Why do we keep pigs???? Apart from the fact that when they are piglets they are extremely cute – but not as cute as our granddaughters!!!! (sorry couldn’t help putting in a photo of them).
We keep pigs for a variety of reasons and are listed as follows: (in no particular order)
- They are another source of protein for our family;
- They are great to dig up the paddocks before planting;
- We sell them to help pay our bills.
No 1 expanded: We have our own cattle that we butcher for ourselves, and they are a Highland/Jersey cross. We also endeavour to have meat rabbits and chickens for variety. But another source is pork. There is such a variety of things that you can do with pork and we especially like bacon. We have just made our own bacon and it’s in the freezer. I want to can it shortly. I especially like pork spareribs done in my multicooker and will post a recipe on that later.
No 2 expanded: My husband uses the pigs to dig up certain areas in our paddocks before planting vegetables or crops. Last year they dug up our pumpkin patch for us and our other vegetable patches. We don’t keep our pigs in small pig pens as we like them to graze naturally on pasture, we do supplement their feeding with wheat or whatever grain or hay that we have on hand. Pigs actually eat woody weeds that no other stock will and when you have them digging up they are aerating and fertilising the ground for your next crop. Minimal soil preparation is needed then to create a good seed bed (information compliments of my husband). At the moment the piglets get milk every day (from our dairy cow) mixed with wheat. So not only are they doing us a favour but they are getting fed at the same time.
No 3 expanded: At the moment we have 23 piglets running around and when they escape their fenced off area my husband calls them the tribe of Israel. When they are little, getting out isn’t really a problem but as they get older they escape the confines of their yard and dig holes in our nice lawn. We usually keep them in a roadside paddock and as we live on quite a major highway, we get people just dropping in wanting to buy them. Of course this is great and we have never advertised in any papers to get rid of them. We will put an A-frame out the front this year as we have quite a few to sell off.
So pigs are very versatile and actually really quite fascinating to watch. Last year one of our sows was due to farrow and the boar was pulling tufts of grass out and placing them behind her as she lay down. We aren’t quite sure what this was all about because she eventually got up and walked off and didn’t farrow for a couple more days. Maybe the boar had the nesting thing happening instead???!!!
So if you are thinking of keeping pigs (we have heaps and could sell you 1 or 23) we would really recommend it. We have a mixture of Large Blacks and Berkshire and we do find that the heritage breeds have a better mothering temperament and handle the free range lifestyle better than the commercial breeds, and they also taste better.
One point to note when keeping pigs is that you need quite good fencing. My husband keeps them in with electric fencing tape and we hardly ever have them on our nice lawn. He is my hero!!! I no longer have to run outside in my slippers with the kids to chase piglets. Sometimes when you let the children chase them by themselves they can end up on the road, and I am sure you can image this to be a bit of a circus.
If you have pigs and have any advice or just humorous stories please let me know, I love a good laugh and we can always learn new ideas and way of doing things.
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