Warning: This post is about pigs that will be reared for food.
Over the coming months I’m hoping to share a few posts of our two Saddleback pigs (who will remain nameless) that will be living their lives with us, outdoors, in a free range environment surrounded by cattle from the neighbouring farm. They will be fed GM free grain and vegetables from the garden before they reach the appropriate weight and we arrange to have them butchered.
Today’s the day we’ve been working towards for many years. Thanks to Alfie and Margaret for delivering them, our Oldfarm pigs arrived in the back of their trailer and were ushered out into their new woodland home.
A long time ago Mr G and I shared dreams of becoming more self-sufficient in our food. We started with the vegetable garden, followed by the hens for their eggs (still working towards hens for the table) and at last the pigs.
We started this particular adventure earlier this year by attending a Oldfarm Pig Rearing course. When we returned home we cleared undergrowth and trees, built a house, installed fresh water, were given straw by our generous neighbour, sourced feed and then added heap loads of electric fencing. The Department vet was called in to inspect the pigs new home and once the go ahead was given in terms of our herd number, we were able to discuss delivery.
We’re a little nervous about our new boars (mostly of them escaping into the vegetable patch!) The realities of rearing animals for their meat for the first time are starting to sink in for Mr G. Our children have mixed feelings but we do feel it important that they learn that food doesn’t come out of packets and the importance of good, healthy, wholesome food.
If I began to feel too attached to our new little guys, I’ll be watching this video clip from the Compassion of World Farming about intensively farmed pigs that I hope will act as a reminder about why we’re doing this.
At the moment our Saddleback pigs are four months old and we’ll be aiming to slaughter them at around nine or ten months old complete with their teeth, tails and testicles. Factory farmed pigs can be slaughtered from four months upwards and will never have seen the light of day.
For us now, the fun and realities of rearing animals for food is just beginning… I’ll keep you posted.