lined up that we were going to pick up around the 20th of June, but when I called to set up a day and time, the breeder indicated he needed them to be picked up right away. He had lowered his prices and advertised on Craigslist to move them out in a hurry. We had things lined up for several days and were not able to drop everything to make a fast trip that would take all day, so I called him back and declined. 


In some ways that really simplifies things. We already have these four pigs, and the new gilt would have been at least a month younger. We wondered if she would be able to get through the field fence that surrounds the pasture. Now we won't have to worry about that. 


The pigs enjoy anything we bring them. They usually get some whey with a variety of other things. We are using up some of the older canned goods in our pantry as part of their feed. I appreciate being able to turn this older food into new food via the pigs' stomachs. We fed them the dried corn and sunflowers we grew last summer, along with a variety of garden scraps. They get a little pasta, lentils or beans as well. 

 






The great thing about our pigs is that the vast majority of their feed comes from the pasture. They root around all over the place, even in some of the tall, overgrown areas. 

 









We keep a small water pan for them by the barn in the shade, but the pigs get most of their water from the pond. When I went down to the pond this afternoon to try and catch a catfish, the pigs followed me grunting and squealing. After they realized I was not there to feed them, they started rooting around for something to eat. Liberty took a nap and almost rolled into the pond. That was funny. They eventually wandered off to do what pigs do. Unfortunately, I didn't catch any fish for supper, but I am not a fisherman either. I find it to be extremely boring and I am not a patient person. It probably would have helped if I had the right bait and hooks for the fish I wanted to catch, but that's okay. We had this pond built after we moved here in 2008, then we stocked it with minnows, hybrid blue gill, sun perch and catfish. Neither Frank or I like to fish, so it's something we really don't do. But lately, fish has sounded really good, so I thought I would give it a try. Maybe next time.


We are very pleased with our pigs so far. They have been a great addition to our homestead. The next step will be to butcher one of the barrows when they get big enough. We are really looking forward to seeing how the meat tastes and the amount of lard we can get from one pig.

video

By the way, I have to tell on Frank. One evening while I was in the barn milking, Frank was just going into the pig pasture to feed. The pigs came over to meet him, and I heard the funniest sound. You remember when you were a kid and you tried to make that noise with your nose to sound like a pig? That is what Frank was doing. I laughed out loud so much the goats and dog were looking at me wondering what was wrong with me. When Frank came back in the barn, I asked him if he was snorting at the pigs. He said, "Yes. Don't you do that?" I started laughing again and told him no, I had never done that. Now that was funny.

Until next time - Fern

10 comments:

  1. We used to snort at Grandads pigs and hogs! I've been watching a bbc show on youtube called 'Tales from the Green Valley'. It is 5 people who farm an old place as though it was 1620 for a 12 month period, one of the things they do is use the pigs to open up a new field, after the pigs are on the field for awhile they seem to break up the dirt and get a lot of the roots and brambles out. Pigs are interesting!

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    1. I've read about people using pigs to clear up a field. I think Leigh at 5 Acres & A Dream uses her pigs to help out with her pastures. Thank you for sharing, Kathy.

      Fern

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  2. Fern, and Frank,

    Great pictures of your pigs, I love reading about them. They're growing so nicely. I love that you have this big field, and pond for the pigs to use and run around on. Most people only have only small area for their pigs to enjoy, and to me that's just not enough room. No luck catching fish??? What type of hook/bait are you using. I've found crank bait works great for catching most type fish.
    Hugs,
    Sandy

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    1. We've tried raising feeder pigs in a pen, and it just didn't work well for us. Those pigs were much bigger than these and I was afraid of them.

      Sandy, I am not even remotely close to what you would call a fisherman. In fact, you would call me a non-fisherman. I do good to toss the hook out into the water, so you won't be surprised to find out that I have no idea what crank bait is. I picked up a fishing pole we had in the garage and it had this lure thing with orange feathery stuff on it. Frank laughed and said if I wanted to catch a catfish that I needed to use something dead. I added some mozzarella to the lure and got a few nibbles, but no bites. Maybe next time I can round up something stinky enough for a catfish.

      Fern

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  3. Give me a good book and I will fish 'till the cows come home! I'm glad your pigs are doing well. At what weight do you plan to butcher? Also, I would love to hear more about your pond. My husband and I are thinking of putting in a pond and raising trout, and we have heard that with our clay soil and the use of bentonite (what wells are lined with), we can have a fairly water tight pond. Please write a post about your pond, how big it is, why you have it, what's in it, etc. Thanks

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    1. I would die of boredom if I had to fish that long, Vickie. I just can't do it.

      I'm not sure what weight we will butcher the pigs. It will probably be similar to how we do the chickens. We just eyeball them and when they look meaty enough, we get started.

      We will do a post on the pond sometime soon. There isn't a lot to tell, but we will share what we have done here and on our last homestead. This pond is doing much better than other one did.

      Fern

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  4. I always said I would rather fish than eat. And that's saying a lot!!!!! lol. Anyways, I've been kicking around getting us some pigs. I just worry about them getting out. We don't have a good place for them yet. Maybe put it on the list of things that we need. lol

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    1. Well, SFG, I would much rather eat fish than catch fish.

      Worrying about the pigs getting out was my biggest concern. So far, so good. They can't get through our field fence anymore, so as long as they don't go under it, were good. We have a strand of barbed wire on the ground at the bottom of the field fence to discouraging digging, or any animal that wants to go under. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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  5. This was a totally enjoyable post....I had so hoped you would find that pigs with room are fun and interesting animals. They like people and I wonder if they speculate in a swineish way about our behavior! Are you going to put a wind skirt on your lean to? It looks so good and will give you much more shelter for animals. Ralph says use dynamite to fish!

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    1. You're right, Fiona, they are good animals to have around. They are growing well, come when we call them to dinner, and haven't tried to bite me once. Although Liberty, the gilt, has tried to develop the habit of bumping the back of my leg with her nose when I go in to feed them. She has been discouraged, and seems to be catching on. Even Lance will come up and let me scratch his ears before I feed them. If they are always this easy to care for and the meat is as good as it is reported to be, then this will be a great addition to our homestead.

      We don't plan to add any more to the lean to. The pigs will have their small barn to get into if they need any protection from the cold north winds of winter.

      I don't think Ralph's idea would work for me, Fiona. Besides that, I don't want to harvest all of the fish in the pond at once!

      Fern

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