The fencing is finally complete and I have picked up my 11 week old pigs. Yorkshire hogs to be exact. I chose the Yorkshire breed because they were one of the best for natural foraging or getting their own food. This was a critical part of my decision in getting pigs because I am not having them on a corn diet. Eating corn is not their choice, but a forced 'eat it or starve.' Pigs need high protein and other nutrients they can get from roots, grass, and legumes. Pigs naturally are woods animals. They dig in the forests and can easily find their own food if given the opportunity. I plan to pasture rotate them with clover/alfalfa and am also planting lots of mangles (large beets) to feed them. In upcoming years, my pigs will also be able to dine on hazelnuts that I planted by their fencing. Hazelnuts are supposed to make them taste amazing.
Free range is how I want to raise my hogs. I want to know exactly what goes into them and how I can impact the taste or output as well. There will also be very little waste from the hogs I raise. I plant to render my own fat into lard. It simply makes the best pie crust, breads, soaps, and more. It will be very nice to have my own supply on hand.
One of the best things about pigs (and worst if not used in the right areas) is they turn up the ground, aerate, and fertilize all at the same time. You might assume they stink, I mean they are pigs, but given a healthy diet and plenty of room to roam, they are NOT stinky. It is the feed lots and farms that raise them in close quarters and fed corn (high carbs) all while wallowing in their fecal matter that makes them stink. I suppose we all would if we lived like that.
I will butcher in the fall, Octoberish and not winter my animals. It is very costly to winter and their is no use unless you are farrowing.
I can check 'get pigs and fencing' off my list of to do's now. What a relief.
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