I send email updates out to the people buying pigs from us, and I’ll publish them here, too, (slightly modified) for anyone else following along with our piggie adventures. Here’s the first update of 2012.
I’m a little late getting the first pig update written, but we have pigs! They are pink/white pigs, unlike the red ones from last year. Their breed is likely a mix of Yorkshire and Chester White, both excellent meat breeds.
Last year we asked our buyers to choose a particular pig, and they all got names. This was to avoid any conflicts of ownership if something happened to one pig mid-season. With more pigs this year and with their similar markings, I’m honestly not sure I could reliably tell them apart. So they are not going to be individually named and assigned, and if any issues arise we’ll just handle that as it comes.
One big change for this year is that Joshua built a feeder that allows the pigs to have free access to food, rather than getting a big meal or two a day. The feeder has lids over the eating areas, and the pigs lift up a lid with their noses, and then chow down. They figured it out quickly, and I’m sure they are pleased with being able to eat whenever they want. The waterer is also set up so that they have a constant supply of water that they can not climb into and get all muddy!
A neat thing we’ve discovered this year is that more seems to be better. There are 6 pigs this time, the most we’ve ever had, and they seem to be having much more fun, are more active, and I can see that they move together as a pack. I knew that pigs were social animals, but they get more social and seem to thrive the more there are. I’m so glad there are 5 groups of you buying pigs, so that this pack of 6 can all be together!
One distinct bit of personality about this year’s pigs is that they seem to be really clean. Almost every time I see them, they are spotless except for a bit of dirt on their noses. They will surely be muddier as it starts to get hotter and they use the mud to cool down, but so far I’ve been really impressed by their cleanliness. They are definitely not impressed with the shed we provide them for shelter. Almost every time I catch them sleeping they are in a pile together out in the open, sometime in the shade of a tree, sometimes right out in the sun. Their sunburned butts are their own business; I’m trying not to fret too much about that.
There’s no possible way to estimate the pigs’ finish time yet. I can tell you that these pigs were younger when we got them, which adds a bit of time. In 2010 the pigs were ready for slaughter in July. In 2011 it was September. Their weight is one of the things I’ll try to keep you updated on as we go, as soon as they get big enough to even esimate their weight. They are still little pigs!