Monday, January 7, 2013

To market, to market to buy a fat pig . . .

Today the pigs arrived!  We have been getting organic feed to Cindy, so we paid a lower price for them since she didn't have to feed them.   She castrated the males and delivered all twelve of them to us for free, so we are happy.  There are two females that will be good for breeding - Cindy pointed out that they both have 14 teats to feed large litters, which of course means they are longer, and they have good straight backs.  We will take her word for it - Steve and I don't know how to assess future breeding stock.  They will be ready to breed in about seven months.

The rest of them will be butchered, first one most likely by the end of March, middle of April at the latest.  There is a much faster return on investment with pigs than there is with beef, whether for dairy or for meat. 

These pigs are Berkshires, the breed requested by the restaurant.  It was dumb luck that Cindy mentioned at the market that her brood sow had just given birth to a huge litter of pigs right after the restauranteur's request.  When I asked what kind, she said, "Berkshires."  As I said, that was good luck.  I took as many as she would sell us.

Steve still isn't quite done with the shed.  He has been putting in a lot of hours.  A couple (Tina & Scott) who want dibs on some pork came out and helped on Sunday, and Scott came back out this morning.  Weather is supposed to turn bad later this week so their help was very welcome.  Hopefully Steve will get the roof on and make it tight by tomorrow at latest.  I am passing on doing any heavy labor, due to my bad shoulder and the new knee.  I just stay away from the project, because I know if I went out there, I would be pitching in.

The pigs are cute little things.  Cindy and her husband said they get pretty ugly by the time they are ready for the butcher, so it is a little easier to watch them go.  They have named a few of them, but I think we will forgo the names.  I still haven't butchered one chicken, and I don't think I ever will.  I am far too close to them.  I just let them live out their normal lives, or the foxes or the coyotes or the hawks get them.  I cannot get into that mind set with these pigs!  They are an investment on which both Steve and I need to earn a return.

Here are pictures of the building crew and the pigs. 

Steve & Scott

The shed in their pasture, about half done

Cindy trying to convince the pigs to leave the trailer.

At last, they come spilling out.

Aren't they cute?

Pigs are not herd animals.  They are taking their time!

A few more are on their way to the pen.

A cow/pig kiss.

Monkey see, monkey do.  Another kiss!

Getting to know their new surroundings.

At last, something to do with all of that whey!

Three batches of whey means plenty more!

Feeling at home!!

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