Friday, November 22, 2013

Natural Farmed Pigs For Sale

We have six meat pigs, now weighing in around 170 pounds, so they are just about ready to become some of the most delicious pork you have ever tasted!  In two weeks they should reach between 180-200 pounds. 

Cost will be $5/pound, live weight.  Kulana, in Hilo, charges .56/pound slaughter fee, with an $84 minimum; the break-even point is 180 pounds which is why we aim for that weight.  However, if you like your pig a little on the smaller side, they are ready go at any time now. 
We will transport the pigs to Kulana and you will pick up from there.  You can do the butchering yourself or arrange with Kulana to do that for you - but let us know which way you want to go with that so we can fill out the proper forms when we drop off the pigs.  If a whole pig is too much for you, it's okay to order a half.  Of course, if you prefer to pick up your pig live from our farm in Pahoa, that works, too.

These piggies have been raised expressly using Korean Natural Farming methods.  They will be succulent prime pork through and through.   Fed exclusively on organic non-gmo feed from Scratch & Peck Feeds and organic greens, sugarcane, and other goodies from our farm, they have a good and happy life with lots of love, pets, and attention.  They will be humanely dispatched.

If you are local on the Big Island and have an interest in purchasing some of the wonderful pork from our farm, get in touch with us.  We only have six pigs to sell at this time, so get your order in now!  Email

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crunching Numbers

To keep us occupied while waiting for Spot's litter to arrive, we've been going over some of the basic costs of raising the previous batch of pigs to butchering size. Here's what we've come up with.

In the last 2-1/2 months, we've saved 42 pounds of feed by utilizing the feedcrops we're growing: sugarcane & the protein plants (mulberry, moringa, and cassava leaves). In two more weeks, these pigs will be six months old and weigh between 180-200 pounds, and they will sell for $5 per pound, live-weight.

When you consider the total amount of organic non-gmo feed we've given them over their 4-1/2 months since weaning, it comes to $3.00/pound, which will leave us with $2.00/pound profit to offset other costs of raising them, such as tools & equipment, gas to pick up the feed from the docks, and such like.

So basically, we're making about $12 a day on this little venture, or $2 a day per pig.

It'll take many, many years to pay off the costs of infrastructure this way. And of course, all our labor is free because, face it, farming is pretty much a labor of love. You must love what you're doing to make this lifestyle worthwhile - and we do.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Big Mama's Small Litter

Big Mama had an easy delivery on Halloween night, the last night of October.  But there were only four piglets in this litter, all females.

In trying to figure out why the litter was so small, a few things have come to mind.  One, Big Mama got sick and was off her feed at weaning time for the previous litter.  Since sows come into heat only 3-5 days after weaning, right when she was feeling poorly and not eating, her body probably went into starvation mode and didn't produce very many eggs at breeding time.

Big Mama in foreground, very pregnant and feeling just fine.

Another possibility is that we didn't catch her at the exact right time.  A sow's heat lasts only 36 hours, and we have to get her bred twice (12 hours apart) during that time to ensure a good "take".  The signs of heat can be subtle as a sow gets older, so it can be hard to catch her early enough for the second round to do any good.

We'll give Big Mama one more chance to provide a good-sized litter.  And hopefully Spot will come through with another big batch like her last one, to help off-set the costs of her sister's small litter.

All four piglets are healthy and growing fast, as one would expect with such an abundant milk supply!  They are such cute little things and very friendly.

Only one day old, already curious.

PS: The farm book is now available in .pdf form, as well as paperback.  This should make it easier for our international readers to obtain a copy.  See the links at the left to order your copy today.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Feed Crops & What we Feed Our Pigs

Not much to report for September. I was injured in a car crash so not a lot extra got done around the farm besides the daily animal chores. But everything kept growing during all that time, of course!

Now things are beginning to happen again. Lots more clearing out the jungle that had regrown out back, to make room for extending the rows in our "protein field" : moringa, mulberry, and cassava. The leaves of each of these plants are very high in balanced amino acids, thus making them excellent feed crops. We have more sugarcane ready to plant, too.

Big Mama & Spot are both pregnant and due soon. Big Mama's next litter is due at the end of this month, just in time for Halloween. Spot is due mid-November.

The six young ones from Spot's previous litter weigh between 120-125 pounds each. They now occupy two of the pens, as seen in the second photo below, with three pigs in each pen. These will be butchered sometime in December when they reach 180 pounds.

We are in the process of putting up bird netting over all the open spaces of the piggery. Those greedy wild doves and pigeons are eating far more than we can afford to lose!

There have been several farm tours coming through these past months. In the photo above, Mike is telling a group of college students about the sugarcane, cassava, and mulberries we use for part of the pigs' diet. The pigs are also currently getting moringa leaves (dried; they don't seem to like it fresh - too spicy, maybe) mixed with their organic non-gmo feed, fermented together with IMO4, and small amounts of OHN (Oriental Herbal Nutrient), LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria), FAA (Fish Amino Acid), & FPJ (Fermented Plant Juice). These last are added along with a bit of water to nicely moisten the whole mixture. It gets covered loosely with a paper feed sack, and then ferments for 12 hours. Sometimes the piggies get eggs, kabocha, or guava as an extra treat since we have a lot of these right now. And of course, they get lots of scratches, pets, and attention.

(PS: We can hardly wait until the 'ulu and papaya (seen in the first photos of this entry) begin to produce in abundance. Should be soon! And when that happens, the pigs will be getting a share of those crops as well.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review!


Word is starting to spread about the farm book. Yay! We took a boxful to the local Natural Farm meeting last month, and online orders have been trickling in. And of course, folks who come to our farm for the tour have been snapping them up!

Sonia Martinez, Big Island food writer and blogger, wrote a great review of my book for Hawai'i Homegrown Food Network.

Go ahead and take a moment to read the book review here!

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Here!

August 8, 2013:  I added an ordering link to the bottom of this post for those of you on mobile devices. Thanks for letting me know, and huge thanks to those who have ordered my book already!

The farm book, Hubbell's Hog Heaven & Liz's Happy Hens: A Farm Tour, is finally here, all printed and bound and ready to go!

The back cover:

And the Table of Contents:

A link to the first review.
And here's what others have said about the book:

"It's all about their farm, the tours and how they chose to farm the Korean Natural flies, no odor!... The book is not just for farmers and it should be interesting even to people who don't farm!" ~ Sonia

"Healthy bacon!" ~ Noel

"Super informative yet easy to read, and translatable to wherever you live and whatever you want to grow/raise." ~ Lori

"Speaking as a former pig farmer, the system in the book is so practical and worthwhile to do. You can retro fit or use it as a starting point either works." ~ Galyn

There's a link to order on the sidebar of this page. You have options: You can order from Amazon OR directly from me. If you order your copy directly from me, I will split the shipping costs with you (for only $2.50) AND you will get it autographed. How can you resist? 
EDITED TO ADD: Many have mentioned that they cannot see the sidebar from their mobile devices, so I'm adding a link here in the text for you.
You can order the book directly from me, here. 
Thank you so much!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Spotted Piglets

Our Spot had an easy time with her third litter.  Originally there were 15 in this batch, but they soon thinned out to 10... but these 10 are all doing really well.  And they are SO cute with their many variations on the spotted pig theme!

All of these piglets are spoken for, though they still have a while to go before they will be weaned.  They're growing fast though!

Meanwhile, Big Mama has been bred again using the same boar semen as Spot's last litter above, so we are hoping to see more colorful piglets come December.  And the last two piglets from her recent litter are being grown to luau size for somebody's wedding celebration, so the piggery is pretty full at the moment!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bringing in the Feed

One of our main farming goals here in Hog Heaven is to provide the best feed for our animals. Our own farm is producing more and more, but at this point, there's not enough to keep up with two mama sows, their litters, the few piglets we keep to raise up for meat, and a flock of 70+ chickens. We are still supplementing with stuff from the feed store, and still planting more and more feedcrops all the time, to take up the slack. Eventually, we hope to be able to provide all the feed our animals need, and most of our own food as well, right from the farm.

We have found there is not much choice in organic feeds available on this island. The stuff at the local feed stores is USDA-certified organic, but it all has corn &/or soy in it, and most is distributed by Cargill. Not good enough on all three counts.

So we started looking online. We found a wonderful mill in Bellingham, WA, Scratch and Peck Feeds. It is the first--and, so far, only--mill in the US to offer Non-GMO Project certified animal feeds. Their products come from farms in the Northwest (and since that's where we come from too, it's kind of nice to have that connection). There is a distributor on Maui, but they didn't seem much interested in forming any sort of working relationship with us on the Big Island. No problem. We'll bring it in ourselves.

Since we have to order it by the pallet-load (one ton), and we want to maintain the freshness of the feed, there will be extra to sell. In talking to a few farmer friends, we figured there is enough interest out there that this could work.

We will be bringing in Scratch and Peck's Naturally Free line of chicken layer feed and scratch grains, as well as the pig feed -- all organic, non-gmo, no corn or soy, high protein, and well-balanced feeds. You can click on the labels below to enlarge and read the ingredients.

The first shipment is already on its way. I can hardly wait to start giving this quality feed to our animals! And I'm looking forward to touring the mill while I'm in Bellingham later this summer.

In the meantime, Mike is designing and building a moisture-resistant, rat-proof storeroom for the incoming feed sacks. Because, you know, we really needed another project around here.

*Still waiting for Spot's litter... only a couple more days.
*The farm book is currently being formatted for publication. Won't be long now!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Piglets... and more piglets!

Big Mama's delivery went smoothly without a single hitch, 10 healthy piglets... and it was during the daytime, too. It doesn't get better than that. I'm late in reporting it because I've been concentrating on the farm book, which is getting closer and closer to publishing. (We also have another new project in the wings which will get its own post shortly.)

Back to the piglets:
Our daughter wrote about "Piglet Birthing Day" on her photo blog. She said I could share the link since I haven't had time to write about it. So, go take a look, and I'll get on with finishing up that book.

We let the sac fall away on its own naturally.
Mama & newborns getting sprayed with LAB during her labor.
The only assistance needed was to right away clean nose and mouth of each piglet.

Oh, I should mention that we are down to 7 healthy piglets from this first litter. Two got squished, and one got lockjaw after castration. We're pondering the idea of not castrating in future; we'll see.

 More piglets still on the way: Spot's due next week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More Piggies Soon!

My goodness how time flies when you're busy busy busy!

Big Mama is almost ready to burst! Only two weeks to go until her third litter is due.  After a short break, Spot will have her piglets in mid-June.  I, for one, am very glad that there will be a three week break between litters this time.

We have been working hard to get lots more planted: sugarcane, mulberries, cassava, moringa, sunn hemp, and sweet potatoes--all food plants for the animals.  We are currently feeding the pigs a third of their daily feed with these plants that we're growing.  Considering how quickly things are becoming well-established, it shouldn't be too much longer until we can produce all our own feed--a day we are greatly looking forward to!

Speaking of feeding, Mike rigged up an automatic feeder of sorts, just using bits and pieces we had lying about the farm: a rotisserie, a timer, scrap wood, metal strapping, a rope, and pulleys.  The timer has a battery back-up.  Basically, he loads up the feed pans with greens, pellets, a split coconut, sugar cane... whatever is on the menu for the day... and then sets each pan on its own shelf above each sow's pen.  At the appropriate time, the timer kicks in and starts the rotisserie which winds up the rope until - voila! crash bang! - the shelves dump the feed into the pens, and it's dinnertime for piggies!  The sows have learned to listen for the click of the motor switching on.  They then move away and wait a couple minutes for their food to drop so they can chow down.  We now can be away from the farm all afternoon, for whatever reason, and not have to worry that our girls are hungry.

The book about our farm (the pigs, chickens, tropical feed crops, and Natural Farming) is coming along.  It's being edited now, and we are looking at a mid-summer publishing date.  I'll keep you posted.

All the photos for this post were taken by our daughter, Kerry Hubbell, and used with permission.  Mahalo!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Late Winter News

We continue to be busy with the pigs and farm tours.  All 13 piglets I wrote about in the last post thrived, grew quickly, and were sold off after weaning.  They weighed an average of 40 lbs at that time.

We changed our minds about expanding the herd at this time due to the high cost of feed.  Our food crops are coming along nicely, but pigs eat a lot and it takes a lot of feed each day to keep them in tip-top shape.  So, we're back to just Big Mama and Spot as our breed sows.  Both of them have recently been bred, with three weeks between them, so we should have an easier time of it come May and June when they're due to farrow again.

Freckles got adopted by another farmer just starting out with breeding pigs, but Penelope filled our freezer (and those of a few friends, too).  She was such a noisy, loud pig that it's doubtful we could have kept her for breeding anyway, due to the fact that we have neighbors close by.

The biggest news is that I've written a book of our farm tour!  It is at the editor's now; we are aiming for its release later this spring.  Those of you who have been to our farm will like the book for remembering all the information presented on the tour... and those who have not had a chance to visit will be able to see more of what we are doing here.  Of course, I will let you know when it is available.  Meanwhile, we continue to plant food!