RicelandMeadows


Born Free
August 5, 2015, 6:17 am
Filed under: August 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,
Out and about

Out and about

August 5, 2015

We have two sows that have had their babies. They are finally following mom around. They are the cutest things on the farm right now. They were born on pasture in a big nest. They nor their mom was caged or penned up unless you consider a 4 acre pasture penned up. They act as if the whole world is their oyster and are exploring everything they see.

I caught these guys in the shade of the woods. Everyone was napping when I walked up. They laid still for a while until Cinch must have alerted them. The mothers jumped up with a start and sixteen babies headed for the safety of a nearby thicket. I snapped pictures as the little guys took off. It was a hoot watching them jump over a fallen log as they scrambled away.

These litters are the result of over thirty years of selecting for mothering in my gilts. They are the product of docile boars and mixed genetics. They show what time and patience will do for a farmer. I need healthy piglets that grow fast and are easy to handle. I want a lean carcass, well muscled and long…but most of all I want a tender pork chop. I get all these things by careful breeding in an environment without stress…for the animal or the farmer.

Commercial farmers may think I am all wrong. They will say that this is no way to grow production pork. I don’t care what they say…for me it’s the only way. Safe wholesome food is not a concept…it should be a way of life. Pork, plants and people all do better without stress in their lives…so find a way to relieve it. I do it by farming and gardening…and if watching little pigs scramble over a log doesn’t make you smile…. I don’t know what will 😮

Wait for me guys!

Wait for me guys!



I’m Tired
All tuckered out from playing with the tire swing!

All tuckered out from playing with the tire swing!

June 30, 2015

Today, as I waited for more rain to fall, I installed tire swings for my pigs playtime. “What?”, you ask. Yes, tire swings. The pigs love to play with them. They bite on them. They push them around with their noses. They even crawl through them and rub their bellies. It is funny as heck to watch them play. In the past I have also used old bowling balls to give them something to do. I will say though, they like the tires best 😮

Often our pigs are outside. The sow herd is currently enjoying a big pasture from which to graze, play and wallow in the mud. These smaller ones would cause a big fight if I was to put them in with the sows. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. It is much better for these fattening pigs to have recess on the feedlot and play on the tire swings for fun. They do get to go out and play in the mud in a little paddock next to the barn. I guess they just like being pigs, eating , playing and resting…and best of all growing, in a stress free environment.

We have been using sawdust for bedding this summer. We tried chips, but they weren’t absorbent enough. The sawdust gets damp and stays cool. We scoop out the poop and strip the stalls when needed. The pigs like the damp cool sawdust on hot days. They stay comfortable and clean. The pen smells like sawdust too, a much better odor than pig poop!

The horses got their feet trimmed today. Knight has soft hooves, so he keeps shoes on all year. Duke and Hoss have hard feet that just need trimmed usually. I do put steel shoes on when working on the road or heavy work where they could slip. Our jobs for the next few months are light. We will mostly work in the hay fields. Well, that is the hope anyway 😮

One of our gilts watches a bird

One of our gilts watches a bird