Normally our pig-raising for the year would be over in September, but this year we opted to do another round of pigs going into the winter. They had a great gain rate, and here we are at the end of December with a processing date set for January 4th.
Winter raising worked out really well for us this first time through. We’ve got a mild winter going on, so it’s been no trouble to keep the pigs warm. A hay bale in their shed for them to snuggle into and what we got in return was a lot fewer flies and not having to worry about hosing the pigs off twice a day. I can get used to these less smelly pigs! We probably won’t do a spring batch, which means it may be next September or October before we have pigs again.
The other thing different about this batch of pigs is that we didn’t secure buyers for the meat before raising the pigs. Previously the meat has all been spoken for before we even buy piglets. We’ve put an ad or two up on Craigslist and as of right now one and a half of the four pigs have a deposit down on them.
It’s not as scary as it sounds, though. For one, we bought a gigantic chest freezer (don’t know if it’s the decade or the location of my childhood, but I’m used to calling these things a “deep freeze”, but now everyone seems to say “chest freezer”.) Anyway, the unclaimed pork will go in there. We are having it USDA processed, which means we can sell the meat on our own. We may sell smaller shares or sampler pack-type things.
Pig-raising is the most intensive thing we do around here. There’s some amount of urgency with pigs that isn’t there with chickens, ducks, sheep, or gardening. There’s a lot of weighing and measuring, watching over their health, keeping them contained, and not losing money. We did all right this round, but it’s also always a bit of a relief when it’s over.
I love this photo. Two of the pigs out in the field, Dylan looking on as Joshua checks out the fence. This was a really nice afternoon.