Friday, September 9, 2011

My How Time Flies!

The third pen is completed, only needs a gate. We filled this pen a little differently. First, we went about halfway up with the logs, then added the biochar and lots of coconut husks, before adding the other layers. We used up the rest of the mound of partially decomposed sawdust, mixed with 10% cinder-soil. That was topped with fresh wood chips from a pile of branches and smaller trees we had here. And then Mike chipped up greenwaste and mixed that with the cindersoil, too. The IMO4 and sea salt were sprinkled into the very top layer which the piggies are helping to mix in as they root around. Nice of them to help, don't you think?

For now, this pen has become a playground for the 5 remaining piglets. All we have to do is prop the gate of their pen open, close off the walkway, and they can run right into pen #3. They sure are fun to watch, chasing each other between the two pens. The end of the walkway has a built-in scale, so every few days Mike will weigh them. As of yesterday, they ranged from 24lbs - 59 lbs.

Of these five, two are gilts that we will keep as replacement breed stock for Hog Heaven. Two others are earmarked for friends starting their own pig-raising ventures. And the fifth, a barrow, is for a special dinner we have planned to thank all those who helped us get started on this path.

Unfortunately, Suey is no longer with us. She had only 8 workable teats so she would never be able to raise a big enough litter to be economical. It was with heavy hearts that we had to make the tough decision to have her butchered. And we are thankful with every delicious bite for all she taught us about pigs. She had great mothering instincts and we are hopeful her daughters will carry on her good example. By the way, she dressed out at 181.5 lbs of succulent Natural-Farmed pork - a freezer-full!

Unfortunate again is that Lola is down to only 3 piglets. She has just about no mothering instincts at all, it seems, so she will join the freezer brigade once her piglets are weaned. These 3 look like they will make it though, and I sure hope they do since two of them are already promised to sell. So far, so good, on that aspect of it all. We have met some interesting people while selling off the first litter of piglets, most with their own pig stories. We are learning a lot, all the time.