My friend Christian just sent me this story about his first try raising pigs, I loved it so thought I would share it for all of you want to be pig farmers. I too have had the dream.
big pigs in driggs! 2
It has been almost exactly two months since we got the pigs. They have gone from about 20 lbs to an estimated 100 lbs in that time! I just got back from three weeks away, and they seriously doubled in size.
So far so good. The three of them now eat an entire 5 gallon bucket of restaurant food – twice per day, plus 2 gallons of whey poured over the top! They definitely are fat. Their necks and their rear ends jiggle a bit, but the rest of them you can still see muscle tone.
We implemented a little rotational grazing set up, where we move a small section of metal fencing once a week around their pen, so they always have some fresh grass to much on, but it seems that they prefer steak, potatoes, quiche, bread soaked in whey. I cannot understand why?
They still have another 2.5 months to get even bigger, so we expect that they will double in size again, and maybe even a bit more!
Have we bonded? Taiga and I like the pigs quite a bit. They do have character and they are pretty cool, but as time goes on they have lost their cuteness, and they are becoming a bit more ornery with age. I still have some wonderings about the killing day and how that is going to go, but still feel up for it at this point.
The pigs have gotten out twice, and both are kind of funny stories to share. So we were told that you should establish a pig call whenever you feed them so that they associate that call to food. We you tubed pig calling (which you should do as well, it is amazing and hilarious), and decided that we did not want to go with the traditional style of pig call. So whenever we feed them we sing them the “Daylights come and you want to go home. Day-Oh, Me say Day-Oh-oh oh , daylights come and you want to go home. (I think our neighbors think we are crazy, and sometimes we do sing it loud enough for them to hear).
So the first time the pigs got out, the fence must have not gotten latched, because about 20 minutes after I was out there feeding them I walk out just in time to see the third pig sauntering out the gate fence. “Taiga! The pigs are out, come help.” I kind of jog out there and try to herd them back in, but nothing doing. The pigs just go right around me and head for the garden. Taiga goes immediately to the food shed, and grabs a bucket of food and starts singing. They come right to her. She holds the bucket out to them and lead them into the pen, and close them in (and give them a bit of a snack). So that is definitely a must, train them to a food call. (That song seems to work great.)
The second time the pigs escaped, I walked out to the pig pen to feed them and they were all in there doing their pig thing, but I noticed that some of the veggie gardens outside the pen had been dug up in the tell-tale pig fashion. But they were all in the pen. After a bit of investigating, I found that on their rotational grazing fence, they had managed to disconnect the fence from the wooden posts. Simply bent the nails! They were out for a while, digging around, but I guess they like their digs, because then they came back in before we ever even saw them out! Amazing. Must be happy pigs. Choose all-you-can-eat captivity over freedom!
I hope you enjoy these two photos.
Lots of love, your friendly pig farmer,