I wish I could spend all day with these guys. It is so beautiful and peaceful at the farm. Soon it will be time to bail hay!
We were feeding our Ossabaw Island Pigs last week, and I noticed one sow, that I thought was just fat, appeared to have dropped and was getting close to being in milk. That in itself is not out of the ordinary, but this sow was not due for another month at least.
I calculated the breeding date back, and there was now way that she was with a boar at that time. That was really confusing. I was beginning to think that a boar had jumped the fence and jumped back out, which was also impossible due to where she was penned.
We moved her into the farrowing pen just to be safe. 3 days later she had 7 of the smallest Ossabaw Island Babies I have ever seen. Premies!! 7 healthy, but tiny babies. They have found the heat lamp and are doing well. We were worried that they would be too small to make it. But they are Ossabaw Island Pigs, a very very hearty breed. They are proving that their reputation for heartiness is not blown up for better marketing.
Even though our records showed that she should not be farrowing, she did! It was a good thing we visually inspect every one of our animals twice a day. If we had not, we would not have caught this pending litter. Since we make our living on the ones that make it, it is important for us to be diligent in doing our job even when its unexpected.
Farming is never dull!!
Our sows were getting ready to farrow in March and a cold snap was about to hit. We threw together these farrowing pens in our barn. We used pallets to make the walls and to make the divider to the creep area. This set up worked very well, but they were not as sturdy as what we were shooting for. Our sows tore through the creep divider with ease and they had to be reinforced and straightened up daily. The new piglets also found the weakness in having pallets, they crawled through the fork spaces and wandered around.
The creep area worked very well to keep the babies safe. Adding a heat lamp made it a perfect nursery area. When Momma called they all piled out and started eating.
We have upgraded the creep divider to a hog panel. We turned it upside down and enlarged 2 holes so the piglets can easily get in. The heat lamp and the babies are protected from the sow. We also went from 3 pens down to 2, added an ally between them for better access.
We have 1 Hampshire sow in the new setup. So far she has not revealed any flaws. Hopefully we have babies soon, I am getting excited to see how the new divider works, and how well it will hold up.
I will give an update when we give our final evaluation on the design.
There is a way to get great farm raised meat without having to buy the whole hog at once. Our CSA ( Community Supported Agriculture) program offers a share of 15 lbs. of meat each month. Plus, Discounts off of our retail prices are given for pre-payments of 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months shares.
We put our CSA customers first. Their orders are filled first. Plus we try include bonus products that we produce here on the farm when we can.
We will be implementing new CSA pricing options in the fall. The new options will include a Premium share of Ossabaw Island pork, or a Standard share of pork from one of our other fine breeds. Our current Members will continue to enjoy Ossabaw Island and Ossabaw Island cross pork for the duration of their share purchase. So if you buy in before our new options are implemented, you will be grandfathered into our Premium share.
Our Egg CSA is will be starting up soon. The hens are ramping up to supply us with great farm-fresh brown eggs. Get signed up now! Orders will be limited starting out this Spring.
For more information on our CSA please visit: http://burninr.com/BurninrCSA.html
Spring is an amazing time on the farm. Spring Babies, Spring Gardens, Spring Flowers, and Spring Showers. One day of sunshine for every 2 days of rain. Our farm is soggy.
I am hoping to get the garden started, but it is just to darn wet. My excitement to get rolling on planting is making me have no patience. Mentally planning the garden is just not the same as getting it done.
There is nothing quite like a surprise Rooster Flogging on Easter.
I was just telling my niece not to worry while picking the eggs, that they won’t do anything. Luckily, I bent down to pick up the last egg from the nest box. Right then wham!! Rooster Flogging!! It jump onto my face hit me with its spurs and pecked me at the same time. He was so quick I couldn’t even defend myself. That little pecker is lucky he was one of my favorites.
I had an inquiry about the fencing requirements for pigs, and what works best. I have practical experience, but I am no expert on fencing. I can only tell you what has worked for me on our farm.
My personal go-to for fencing is pig panel. 16′ welded wire panels that are spaced for raising pigs. They are approximately 3′ tall and are narrow spaced on the bottom and wider spaced on the top. The narrow spacing by design is to keep the young pigs in, but I have seen little piglets run full speed and jump through the upper larger spaced area. So it may slow them down a little. I have not had a full grown hog go over one yet, but they can eventually separate the seams of two panels and escape. Daily visual inspection of any fencing for hogs is a necessity.
Woven wire with spacing like the welded wire can also work if stretched tight enough and with posts close enough. Pigs will dig next to the wire and then lift it with their noses to crawl under the fence. This seems to be a younger pig trick, as they get older and fatter they tend not to try it.
Electric wire will also work fine if the pigs were properly trained to respect it. A 2 or 3 wire system will keep most pigs in. I used this successfully even to separate breeding groups and boars. the fencer needs to be strong, and daily inspection of the fence is necessary to make sure they have not pushed dirt onto a lower wire to short it out.
Fencing is really a personal choice. It may depend on what you have available, or what budget you have to get started. Electric wire is the cheapest per foot of fence, and the pig panel is the most expensive. I have had all three in use at the same time.
No matter what fencing I have up, I find the best way to keep them where I want them is to keep them adequately fed at all times. I also bucket feed twice daily, if one does get out, it will come running back to the bucket.
I just read an article about McDonald’s Artisan Chicken Sandwich. McDonald’s is simplifying the ingredients because they realize that their customers want to be able to recognize and pronounce the ingredients in the food they eat. It was the push for higher profits that made their chicken sandwich a target for change in the first place.
What can we use that is cheaper, something that we can pass off for real meat? How much can we push the federal guidelines for the allowance of “other stuff” in our meat. How can we convert scraps that we would normally throw away into something the customer would recognize and purchase?
The people are waking up to what these big corporations are putting in our food. Wood pulp as filler in the beef. Meat glue used to combine meat particles together to mimic what they used to sell. Meat trimmings left over from the cut room floor, pressed into a familiar shapes and seasoned to taste like what it is representing, is all to popular for these corporations. No wonder why sales are dropping, people will only buy into their farce for so long before they expect better.
Have you read the label on packaged frozen chicken breasts in your local supermarket? I did, I found out that what I thought were actual chicken breasts, were actually made from the meat taken from in- between the ribs. This rib meat is then meat glued together into the shape of a chicken breast. It is pretty convincing, I wouldn’t have known until someone told me to look for it.
My Grandpa always said that he would never buy a chicken unless it was a whole chicken. He was afraid that parts of the chicken that went bad would be cut away and they would sell the rest of the chicken as parts. He had great vision and knew that people would do anything to retain profit even at the expense of others.
A friend of my parents says that he would never buy canned beef. He said it was made from the cow’s bag. Could be true. And they would be right in saying that it is 100% beef. The only thing is, the consumer is expecting actual meat from a muscle group. As long as it can be passed off as something more appealing, the company will have a good chance of making a sale. Selling the cow’s bag would increase the revenue that they can produce from one animal.
Back in the day they may have used the cow’s bag as a leather pouch, but unless I am mistaken, I know of no recipes that call for it handed down through my family. I know that back in the day they used all parts of the pig, and would use the squeal if they could. That is being resourceful, and frugal. But I am sure they didn’t hide what was in their stew and call it something that sounded more appealing. And if something “fell” into the meat as they were processing it, they took it back out. Corporations just figure that 2% of “other” non meat stuff is great because they can sell that too.
It is sad when you can’t trust what you buy to eat. I think that the only way to truly be able to trust what you are eating is to grow it yourself. The second best way would be to buy from a local farm that raises their animals like you would.
This is why I raise my own meat!!