And yet we rarely had enough for ourselves. It just seemed to make more sense to sell the bacon then to eat it. Fools we were.
Then we got smart and downsized. Sold all the breeding stock and instead each year we now buy just a few feeder pigs for ourselves and a family member or two. We generally buy them at two months of age and have them butchered at about 7 months. We took our summer stock to the locker in October.
Last week we bought our spring stock. Ironically, due to our limited finances we can no longer afford to buy the awesome Red Wattle hogs we worked so hard to promote in Illinois for over a decade. Even at young ages, 8 weeks or so, they sell for between $125-150 each.
But, another farmer friend of ours had some Bershire Cross feeders available. He thought they were already were sold but that other farmer never picked them up. Anxious to decrease his large herd before the harsh winter hits, he sold us four fairly large piglets for just $70 each. A win win situation. Already almost 4 months old, they've got a solid start on their chops, roasts and bacon.
Because they have not been raised by us, and have run with a large group of hogs, they are not the friendliest group of porkers, (Red Wattles are real people pleasers) but they are healthy and adapting well to their new digs. I'm not that particular about their manners, I've been snubbed by bigger pigs in my life, I just hope they measure up taste wise. I so love Red Wattle pork.
We've housed them in one of our old farrowing houses, which needed some repair due to damage done by the last porcine tenants, and filled the interior with deep bedding of corn husks. Three long hog panels act as a temporary pen.
We always put our piglets in this type of smaller confined pen with a single hot wire across the back in order to train them to electric fence. Hogs have a tendency to go THROUGH a hot wire instead of backing up initially, so this pen idea works well to train them.
After a couple weeks, when they are respecting the electric wire, we'll turn them loose into a much bigger area to root and dig and sun bathe.
Even frozen ground can't keep a pigs snout still it seems.
With a steady died of organic hay, ground corn and good kitchen scraps these little piggies should be ready for the locker sometime in April, about the time we'll get a few more for our summer sausages!