Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Learning From Pigs, And More...

In yesterdays post I focused on some of the more difficult aspects of raising our first batch of Stoneyfield Farm pigs. Today I wanted to take a look at some of the better things that we learned/did/experienced. Overall this first batch of hogs was a pretty good experience all the way through finishing them out and even the sales (we still have two that we could market if you are interested). And, I can easily say that we learned A LOT! Here is just a small sampling of the good things and what we did right:
  1. All though these crossbred pigs may not have been my first choice we did luck out in that we were able to find Tamworth x Hampshire pigs close to home. I was really excited to get the heritage Tamworth into this pigs and I was thrilled with the way they finished ... well filled out, but longer and leaner like a Tamworth. Now if I could just find some purebred Tamworths (gilts and a boar) close by then I would be set!

  2. Raising hogs out on dirt and in the grass really does work. With the use of a single strand of electric we were able to effectively strip graze our pigs from time to time and allow the access to all kinds of good things. They proved to be very hardy as long as they had shelter and made it through the coldest days (-20ºF) without any problems. Once our exterior fencing is all in place I look forward to really getting them out on the farm.

  3. Thankfully we were able to find customers who were interested in our pork. Hopefully we can continue to work with them in the future and build on a customer base in our own area. I am excited to know that the pork is going from our local beginning farm to local families that we already know and those I'm sure that we will get to know. To me that just seems like a great system.

  4. I think the biggest thing that we learned from these pigs though is that if you let them be pigs they are pretty good at being pigs. We made sure they had shelter, food, and clean water ... they made sure they grew and stayed happy (and they did seem pretty happy).

  5. Finally, if I were going to be completely honest I would have to say that raising our pigs outside is probably the one thing we have done best since we begun. We had the benefit of starting out with a very few and having things set up for them when they got here. Like I said, we made sure they had what the needed and we let them grow. That isn't to say that there wasn't problems or setbacks (see yesterdays post), but all in all I really enjoyed raising pigs on a small scale.
Those are some of the good things. Our biggest question now is where do we go from here. We have kept back two gilts that we could use for breeding stock. They were the best two of the bunch that seemed that have the best traits we were looking for (consistent gain, good health, intelligence, and more). But, on the other hand they are not purebred and from time to time I really buy into the benefits of purebreds. Also, I'm not sold on the Hampshire in their blood...

So, that is all to say that if you are interested in a half (or splitting a half with someone else) just let us know and we will set up a processing date :)

1 comment:

Steven said...

Our friends as have a sign on their wall for a purebred pair of tamworths. It might not be worth the drive but they sound cheap a 500 bucks! That's less than 50 cents a pound.

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