WHY WE KEEP PIGS

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).

Our beautiful granddaughters
Our beautiful granddaughters

We keep pigs for a variety of reasons and are listed as follows: (in no particular order)

  1. They are another source of protein for our family;
  2. They are great to dig up the paddocks before planting;
  3. 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.

Sow and piglets
Sow and piglets

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. 

Sow feeding piglets
Sow feeding piglets

 

This post is linked to….

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

5 thoughts on “WHY WE KEEP PIGS”

  1. We raised two feeder pigs for the first time this year and we have had a ball watching them grow. They are about 300#’s now and almost ready for butchering. They love when the grand kids come around…the kids run up and down out side the line of the fence and they run with them. They are so much fun…other than the pig muck I get splattered with every time they jump up on the side of the fence when I go to feed them. I now have to carry a garbage can lid with me as a shield.

    Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop!

    1. You are so right Tracy, they are a lot of fun and very interesting. I enjoy watching them interact with each other too, quite fascinating. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Love your pigs… we need to get some. Wish your pictures were bigger so I could see them better. Thanks for linking to Simple Saturdays.

    Hugs from Oklahoma,

    Valerie
    Cottage Making Mommy

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