RicelandMeadows


Pastured Piggies
August 14, 2016, 5:16 pm
Filed under: August 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,

sowbaby

August 14, 2016

As a child, I ran barefoot through the grass without a care in the world. Today, I watched my piglets and their mother foraging in the pasture, playing in the mud and eating from their dish. They watched me without caring. The little ones grow quickly in this wide open pasture. They eat, drink, play and rest in the shade of some trees and brush. They are healthy and happy. This is a great way to raise pork!

In the next day or so, I will move the herd up to the barnyard. The boys will be sorted and castrated. The herd is moved right back to the pasture for another ten days. Once that time has passed, the boys will have healed up. All the babies will be sorted again. This time they will be given de-worming shots and weaned from mom. The babies will all be left together for comfort and to compete with each other for their food. A few days after that, they will be sorted by size and penned together on full feed rations. Some will be sold to other farmers to be raised by them. The rest will be raised here.

The ones who stay here will be given a big pen, a clean bed and all they want to eat and drink. Twice a day they will be given “recess” in a big lot where they can run and play. In the space of about four months, they will gain enough weight to be ready to butcher. By then, another batch of little ones will almost be ready to occupy the pens that will be vacated by these. It’s the cycle of life on a farm. It’s my job to make all the animals as comfortable as possible. I treat them with respect and I handle them humanely until the very end.

I can only hope to pass my ways onto my children and their children. That is what makes farming sustainable too. It is not just the soil and the animals. There must be profit and desire. Without profit a farm cannot continue to operate. Without the desire of the next generation to operate, a farm cannot survive. So, sustainability comes from people, animals and the land all working in harmony. It is that harmony that makes great pastured piggies!


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