This morning, Ted and I got up early (for me…late for him LOL), and we loaded the big cage off the porch into the back of the pickup. We made a pits top at the ATM and Tractor Supply to buy a bale of straw, a tarp, and bungee straps. Then we were off to Cincinnati!
We met up with a couple from lower Kentucky, and they made the drop (doesn’t that sound like super spy stuff? LOL)! The straw bale was cut open and stuffed into the cage and wrapped with the tarp…and then we drove back home.
Without further adieu, meet our newest farm project: Dixie (spotted) and Bitsy (red)! These girls are a cross of Kunekune (smaller and more docile) with Red Wattle pigs.
This is our first attempt at raising pastured pork. We’ve never had pigs here before, and we’ve spent the past six weeks prepping for them. We know we want to raise all our animals in the best way possible, and we want them to have the best and happiest lives possible.
Most pigs are raised in confinement, and the sows (girls) are kept in gestation crates which do not allow them to even turn around. Most pigs are fed a diet of corn and soybeans to make them gain weight faster, and most are kept on concrete their entire lives.
We don’t believe this is a healthy way for any animal to live. Animals need to do animal behaviors and live as close to naturally as possible. For this reason, I’ve been wanting pasture raised pork to buy for a few years. I hate the thought of supporting a system of suffering for animals; unfortunately, pastured pork is hard to find here. Because of that, we decided to try this ourselves.
Bitsy and Dixie haven’t made up with us yet, but they liked the french fries and cookie we fed them when we got home. They especially loved the grassy area in their big pen though!
Because they’re so small (about the length of a fat housecat), Bitsy and Dixie can’t go into the PPP yet (Pig Pallet Palace) that Ted built and I stained. The fencing there is a little too large just yet.
The Pig Pallet Palace
Right now, the eight week old piglets can fit through the cattle fencing squares. Also, they’re small enough that they need locked up at night for their own safety. A coyote or a fox would make an easy meal of them now so for the next few weeks, the girls have to stay first in the old chicken run which can be locked at night and then in the big new chicken pasture which has woven wire fencing. While they’re there, we’re training them to electric fence, and my hope is that once they’re trained to respect the wire, we can lead them to a huge fenced area in the woods across the driveway where they can root and dig and do piggy things to their little hearts’ desires.
For now, they’re enjoying the fresh grass and their pig feed. The goal over the next two weeks is teaching them that we have tasty treats and give belly scratches!
We’re so excited to do this ourselves!!! If this goes well, we may be able to offer pastured pork for local folks and know the pigs led outrageously happy lives right to the very last second!