we’ve had pigs on our farm since late spring but i haven’t really wrote anything about raising pigs or as i like to refer to them as raising fat satans. yes they look kind of cute and chunky but they are terrorizing beasts from below that have overstayed their welcome. we’ll get to that in a minute. lets start from the beginning.
we got the pigs when they were just tiny little mc riblets from a farm in west michigan. they were so cute and little that we could fit them all in the back of a truck bed. we started off by raising them in a sheep stall but within just a few short weeks they were ready for bigger pastures. i grew up raising 4 h pigs mostly due to the help of my dad but i did manage to retain some knowledge from those under appreciated years (and efforts) (thanks craig). one year we kept the pigs in a smaller pen and supplemented their feed with subway shop waste. that led to some overweight flabby pigs. over the years the pens got bigger and the pigs got leaner and the bacon got better. we gave our pigs about a 30 foot run for them to wander around in at our house.
within about two weeks of putting them in their own pasture it was morphed in to one big giant poo poo mud pit. they seriously tore that yard up. i guess that is what they are supposed to do but i was surprised how little time it actually took them to create tornado like effects on the farm. we read that if you feed them sweeter table scraps you will be able to taste hints of it in their meat. so this year we gave them all the rotten tomatoes they could eat and any leftover table scraps (with the exception of pork products…. couldn’t go there). they grew over the summer into massive monstrosities of wandering bacon. remember that time i wanted to go to brunch? picture 1,000 pounds of these dudes just wandering around.
the funniest part? is when you try to sneak in through their pasture to get to the sheep and they sense you. they will literally hunt you down. if you are at the far end they will charge you and start gnawing on the toes of your boots. at first it tickles and then they really get into it. one time they ripped a pant leg on me. that is when i was convinced they were trying to take me down and make me their feed supplement. any animal that i am convinced wants to eat me.. i will eat it. only the strong survive.
as their d day looms closer we are giving them a week of pampering. extra scraps, more mud and maybe even a head pat or two. the grim reaper is coming on november 1 to do a no stress kill on the farm. as much as these bungholes piss me off i do believe in the ethical treatment (and slaughter) of animals. when you load animals on to a trailer it stresses them out (especially if they have never been on one). usually it will take a day or two before they get slaughtered and they usually know something is up. this causes their adrenaline to pump and lactic acid to break down the good stuff usually resulting in drier tougher meat. read more here. once the pigs are slaughtered on the farm they are going to be taken to byron center meats and each member of joe’s family (including us) get a freezer full of pork. this will be our second alboppen raised animal to fill our freezer (chickens were first).
if you are thinking about getting pigs awesome. but let me warn you about the following.
1.) they will get out. it is just a matter of when and how far they will make it. once they get a taste of freedom they will spend the rest of their lives trying to find it again
2.) wherever you make their home, prepare for it to be turned into a poo poo mud pit. pigs are very smart and they do not sweat so they need mud to roll around in to keep cool. they are very prone to heat stroke so make sure they have enough room to wallow.
3.) towards the end of their lives they will go through a ton of feed and water. we have a five gallon drum of water that we fill every two days and every day when the temps were above 75. they are work.
4.) just get sheep.