Tag Archives: happy pigs

Wordless Wednesday: Pigfect

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Wordless Wednesday: Hog Felfies

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I’ve Gone Hog Wild

My dream of being a real pig farmer is slowly coming true. Tomorrow I get to pick up my second load of hogs to finish, for a grand total of 18. As many of my longtime readers know, raising hogs has been quite the journey.

My new pig pen is two pens like this.

My new pig pen is two pens like this.

I had to ease my Parents into the idea of raising hogs again. I did it as a child in 4-H for many, many years. I was too petite to raise steer, I wouldn’t be caught dead with a lamb or goat, so hogs it was! I have many fond memories of raising and showing my hogs and the sense of pride I had providing meat for my family, still makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I built these pens by throwing brunch! I invited my friends to come build fence as I plied them with booze. If you look on the right you'll notice our measuring is just a WHISPER off after brunch. LOL

I built these pens by throwing brunch! I invited my friends to come build fence as I plied them with booze. If you look on the right you’ll notice our measuring is just a WHISPER off after brunch. LOL

As a child, my Dad raised hogs. Back then, the ranch was more of a farm, complete with dairy cows and grain crops. The leftover milk from the dairy would be combined with the grain from the fields for the hog feed. My Dad swears the pork was different back then, and I believed him. I knew the key to raising hogs again would be producing a pork product that was like Dad remembered.

See the deer in the pipe? Know what else these old, junked pipes would be good for? Yep! A pig house!

See the deer in the pipe? Know what else these old, junked pipes would be good for? Yep! A pig house!

I knew that if I raised heritage hogs, and tweaked their diet just a whisper, I could create some pork like my Dad remembered. I managed to convince my Parents into letting me get a couple heritage hogs, just to see. Well, that turned into five hogs and Adult 4-H. And that turned into me quitting my full-time job in town and ten hogs. Now we are here.

Heritage red wattle hogs eating cookies out of the new feeder my family built.

Heritage red wattle hogs eating cookies out of the new feeder my family built.

When I started pestering my Parents about getting hogs again, I never thought I would get to where I am now and where I am thinking of going. I didn’t plan on enjoying hogs so much. I didn’t plan on the meat being so very different and very good. I have quickly accepted the fact that there is no going back now, I like pigs too much!

Yes, I stole the rats with horn's house to make an upcycled pig house! Ingenious and 'sustainable'.

Yes, I stole the rats with horn’s house to make an upcycled pig house! Ingenious and ‘sustainable’.

Since I have doubled in size every year (and don’t plan on stopping!), I needed a new pig pen. The old pen I was using was older than I am by several decades and was not doing a good job of keeping the pigs where they needed to be. This caused several problems when the pigs ate my Dad’s cable to his TV, and my Mom’s flower bed. However, moving my pen meant drilling a well since I did not have a dependable water source and that was just not something I could afford. But then something magical happened. 

In an effort to be 'sustainable' this pig feeder is made out of old boards from out barn that blew down!

In an effort to be ‘sustainable’ we made this pig feeder out of old boards from our barn that blew down!

The most important thing to me, as I grow, is to be “sustainable”. Yes, I know that is an ag buzz word, but for, me it means doing this project in a way that meets my needs the best way it can. It means, not getting a loan from the bank (I learned from my student loan!), it means recycling materials when I can (but not super old materials that break all the time, so I waste all my time fixing them), it means doing things just a whisper different (outside the box is good!).

Part of thinking outside the box is getting free labor from my friend's kids.

Part of thinking outside the box is getting free labor from my friend’s kids (Just kidding, kinda!).

I am so excited to have this opportunity to do my own thing. I love working and being with the cattle, but I love having some independence on the ranch. My Mom made sure to instill in me growing up two “rules”: 1) always have financial independence and 2) develop as many marketable skills as you can. I feel like my pig operation is fulfilling both those “rules” and providing food for my family and friends – it feels so good!

If you get a moment please check out these awesome “real pig farmers”. Remember every farmer does what they think is best for their land and pigs. I urge you to ask them questions – the why’s and how’s are so important!

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Forking Pork

“Forking” is a trick I discovered from having Silly the teacup pig. I wanted to know if it worked on all pigs, not just pets. “Forking” is just light pokes with a fork, any fork! Pigs can’t even handle it. They stop whatever they are doing and often “flop” over. It’s a great skill to have when trying to vaccinate your pig, or trim it’s hooves, or put her harness on.

 

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Cookies?

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April 2, 2014 · 7:39 pm

Update: Piggies

I’ve realized it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a pig update. I’m sorry!!!! Let me fill you in.
We are still having problems with Harry Houdini pig, oops, I mean Char. When Char was a wee piglet he taught himself to escape the pig pen. He’d go hang out with my Dad and get treats. It was funny and cute to me for a long time until I started tripping in his holes. And then Dad started tripping in his holes. Now we are trying to fix this problem.

Char has been escaping his pen daily. I thought it was funny until I was taking a plate of prime rib home and tripped in one of his rooting holes. The prime rib was ok, but the au jus was a goner.

This is what Char escaping his pen looks like. I thought it was funny until I was taking a plate of prime rib home at night and tripped in one of his rooting holes. The prime rib was ok, but the au jus was a goner. If you know me, you know how serious I am about my au jus.

Dad got into his pole collection for us....

Dad got into his pole collection for us….

And added those pole around the bottom of the pen so Char couldn't slip under the fence.

And added those poles around the bottom of the pen so Char couldn’t slip under the fence.

This is what a sad pig looks like when he figures out he can't escape!

This is what a sad pig looks like when he figures out he can’t escape!

We have cotinued cooking slop for the pigs, I'm really getting it down!

We have continued cooking slop for the pigs, I’m really getting it down!

Sam from the Cardinal Rules blog had the brilliant idea of putting a lid on the slop as it cooks, therefore cutting my cooking time!

Sam from the Cardinal Rules blog had the brilliant idea of putting a lid on the slop as it cooks, therefore cutting my cooking time!

I'm saving seeds from the pumpkins and plan on planting them every where on both ranches! (Don't tell my Dad I plan on planting them on the edges of his hay fields!)

I’m saving seeds from the pumpkins and plan on planting them everywhere on both ranches, for next year’s pigs! (Don’t tell my Dad I plan on planting them on the edges of his hay fields!)

I had one of my twitter friends tell me about a study they did where they gave pigs beer to see if it would lower their stress levels. Pigs like beer!

I had one of my twitter friends tell me about a study they did where they gave pigs beer to see if it would lower their stress levels. Pigs like beer!

Like I mentioned before, I was able to get these pigs by promising that I would pay for and take care of everything and my parents would get a freezer full of pork out of the deal. Well, it hasn’t really worked out like that. It’s now adult 4-H/Parent’s having fun. They drove to Orland to buy us cheaper/better slop cooking materials. So nice of them!

Like I mentioned before, I was able to get these pigs by promising that I would pay for and take care of everything and my parents would get a freezer full of pork out of the deal. Well, it hasn’t really worked out like that. It’s now adult 4-H/Parent’s having fun. They drove to Orland to buy us cheaper/better slop cooking materials. So nice of them!

And the last pig pen improvement is a concrete feeding station!!!  My parents surprised me when I got home from work - isn't it awesome!?

And the last pig pen improvement is a concrete feeding station!!! My parents surprised me when I got home from work – isn’t it awesome!?

Happy pigs!

Happy pigs!

And there you have our latest pig update. They are fat and happy, and getting more so everyday!

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