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.
We named our turkeys – one was Christmas, the other Thanksgiving. Helped keep us focused!
Haha! Love it! I’d like to get turkeys too and hens for the table but need a demonstration on neck pulling. Youngest wants to name them bacon and chop. Maybe we’ll go along with it 🙂
They’re going to so love that woodland, and will have it all nicely rotovated for you to plant woodland plants next year!
They seem to have settled in well Margaret. They came over to me when I was in there taking pictures after you left. The girls keep popping out with apple cores and crusts now. They’ll have no shortage of scraps at this rate.
Am going to look on in admiration Dee! Always a little dream of mine too…..maybe some day…..I will listen and learn:~)
Will keep you posted Catherine, it’s all quite exciting at the moment 🙂
Look at them!!! They are so cool! They look like they have settled in quickly!
They were a little shy to start with after their long journey too, but they’re settling in now and getting braver David!
Good luck with the new venture! Something I’d like to do one day 🙂 at the moment ill stick to hens! ( especially since I can’t grow veg lol )
Thanks! Yes it’s all very exciting for us!
I’m envious now – love saddlebacks. Am amused at you posting the warning at the top – what else would anyone else have pigs for? 😉 That woodland area is fabulous for them. Love the girls’ names for them, you’ll have to call them those names 😉
If youngest had her way they would be pets only Lorna, she’s not amused! Funny as I call them piggies when Im talking to them but in my head they’re Pinky & Perky. The girls names much more appropriate 😉
[…] course on pig rearing from Oldfarm in the spring before we took delivery of our saddlebacks (here’s the blog post about their arrival if you missed […]
[…] our cute little saddleback piglets arrived here ready to roam outside back in April I thought I’d be writing several posts sharing tales of their escapades and antics. I […]