Friday, January 21, 2011

Pigs are Amazing.

That room looks like a pig sty. He eats like a hog. Fat Hog. Pearls Before Swine. Lipstick on a Pig.....

Poor piggies, they get a bad rap. Now, those sayings are rooted in the truth, but our colloquial sayings have somehow missed pigs really are quite amazing animals. Though they do wallow in the mud, it is simply a way to cool off because pigs do not sweat. They really are quite clean, and will potty train themselves. They are smart and trainable. But the most amazing thing about pigs is that they breed like rabbits.

Sows can be bred twice a year. Their gestation is about 3 and half months. They give birth to relatively tiny piglets each weighing about three pounds. The photo below is of a larger than average litter of 24 hour old pigs. It is normal to lose a piglet or two in the first couple days, but on average a sow will raise up eight piglets in each litter.

And piglets eat like pigs from day one. They grow quickly, and in addition to momma sow's milk, will nose around in the feed in the first couple days. The piglet below is two weeks old.

We normally wean at about 8 weeks or so depending on the time of year and our breeding schedule. The piglets continue to put away the food, and grow seemingly before your eyes. In a mere six months they have gone from piglet of a few pounds to tipping the scales at around 250 pounds.

At this point they are ready for the freezer, and momma sow has either had another litter or will soon.  That is a whole lot of pork production. . . delicious ham, bacon, chops, sausage....oh excuse me I think I just got lost in dreams of pork fat.

And before you tell me how fatty and bad pork is for you, please know that pork raised here, pork that is pastured is a lot leaner and contains a lot less of the bad fat than pork that has been raised indoors and exclusively on feed. It seems that the studies on this are just beginning, but you can tell when you cook it that is much leaner than the store bought pork you're used to.

So say what you might about pigs. Here, we are living high on the hog.


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  2. am a bit jealous since I know from personal experience just how great and how fun it can be, not to mention how rewarding, to raise pigs. I hope that we will soon be able to do likewise again. You are indeed living high on the hog. Good for you! I follow your blog and am always glad to see when you post something new. Thanks.

  3. Hi, we are getting ready to raise heritage hogs so I've add this to my blog list. Thank you!