Thursday, September 29, 2011

that time of year again....

I decided that on this farm, pork is a winter activity. PIgs are traditionally raised through the summer into fall, which is why late autumn is called Hog Season. But with sheepdog training, fall breeding, horse training, and everything else I do through the summer: I like the calm ease of a winter pig. I have more time and attention for it, and the cold weather keeps down the smell. Winter is also not the pigs favorite time either, so there's no escaping into the three-feet of ice and snow when you've got a warm, dry, barn with the occasional heat lamp and hay to burrow into.

Keeping my eye open for a pig or two!

16 Comments:

Blogger Mindy said...

Totally agree with your methodology, Jenna. I raised hogs over the summer this year and everyone (me, the hogs) was uncomfortable. Plus shoats are cheaper in the winter (no 4-H or other farmers to compete with). Good luck - starting a breeding program of large blacks and tamworths this year and wish I had pigs now to sell you.

September 29, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger L-Marie said...

I love pigs, they are wonderful little creatures. It can be hard not to get attached to them before slaughter time.

When I get our farm set up, I have decided that I will raise 2 pigs. I have worked out the math and I believe that with 2, I can have one for myself and sell the other one. If I am correct in my calculations, selling the second one should pay for the first.

Jenna, have you given any thought to doing something similar with your animals?

September 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I've worked with Amish families before and their slaughter time is in late February or early March. Oh! Fresh ham is heaven!

September 29, 2011 at 10:49 AM  
OpenID barntalkblog said...

I hope you strike lucky and find a pig! I personally dislike being close to live pigs, I've never exactly liked them, but if you can do it, all the more power to you!

-Autumn

September 29, 2011 at 10:55 AM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

Last summer we raised two pigs as first-timers. It was a wonderful experience (our summers are not as hot as others'). The meat was hands-down fantastic! This summer we have four pigs who are just about ready for "freezer camp". I hadn't thought about raising them over winter, and I can see how it would work better for some people (like you, with very busy summer and fall schedules). For us doing it in summer means we don't need a proper shelter (they are in 1/2 acre of woodland and even though we built them a little rain shelter they prefer the trees). We have no livestock that overwinter so it keeps the cold-weather chores down. You, otoh, have a lovely little barn and other mouths that need feeding. Good idea!

September 29, 2011 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Chance said...

Hey -- sounds like a plan. There are some piglets in Brattleboro for sale, more in November. I am attaching the craigslist posting but in case it doesn't work, go to Vermont craigslist, farm and garden section and search on piglets. Personally, I have always thought the money was in having one sow and piglet sales (keep a couple for yourself). If it is a Tamworth, people will knock down your door to get the piglets. Here's the link

http://burlington.craigslist.org/grd/2589225424.html

September 29, 2011 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Your thinking makes sense to me! Best of luck finding some suitable swine.

September 29, 2011 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger CarolG said...

A couple of friends of mine always liked to buy three piglets at a time. They said selling one would pay for the purchase price and all of the feed and the second one would pay for the butchering costs of the third and best pig.

September 29, 2011 at 8:57 PM  
OpenID kindsofhoney said...

That's a thought! Curious to know what breeds you're interested in? (Yikes, I wrote "varieties" first - clearly spending too much time in vegetable gardens and not enough time around livestock lately.)

Gotta say, wish I lived closer. Your workshops look like great fun.

September 30, 2011 at 12:19 AM  
OpenID Kerrick said...

I'm remembering, but can't find to link, a video of Sepp Holzer keeping pigs in winter in the mountains in northern Germany and using their natural rooting behavior to serve as a snowplow.

September 30, 2011 at 1:12 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Got a lead on a litter of Yorkshires being born in 6 weeks, and a local heritage breeder who has berkshires and tamworth crosses. Waiting to see who has the best prices/beasts.

September 30, 2011 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Make sure you keep an eye out for pig rustlers!

http://tinyurl.com/6hf6g83

Next time you cook some bacon in your kitchen, just think about the journey it might have been on before ending up on the frying pan.
A ‘well-organised’ pig theft operation may be why more than 1,000 hogs have been stolen from Midwest farms in the past few weeks, officials say.
Many thefts are happening at large animal confinement operations in Iowa and Minnesota, with pigs hauled off by the hundreds in trucks.

September 30, 2011 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Reason's Whore said...

Berk/Tam crosses are reputed to give excellent meat. I'm looking at some myself.

October 1, 2011 at 2:06 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

@Michael: if they were taken from large CAFO farms, the term might better be 'rescued' than 'rustled'.

October 1, 2011 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Yeah, I'm guessing well-organized animal activists.

Or, it could be somebody who's figured out how to make money rustling pigs, which would more fiscally rewarding as a large haul from a CAFO than hitting a little one- to two-pig farm like yours.

October 1, 2011 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Tony Colella said...

Jenna, the winter pig project is one that interests me a good deal and I believe is one, using your approach, that so many can use in small spaces.

I would encourage you to blog/document/book more details (please) with photos to show just how little space it takes and the work involved.

The winter months are slow times for most of us and from what I have read of your pig detailings, there was littel extra work involved (because of your setup) and a good deal of meat for it.

Tony in Asheville

October 1, 2011 at 11:31 PM  

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