Archives for the month of: September, 2013

Some pig stories from the last week…

#1 Pigs on the loose…..2 gilts are in the orchard with our livestock guardian dog and they followed her through the two roll up doors in my husband’s shop and all the way up to my back yard, where Bryn the dog presented them to me outside my kitchen window.

#2  Lame goat – this is a pig story too!  3 weeks a ago we found a piglet down in the pasture, some kind of shoulder lameness that has improved quite well since he was moved to a smaller space.  Our doe came up  lame , so she joined the 3 legged pig and now I have 2 gimps in recovery 🙂

and #3  A vineyard in the neighborhood has invited me to glean grapes after the pickers have been through the plots so today I spent 2 hours or so filling a garbage can with grapes to feed over the next week.  They manage to eat the grapes and leave the stems.  Merlot fed pork! 


Last night an evening stroll turned into high homestead drama as we encountered 2 skunks!

Usually here on the homestead we let the wild beasts alone, unless they behave as vermin.  In this case these skunks have been harassing the hens and raiding the garden making the transition from wild beast to vermin. 

Both were caught red handed, as it were.  My husband retrieved a shotgun and dispatched them both!  Neither one considered us a threat until that last minute. 

Every 2-3 years we seem to get an “outbreak” where they seem to be everywhere – and visiting the garden at dusk becomes a risk of an encounter with the little stink bombs.  After this we should have reclusive and nocturnal ones only.

Pigs were born on 8/1 and since then have grown, the males have been castrated, the litter weaned, and 3 breeding gilts separated.  We will keep a grower of our own and a breeding gilt to add to our pig herd.

I did not have much to do with the birthing, really just frequent head counts.  On castration day my husband helped catch, sort and crate the males, and move the sow.  We don’t have enough cross fencing yet and this event reinforced the need for it.  We have a local vet whose specialty is food and fiber species.  If you are a reader, with similar veterinary services needed, please check her out –     Mary Pride Clark DVM of Compassionate Veterinary Care.  We can manage most husbandry ourselves, but 7 piglets is a lot to castrate!  Because we had taken the time to catch and confine the little beasts first, the vet visit was extremely efficient with all work completed in 40 minutes.

The following week the litter was weaned.  Our sow was dropping weight and they had transitioned to grower ration so it became more efficient to feed them directly than feed her to produce milk to feed them.

Today is forecast to be near 100 degrees so as many pigs as possible were returned to wallow access.  Jack, our boar, is still on sow restriction and is the only one with a mister and a hose and we are home all day to squirt him down.  Next week Jack and Ghirlie will be back together and her next heat cycle is expected to result in the next litter hopefully timed for sale of next litter in March 2014.

This has been a learning experience for sure, and we are able to sell to our community to further the locavore and know my farmer movements.

Currently 6 growers and 2 breeding gilts for sale!

Bring on the harvest season……

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