Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Smallhold Farming and Rural Living => Livestock and Growing on a larger scale => Topic started by: Kate and her Ducks on March 28, 2014, 16:48

Title: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on March 28, 2014, 16:48
Trying not to let my OH know but am really very excited about the fact we are going to be getting pigs. We have paid our deposit on 3 Large Black wearers and collect them in 3 weeks! :D

The OH has wanted pigs for ages but as I already look after the ducks, geese, sheep and bees I had said we could only have them if he does all the work with them :D  I think I am more excited than him now though although lambing has to be got through first.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Yorkie on March 28, 2014, 18:20
 :lol:
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on March 28, 2014, 19:10
Off to read my charcuterie book.  ;)
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Debz on March 31, 2014, 09:36
How many lambs are you expecting?
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on March 31, 2014, 21:35
we've only got 5 ewes but pretty sure at least 4 are pregnant. didn't get them scanned (haven't found anyone who will do such small numbers) so not sure about singles and twins etc. One looks like she has swallowed a tyre and has half a dozen in there! I suspect a lot of it is just wool though.
Bit worried about one that had started to prolapse although generally in is going back in by itself. Can be a sign of multiple lambs or more worryingly a dead lamb so regular obs for any signs of things not going as she should.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Debz on April 01, 2014, 10:10
Looking forward to pictures when the babies arrive.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on April 24, 2014, 22:36
Sorry it has taken me a little while to get pics on but here are the three boys.


(http://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm5/katemerriman/IMG_0503_zps100528aa.jpg) (http://s292.photobucket.com/user/katemerriman/media/IMG_0503_zps100528aa.jpg.html)

I'm going to sell my rotorvator. These do the job so much better and all those weeds are gradually being turned into bacon!
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Madame Cholet on April 24, 2014, 23:42
Arn't there handsome :)
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: snowdrops on April 25, 2014, 08:57
My dad always said pigs to clear land worked far better than anything else, plus they manure as they go. Lovely boys.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Debz on April 25, 2014, 09:11
They're beautiful.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: scabs on April 30, 2014, 11:48
Yay!  ;)
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Willow_Warren on April 30, 2014, 17:01
They are lovely :)
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Sue33 on April 30, 2014, 18:04
Good looking chaps  :D :D
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on April 30, 2014, 20:31
My dad always said pigs to clear land worked far better than anything else, plus they manure as they go. Lovely boys.

They certainly do! Planning on selling my tiller as they are far better. They also don't just chop up the weeds and roots but turn them into bacon! :D

They have almost completely turned over the small area they are in which is going to be another veg patch and then they will be moved into the larger field to do their worst there.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: snowdrops on May 01, 2014, 08:02
Allotment committee's should keep some for clearing overgrown plots or at least allow you some for a short while. I'm sure they would sort my horsetail problem out  :D
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on May 02, 2014, 20:43
Never had a problem with horsetail as ducks LOVE it and it never has a chance. The pigs sort EVERYTHING else. Crouch grass, dandelions, creeping buttercup, nettles are all gone. We have a couple of patches of ground elder and I am going to try and fence them in onto it so they can do their worst.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: snowdrops on May 02, 2014, 20:47
Hmm ducks hey. Now there's a thought :lol:
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on May 03, 2014, 21:44
They love it! Every time it sticks it's head above ground they nip it off and it never has a chance.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: snowdrops on May 04, 2014, 19:04
Do you want to loan them out  :lol:  I could do holidays for ducks, I think pigs would be better over the winter though. :lol:
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on May 04, 2014, 19:16
I only wish they loved ground elder as much!
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: snowdrops on May 04, 2014, 19:17
Won't the pigs clear that?
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on May 05, 2014, 20:17
I'm sure they will but it's in the bottom of our garden bit that we have set to wild flower meadow and they won't stop at the ground elder! We might try penning them to just that bit and see what happens.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: joyfull on May 09, 2014, 21:41
they look gorgeous - what breed are they Kate?
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on May 09, 2014, 21:51
They're Large Blacks. They are a rare breed and are meant to be very lean and tasty.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: ronmcfadden on July 18, 2014, 13:56
Great looking piggies :)
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on July 18, 2014, 19:38
Thank you. :D

They are due to go to slaughter next month and really looking forward to seeing how they taste  :tongue2: They have been a pleasure to have but are a little big and boisterous now and have a little habit of escaping. Had a sense of humour failure yesterday when they got into the goat pen again and ate all their food and then bit the little white goat. Admittedly I'm a little protective of my goats and he didn't break or even mark the skin but had been digging in the mud and left a very dramatic muddy mouth mark!
Stormed into the house and threatened to slaughter them myself if the OH didn't get round to fixing the fence and keeping HIS pigs under control!
Have calmed down a little now and do like sitting and chatting with them and giving them a scratch which they love. :D Still love bacon more!
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on August 18, 2014, 20:13
Well the boys are booked into the abattoir for next Tuesday and then on to our neighbour who is a butcher and master curer and then back to us.
Bit sad but also very excited about eating our own home raised pork and bacon. :tongue2:
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Tenhens on November 07, 2014, 16:59
The other evening a friend of ours told us that they were taking a small holding and mentioned rearing pigs amonst other live stock. Your last post has prompted me to ask how much do these services cost. Is the cost of feeding and caring repaid in bacon ( and other cuts)  Or is it the fact that you know how the animal was looked after plus the aspect that the meat probably tastes better.   The OH is interested in rearing a pig but we don't have enough space and expertise. 
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on November 08, 2014, 10:17
Hi,

For us it was mainly about knowing that the meat we ate was from happy healthy animals. We have sold some of it and in combination with the stuff we have eaten we will make a make a small profit (not including the cost of the pig ark). We are also trading some of it for other meat so we don't just have to eat pork and got our hedges cut in exchange for sausages!

We probably spent about 250 on food for three pigs from wean to 26 weeks old, they cost 50 each but we chose to get a rare breed so you can certainly pay less. Slaughter and splitting was 20 each. We are still waiting for the final bill from the butcher we used but we ant for the more expensive option of having sausages, bacon and ham made as well as the standard cuts. You can of course do that yourself but we have a master curer living 2 doors down and decided to let him do it and learn from him for the future rather than risking the meat! Most quotes I've seen are between 25 and 60 per pig depending on what you have done and the relationship you have with the butcher!
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Debz on December 05, 2014, 10:24
How did they taste Kate?
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kevin67 on December 05, 2014, 11:14
I am insanely jealous - I would love a small-holding. I wish you well.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on December 19, 2014, 19:09
The boys tasted amazing! :D

We have been really lucky in that one of our neighbours is a butcher and makes sausages and bacon etc. Everything we have had has been fabulous. It was really hard taking them to the abattoir but will definitely be doing it again!
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kevin67 on December 19, 2014, 19:28
I'm not surprised!

Although I'm not a celebrity-fan, I had to agree with Hugh F-W when he said, animals properly cared for give the best quality meat. Having reared them yourself also means each mouthful means so much more.

I hope I get to keep pigs and goats some day soon. I'd hate to get old and think back "I wish I had...".

Well done for your very hard work.

(Did you have the boys neutered? Apparently this affects the taste of the meat?)
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on December 19, 2014, 21:10
Couldn't agree more with the fact that well cared for animals taste the best. For us there is no doubt some emotional overlay but so many people have raved about the meat and we have sold it 3 times over without a moments hesitation so think it is really good.
Ours weren't neutered this year. It was a very deliberate decision as intact males are a bit of a nightmare to keep so the best to start with as not likely to end up deciding to keep them (and yes, if there had been a way to get out of killing them might have taken it!). No noticeable taint on the meat.  Next year we are having gilts  and we are going to keep a couple for breeding :nowink:

I never thought I would say it but I love my goats more than any of my other animals. They are brilliant! They are more fun and joy than any animal I have kept before. I have only kept dairy goats this year and although I am really looking forward to my first kidding in May (fingers crossed) am dreading it a bit too as not sure I can send even smelly, grumpy billies to slaughter! Then again, it is really hard not to have a close relationship with an animal you milk on a daily basis. They are so funny, silly affectionate and wise. I swear they sometimes put their thoughts in my head when they are telling me off for doing (or trying to get them to do) something stupid! If the OH would let me they would live in the house!
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: tosca100 on December 20, 2014, 07:21
We have been toying with getting goats next year too, but they look as if they are not cost effective unless you eat the kids, and we can't have anything that actually cost us money as there is nothing coming in. We don't need much land as they would be taken out by the shepherd to browse. Shame really, but though we would need two for company, we could only really have one in milk as we don't need masses. So it looks as if we will do without.

OH went to the (2) pig killing next door last week, which was quite traumatic. I didn't want him to go into too much detail but he said that it could have been more humane. (It's still done on the holdings here, so here is no travel, but December is awful for this veggie, surround sound pig screaming as all the villagers take their turn) I said that I wouldn't mind him having pigs as we have a lot of veg waste if he would look after them solely, but he couldn't cope with what they did happening to his own. They also use a blow torch on the skin so ruin it and there is no crackling. The fat is taken off the meat too and kept for special occasions, sliced thin and savoured...unless they give us some and it's cut up, frozen and used to cover joints so they don't dry out. All so different to the UK.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kevin67 on December 20, 2014, 07:26
The abattoirs here in the UK also use a blow torch - for burning off the hair that is left. The skin can still be used for crackling. Is the guy using the blow torch too heavily? The coarse hairs are boiled/shaved off first and the missed/finer hair torched off.

Sad to hear about the culling. Hopefully the person will have learned what not to do for the next one. Could your partner not do this, help or manage the process in some extra way? As you know, the final piece of the jigsaw is a quality end.

Could you not make some money by making goats cheese?  You may also be able to sell some milk for local lactose-intolerant babies? Would that make two milking goats viable?
(link: http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-advantages-of-goats-milk (http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-advantages-of-goats-milk) )

Just a thought...
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: tosca100 on December 20, 2014, 08:18
Kevin, have PM'd you.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kevin67 on December 20, 2014, 09:52
Thank you for a wonderful reply, Tosca. I will also reply but later tonight when the children are in bed.

To complete the circle for other readers of this post, the pm is to do with small holding practice's which would not be suitable for our younger readers, in keeping with our forum policies here.
Title: Re: Three little piggies.
Post by: Kate and her Ducks on December 22, 2014, 17:28
I think most abattoirs here actually scald the carcass rather than use a blowtorch. Ours certainly does. I have used a blowtorch on our duck caracasses in the past, to get the fine left over feathers. If you are careful it doesn't damage the skin too much but it does leave a fine layer of soot so imagine that would be terrible if all the hairs on a pig.

Goats can actually be very thrifty if you have the browsing for them, i.e. lots of hedgerows and roughage. They will not produce as much milk as if they are supplemented and to make it cost efficient you would probably have to sell the kid one way or the other. The problem with any livestock is that even if you are making a profit from them that can all end in a heartbeat if they need the vet out!
There is stuff like making cheese that you can do to increase the value of what you get from the goats either to sell or replace what you would buy. I am really enjoying getting the hang of cheese making but as with anything there is always a bit of investment in kit at the beginning. Unfortunately you can't sell goats milk as lactose free as it does contain lactose too. Some people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate it better than cows milk though.