We had our last litter of the year. 6 healthy babies from one of our Hampshire gilts. I love the little red banded boar.
Now that our last litter of the year is on the ground we need to start thinking towards next year. We are going to try to schedule our litters this year. In doing so we hope to spread out the babies to coincide better with demand.
We have already had one hiccup to that thought. Our Hamp sow that we hoped to have a litter out of this week….. decided to come into heat a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t think she was getting big at all, not big enough to have a good litter anyway, but know I realize why. She skipped more than 3 heat cycles, I don’t know if the weather was in play or if it is our boar. She is due to come back into heat this weekend and I am going to watch and see if she comes in again.
If she does not present signs of being in heat, that will mean she is short bred. And that means she will have a litter right in the middle of our coldest time of year. So much for trying to make a schedule. One thing I have learned working with animals, is that mother nature has her own schedule and will slap you with it just for spite.
Even worse, what if she comes back into heat? That means our boar has a potential problem. Good Thing I like the little red Boar!! I guess we will find out this weekend.
Fall has always been the time to start thinking about putting up some pork. The days of hanging pork in the smokehouse for the winter have long been gone, and the art of processing a hog by the family has almost been lost. I have the hogs fattened up and wondering what I can do with them.
During my journey with the hogs, I have not been fully content with getting our hogs processed at a locker. It seems that no processor I use is without fault, and each one has their own way of processing and presenting a final product. My journey has lead me to experiment with processing our own hogs.
I saved back some pork bellies from a hog I butchered a month ago for a hog roast. This weekend I am going to practice making my own bacon for the first time. I have purchased some curing salt and have researched some recipes. This is also research into another ” Stream of Income” for the farm. I will keep you updated.
“Don’t put your eggs all in one basket” is the old saying that everyone should be practicing on their farm, and not just in the hen house. It is wise to not rely on just one feed supplier in case of an emergency. You are using the same concept by having an emergency generator. Backing yourself up just makes sense.
Farm revenue should be no different. You should create multiple streams of income in case one stream’s flow starts to slow down. The fancy word for this is diversification. You can even create this in multiple levels, like diversifying your diversification. Now that is fancy.
Farm diversification can be as simple as running cattle and hogs. That is two different streams of income. Or you can be a go getter and run cattle, hogs, raise chickens, grow a garden to sell vegetables, grow and sell sweet corn, and bale hay. I would rather try to earn a portion of my income from different sources, than try to squeeze as much out of one source as possible and hope it is enough.
If you want to get fancy. Diversify your cattle into multiple streams of income. Do that by selling replacement heifers, selling bulls, selling to your neighbor for the meat, or renting a bull out for breeding. Diversify your Hogs by selling feeder pigs, market hogs, breeding pairs, and for custom processing. Diversify your chickens by selling eggs, laying hens, baby chicks, and roasters for the meat. Then mix all of their manure together and sell the compost. The key to success is trying to see how many ways you can individually market your products by breaking them down into separate components. Then try to break them down again until you have created as many revenue streams as you can handle.