View Full Version : Pigs...
Mar. 6, 2012, 12:00 AM
Has anyone but me lost their mind and decided to branch out in the swine direction? I have 5 at the moment - 2 Berkshire, 2 Large Black, and a Mulefoot. I plan to breed a few litters, and have some local chefs very interested in pastured pork. The horses have been all over the map - some fascinated, some utterly horrified.
They drive me nuts with destructive powers that rival a labrador puppy, but are sweet and fun to be around. My son has joined the swine club for 4H - possibly more motivated by profit potential than a genuine love of pigs, but it beats a video game..... I send my first one, the neutered male Berkshire, to be processed this week. My thoughts are that if he was meant to be a meat animal, at least I know what he ate, and know that he was happy and had company in a pleasant environment. I think I'll be ok with it... we will see! The rest are supposed to be my foundation breeding stock of " 'eirloom 'ogs"......
Mar. 6, 2012, 02:11 AM
I am presently in the barn (stopped in house for pee break and email check and COTH check LOL) sleeping on pig watch with my son's Duroc gilt. We also raise Berkshires and this is our 4th year. We show, breed, and eat them :)
Welcome to the pork side :) I love love love our pigs.. did I say I love them?
Oh yes I LUFF my piggies!
The horses get used to them :)
I couldn't eat our first one for a good 6 months.. then one day those pork chops smelled really really good.
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:12 AM
Our riding school raised three pigs for the pot in a pen right by the door to the barn.
Yep, horses got used to them, most of them.:lol:
To clean the pigpen, the pigs were herded into the barn aisle.
While the pigs had their fun there, horses in their stalls were doing airs above the ground.
It was a free for all, until the pig pen was cleaned and the pigs put back and sanity was restored.
Every new set of piglets, we got to let them out and play with them.
They were wonderful little pigs and would you know, cuddly too.:cool:
Once they became big, they seemed to change into less agreeable critters, more opinionated and a bit dangerous if they wanted to throw their weight around.
Most every 4Her here starts with pigs, before moving to other livestock.
I think after they learn to handle a pig and themselves in that situation of pig raiser and handler, there is not much life can throw at them to surprise them.
Mostly, they learn you have to control yourself, before you can control a pig, because getting mad at them is useless.;)
Pigs are a force of nature, you have to be smarter than they are.
We have feral hogs here and the little football sized ones are so cute.
Too bad they grow up.
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:25 AM
I raised pigs to butcher for a couple years. The first one went without a hitch. She was a dull pig. But the second one...
She was hysterical. My GSD at the time loved her. She was so smart and clever. The first time she got in with the horses I damn near died of laughter.
I had a big gelding that ran everything out of the pasture, dogs, cats, turkeys, neighbors cattle, people etc. He charged after her but when she didn't take notice and run away from him, the look on his face was priceless. I'll never forget it!
Unfortunately, when it came to butcher her it was awful for me. I cried and sobbed when we dropped her off. Vowed never to it again. I had no trouble eating her but the betrayal still haunts me.
To the MAX
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:38 AM
We live on a hog farm....so there's around 2800 here. I've never been in the barn by my SO has introduced me to one of their boars. Holy heck that thing is big! He's a sweetie though and loves my SO cause he lets him get at the ladies! :lol:
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:45 AM
No, you are not alone in your venture. I have 8 feeders (Red Wattle) reserved for summertime from a breeder in Michigan as well as one breeding animal. I've got to find a breeding quality animal of another bloodline for the gilt/shoat I'll be getting from this place...they are critically endangered pigs...so not easy to find. I have had a lot of requests for pastured pork to go along with our poultry, so we're going to give it a try.
Red Wattle are an old fashioned yet very productive pig with big litters that do well in outdoor situations. They will have more marbling and fat than the typical super lean pork and it's generally thought of as the best pork by some gourmet chefs. They also have enough fat to render lard if you wish...something almost not done anymore but is making a comeback as people realize the "fat" from animal sources is not "bad" for people like they once believed it to be.
We bought a pig from a local farmer this year to put in our freezer and it was absolutely the best pork I've ever eaten. It's hard to imagine any pork tasting better than that but the Red Wattles are supposed to be outstanding. I guess i"ll find out this Fall. :-)
Mar. 6, 2012, 08:49 AM
A Mulefoot!! Count me jealous!
I have American Guinea Hogs - love them!!
with the commercial food economy the way it's going, I'm actively diversifying my farm, and the pigs are just one piece of the process.
Mar. 6, 2012, 09:47 AM
Another pig person here.
Mar. 6, 2012, 03:15 PM
We have red wattle/Tamworth crosses. There's a guy in Eastern who raises and sells red wattles.
Forces of nature is right, yes the piglets are beyond cute but by the time they hit over 300 they do cop a 'tude and it gets a whole lot easier to make sausages out of them.
We're trying to make money with ours and so far we aren't penciling out too well. You have to start out with heavy enough/specially designed equipment or you'll just be replacing it over and over. They make the horses look like softies destruction-wise, even the pony.
Mar. 6, 2012, 06:27 PM
Another pig person here.
Do you eat them?
Mar. 6, 2012, 07:37 PM
I've only had one that we raised from a piglet to a monster meat hog. She was THE BOMB. If we hadn't moved, we would have bred her and kept her forever. She was definitely more a pet, though she still ended up in the freezer. ;) She knew how to sit and lay down on command and she loved playing in her kiddie pool whenever someone came to visit to show off. She was also a great garbage disposal for any rotten food in our garden.
I really, really want another one. But that's definitely waiting until we get our own place to keep it. I don't think the landlord would like a pig, however friendly, rooting up the yard. :lol:
ETA: Because I have no life, I dug up pictures of her tricks.
Barky, sit. (http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/36432_529048685745_2171746_n.jpg)
Barky, lay down. (http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/31762_527739070225_71400625_31150778_1163465_n.jpg ) (She loved playing with the baling twine. (http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/31762_527739065235_71400625_31150777_6411790_n.jpg ))
Mar. 6, 2012, 09:30 PM
My husband and I raise show pigs. We usually have between 15-20 gilts/ sows bred to farrow at different times throughout the year. We do sell some for meat directly, but the majority of our customers are FFA/ 4-H kids. We do have a registered Yorkshire boar and use a large amount of shipped semen as well. We have Durocs, Yorkshires, Berkshires, and crossbreds.
I was a person who never wanted to breed anything, hence I have geldings, BUT I really enjoy the pigs. Farrowing litters is like Christmas to me all year round. I've learned not to get too attached because we have lost gilts and sows in farrowing or to injury. I am surprised I enjoy it as much as I do.
As far as our pigs going for meat, I know that they have a great life here with us and when it comes for shipping, they have one bad day. Because of serving on a show committee for our state, we get first hand experience with processing them so I know and understand that part of it well and am comfortable with it.
That is not to say we don't have some "special" pigs, who will never leave. We do have a Facebook page for our farm- under KCB Stock Farm.
Mar. 6, 2012, 09:38 PM
We have pet potbellies I was deathly afraid at first... Now I will at least give them a good scratch
Mar. 6, 2012, 10:31 PM
Now that I have 11 new durocs in the crate !!!! :)
I am back to add...
I was terrified of the first sows and boars I met, and very against pigs, when my husband broached the subject.. this was *supposed* to be a starter project until they could get into steers.. 4 year later and they are taking over the barn.
I haven't had issues with aggression, I have had ones that are more "high strung" and others that are very laid back, even with piglets underfoot. You need to be mindful of how you work around them, and handle them, but that is with any species that can hurt you ;). They sure are like letting a pack of turbo charged, Sherman tank toddlers, in your barn. Very intelligent, into everything and lot faster then you think they are. They're hard on your barn, fencing and can do the most amazing rota tilling in the yard/field pasture.. and ah even cement floors if they find one tiny weak spot !!!!!!!!! They are as hilarious as they are infuriating, so it balances out :D
There is a pretty good forum on showpig.com to get you started.