Thursday, September 15, 2011

Newest farm additions

  We've been wanting to get pigs for years now.  We've just been afraid we weren't really ready!  This week though, putting fear aside, Eric brought home two weaned pigs (about 50 lbs each.)  We were mostly ready for them.  We have plenty to feed them.  When milk was overabundant this spring, we let the skim milk clabber, then strained this for "cheese" and froze it.  So we have a good reserve in the freezer.  (We would have just fed it straight if we had been ready with the pigs.)  We also have a good supply of local non-GMO grains for them - wheat from neighbors and what looks to be a good surplus of the open-pollinated white corn we're growing.  And then there will be kitchen scraps and garden waste.  And we hope to move them through the sweet potatoes and peanuts to forage for what we miss when we dig these crops.  And then maybe even run them through the oak grove to feast on acorns this fall.  So we think we're ready to feed them right. 
  The big question though, and the cause of our hestitation, was how to contain them.  We have hopes of relatively simple electric fences to rotate them through gardens as they can be useful.  But until we get to know each other better, we wanted a more secure system.  For the first few weeks here, we had plans to put them in a movable cattle panel cage.  Sure enough, the little guys could squeeze right through the holes.  So we lined the cage with some smaller welded wire fencing.  And they seem happy in their new home.  We're also hoping that moving them one to two times each day for starters will help them off to a clean, healthy start on our farm.  We're trying to keep them well fed and familiar to us, in case we should have to call them home sometime with a slop bucket.
  We'll keep you posted on our newest adventure here on the farm.


Ellen Rathbone said...

How're the pigs working out? What breed did you get? I've been contemplating pigs this year, too, now that I have some land. Only four acres, but enough for some chickens (dare we say geese and turkeys, too?) and I'd like to have a couple pigs. Let me know how it goes for you!

Eric & Melissa Brown said...

They're half Poland China, a quarter Berkshire, and I can't really remember the last quarter. Hampshire maybe? They're working out pretty good. They're eating a lot more than I expected, but they're growing a lot faster than I expected, too. It took a day or two of training, but since then electric fencing has worked very well.
Geese sound like a great idea. I've read they're about the only domestic poultry that can grow through the warmer months on just grass. Maybe we can trade!