Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life Without Pigs

So you might have noticed that, aside from the Pig Week we've got going here, that I haven't talked too much about our porcine friends. That's because.......  we didn't get any pigz this summer. Can you believe it?

Pig free and lovin' it!

I've had several folks ask me about this year's pigz and I guess I have been remiss in saying that this has been a joyous, pig free summer. Gone is the stank, the mud, the cursing and swearing, the bucket hauling, and that twitch in my eye that I normally have about this time of year. Gone. None. Pig yard = empty.

Hands down this has got to be our best summer ever - not one stinky pig to ruin my day. It's been heaven.

What happened? Well. These fellas. Which resulted in many, many a Meat Day and glorious bacon. And some hilarity. My favorite part of the whole event was when Zander peed in the general direction of The Biggest Pig We Ever Raised.

So we have been loaded up on pork this entire time. Truth be told if we were looking down the barrel of 2 more pigs we'd be needing another freezer.(Not that there is anything wrong with that!)

Didn't miss pigz at all.

Figuring in the still shockingly high price of feed, the abundance of pork in the freezer, and my general irritation with pigz.... we figured we'd focus on turkeys this summer. It's worked out pretty well. For the most part. Turkey feed is expensive..and they were reluctant to free range at first but now the turks have the hang of it. We will get a good haul of meat as we roll along thru our butcher days. But I can assure you there is no bacon on a turkey. I've looked.

Someone asked me if turkeys were easier than pigz? Nope. Not really. But they are entirely less irritating. While they are fragrant in a different way - turkeys can't hold a candle to pigz for stankyness. 

Pigz are easy in that you can just toss them out on pasture with minimal shelter... and still have very little risk of being carried off by weasels, hawks, or raccoons. After a certain point pigz aren't really even targets for coyotes. Turkeys need more protection, better accommodations, and for best practices need to be inside for a while.

Turkeys are easier to handle. I can be (mostly) sure that if I fall down in the turkey yard they (probably) wouldn't pick my bones clean by the time my husband get home from work.  This was important earlier in the summer when we weren't sure what his schedule would be like.

There is always a point in the pig grow out schedule where I just will not get in the pen with them. I'd hate to be the star of this news story. I know that some of you don't believe me but pigs can be big, mean, and dangerous. So we figured that a yard of turkeys would be easier for me to deal with if I had most of the chores alone.

Turkeys are a breeze to handle and can be easily be moved around, herded, and put up for the night. No running required and you don't even have to get the dog. Plus, turkeys are kinda funny to have around.

So this summer, our life without pigs has been superfabulous. Rest assured, we'll start up again in the spring with new porkers. But for now we are enjoying the happy gobbling turkeyliciousness.

Happy Thursday everyone! Are you pig free and loving it?


6 comments:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

We can't afford feed for the chickens so we have cut back. Never had pigs. They really need to stop burning our corn in gasoline vehicles, it is a very inefficient process and a negative when the price of feed is included.

buddeshepherd said...

I make 16 percent protein pig feed from oats/peas, barley, random bales of hay or straw and soy meal (organic) and flax seed (inorganic) to balance the ration. Sometimes I put in a couple bales of alfalfa. I sell it for .20 a pound. But you have to add the concentrates.
Don't know if it is a good price or not.
However, I completely understand avoiding raising pigs.

buddeshepherd said...

I heard this song today and thought of you...
Goes like this...
I used to smoke five pack of cigarettes a day/It was the hardest thing to put them away/
I drank four or five bottles of wine/had a glass in my hand all the time/
Breakin those habits was hard to do/
But nothin put me though the changes that Pigs put me through

Tryin to live my life without pigs/is the hardest thing I'll ever do...

Or something like that, perhaps I don't remember the lyrics perfectly... My apologies to Otis Clay...

Duncan MacLeod said...

We are on the eve of our harvest this year - not only did we do pigs again, but we more than doubled our count, and started with nine...9!!...porkers in the spring. A whole herd. And boy have they turned over the pasture we run them on. We will disc it and plant new forage in the spring, the pig-plows have done their work. We harvested one this summer for a big ol' pig roast, and will deal with 4 (8-sides for 8 families in our little co-op arrangement) this weekend. It will be a big pig party, lots of work, lots of people to do it. The last four will get freezer-trained in a few more weeks.

We also did turkeys this year, our first time. Six of those dirty birds. Can't say I fell in love with them, they are somewhat silly but mostly smelly. We grew the big Toms to 45lbs each...yikes!....and the Jennys to around 30-35. We processed four so far, leaving two for an auspicious occasion later in November.

I have to say I like the pigs perhaps better than the turkeys. The goats get my blood pressure up around the yard, more than the pigs, and they are one step away from the classifieds every morning. The sheep get favored status. :)

Still following your adventures, OFG....keep 'em comin'!

MT Dreamer said...

Thanks for answering the pig whereabouts question. Turkeys seem more my speed! Hold on to your hats with the weather blowing in from Texas!

Kris said...

Oh yes! Started with 2 pigs this spring. After a few months of hauling tons of food and water and all, I sold them to a friend up the road. Still brought them scraps and old bread though for ahwile. They finally went to the butcher last week. I got some sausage and porkchops from them. But it was so amazing after they left! I just get this wild hair and think I need a few pigs and then go crazy when they're here for too long. I also was scared after they got a certain size, of falling in the pig pen and they eat me alive.

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