Monday, October 26, 2015

October Pigs

Our pigs aren't quite "ready" yet.  And while we didn't expect them to be ready just yet, we had been noticing that they are taking a little longer to bulk up than Princess did last year.  This is largely because, for the majority of the summer, they have been pasture fed with some organic vegetable farm waste on the side.

black noses from eating the walnuts by the bucket-full 

But now that they've mostly exhausted their quarter acre, we're giving them feed as well as some greens and turnips Jamey grew especially for them in our side garden (taking the place of some of our corn, zucchini, etc.),

the pig garden- greens and turnips to supplement their grainy diet

They're also snacking on copious amounts of chestnuts that have been falling from the two huge chestnut trees in their yard.  Yes, they eat the painfully spiny chestnut armor as well. You should see them take off and run after a newly fallen chestnut.  They love them. And they still get leftovers from the farm occasionally.

Just to see how far they've come, we measured them the other day (the same way we did when we first got them).  Spock, the largest of the four, now weighs 184 pounds (up from 65 when we first got him).  We didn't "weigh" Martha and Blondie when we got them but now they're about 130 and 113. And Little Wesley?  He started out at 16 pounds with us and is now 67 pounds.  When we butchered Princess last year she was 325 pounds.  We have a ways to go.

We'll likely butcher two in early winter and over-winter the other two, possibly letting them graze again next summer.  We've decided that two pigs are a better number for pasturing in the area we have set aside as pig yard.

But here's the thing.  There is some disagreement among the family as to who should get butchered now and who is held off until later.  Yes, we all understand they will ALL be butchered sometime. That's not it. There's pig drama, you see.  The sisters, particularly one of them, are/is downright nasty to Little Wesley and we can't help but wonder if that's partially why he's still so small.  Spock has never been mean to Wesley (that we've seen).  In fact, he's known to stick up for him and has even let him stand under his legs to eat so he's protected from the naughty girls.

Some of us think the girls should be butchered first.  Spock and Wesley could hunker down together in the barn this winter and keep good company as they always had and no one would try to bully Wesley from his meals (see how lovely they get along above).  Well, I imagine you gather which I prefer.  The other grown-up in the family thinks otherwise but his logic is so foreign to me that I don't even remember what it is.

I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, if you want to learn more about pigs and the pig industry, Pig Tales, is an excellent resource I've enjoyed reading.  And, if you ever get a chance to visit Polyface Farms, please do so.  Jamey and I stood watching his pigs for almost an hour this past summer on a little trip we took.  His pigs and his whole operation is inspiring and impressive. Pin It


  1. Your title for this post should've been "Mean Girls." I say there's no room in the pig yard for off with their heads! :)

  2. This is such a charming story -- I enjoy all of your posts and am very grateful you introduced Swagbucks to me!

  3. PS And I'm with you on rewarding Spock with a longer life for his protectiveness of Wesley! :)

  4. We haven't raised pigs but we have raised cows/calf pair, steers and sheep. My advice-- always get rid of the trouble makers first!

  5. Anonymous sounds like she knows what she's talking about. I second getting rid of the trouble makers first. Who needs that stress? I would like to see how Wesley and Spock get along when it's just them. You never know how the dynamics will change when certain variables are removed.


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