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!