So, since it is always better to finish on a good note I thought I would start out with the bad. Here are some of the surprises and difficulties we faced raising our first batch of pigs:
- We had everything ready. A spot for the sow and the piggies and a spot for the big 'ol boar to hang out until he was needed. Even though we didn't have running water on the farm yet we had it covered with our 300 gallon water tank that we pulled out from town. Despite all of our planning we lost our boar just a couple days after getting him home. He got out and I'm still not sure what led to the death ... it was pretty sad that it happened literally about a day and a half after he arrived. That was difficulty/bad thing number one.
- Feed cost wise the timing wasn't perfect and we bought our pigs just as commodity prices started to skyrocket. This really wasn't a huge difficulty because the same thing was happening for everyone, but it did make things different than what I had imagined "on paper". Also, I don't think we switched the ration to a lower protein content early enough. Not a huge deal, but it may have saved us a few bucks in the end. That was difficulty/bad thing number two.
- Pigs are ornery! I can't say that I didn't know that going in because I had experienced it on the farm as a child, but I do think I had forgotten how ornery they were. When the water tank got low enough the liked to knock it around like a toy, when the were done eating they liked to flip around the trough like a toy, when I went in to fix something they liked to rub their beautifully muddy noses all over me! That was not really difficulty/bad thing number three ... and now that I think about it... it kind of is funny :)
- They get big quick and lift gets busy. This problem is really a problem that came about because of all that we were trying to do. Our pigs really were ready around November and we should have and could have sold them then. It would have saved feed money and been a good deal all around. But, because of how crazy our life was with the move and the construction it just didn't happen. We knew we had customers interested, but we just didn't make the time to get everything lined up and by the time we did it was deer season.
Deer season in Iowa means some lockers shut down all processing except for deer. That meant we weren't able to secure our processing slot until this past week. Like I said, this was really poor planning, but we have been able to work through it with a great batch of customers ... That was difficulty/bad thing number four.