Friday, May 4, 2012

Living hog wild

I think I can say that we now have all of the different types of animals we wanted to get on this farm. Wait, no, we still want to get turkeys at some point. But for now, we're pretty content with what we have and I'm recognizing the fact that I should probably slow down on the animals. Maybe! One day.

Last month we bought two new pigs that we hope to just raise and slaughter in the fall. I'd eventually like to get a mating pair, but that involves mandatory castration for the males (so the meat doesn't get tainted) and we didn't want to mess with all of that until we figure out if this is something we want to do for sure.

The two female feeder pigs (2-3-month old pigs raised just for slaughter) we bought are Yorkshires, which is probably the most popular type of pig you'll see for meat (and movies! *ahem*). I put them in our old dog kennel (which has served as a chicken coop in the past) and they're tearing up the ground nicely so I can plant some asparagus there. The chickens ate the grass and provided some manure and the pigs are plowing and providing more manure. It should be a great spot for those asparagus plants considering they will spend the next 20-30 years in that one spot.

I finally have a nice schedule going for our meat rabbits, as well. Since it only takes them about 28-30 days to produce a litter, I'm alternating does to breed every month, providing us with about 5-7 new rabbits each month. These, combined with the meat chickens I bought in February means we probably won't need to buy any supermarket meat for a long time, if ever again. That's a goal I'm really happy to have achieved already.

As a side note, Blogger/Blogspot has greatly improved their blogging platform, so I'm able to add pictures and captions much more easily. That means more pics in my blog posts! I've included a bunch at the bottom of this one catching you up on some of the new additions to the farm.
The new chicken coop inside the barn

Inside the chicken coop

Nest boxes built so we can grab eggs without going into the coop

The goats love the old chicken coop
Roy relaxing on the milking stand

Smokey is getting bigger! And muddier!

Raisinet is pregnant! Cinnamon is still too young.

The geese are getting huge. And they poop a lot. No, seriously, it's everywhere


  1. Becoming totally self sufficient for meat is a huge deal man, congratulations. Anything you can do to remove your dependence on the industrialized food industry is a plus.

    I am still focused entirely on work and building up my financial resources so have chosen to get most of my meat from a local farm instead of the much cheaper chicken at Giant. They also got me in touch with a place that raises bison locally which has been an amazing find.

    The question is... I knew you process your own chickens and rabbits... but what about the pigs? Will you tackle that one or just source it out to a local butcher?

  2. I do hope to process the pigs myself. My dad's a butcher and will be able to show me a thing or two (although he lives 1000 miles away) but it will be an experience!

  3. In my understanding, there's no need to castrate if you slaughter right at market weight (~250). Taint doesn't happen until they reach full sexual maturity a bit later on. We did this with our three male piglets from this litter and their meat was delicious despite them having their nuts the whole time.

    Also, I highly recommend buying a bred sow and doing AI from then on out. Boars are a huge resource drain with very little payoff. They are gigantic, aggressive, and they eat a lot, growing huger and huger indefinitely (like lobsters!). And they get aggressive and/or despondent if they don't get to mate regularly, so one sow won't really keep him occupied. It isn't worth keeping them around just to impregnate a sow every so often. Maybe if you had a bunch of sows.

  4. Wow, seriously? I always heard that sexual maturity was earlier than that, but that's good to know. Also good advice about the boars in general. We're already having some troubles with our sows (blog post on that to come!), so I can't imagine dealing with boars like that.