SNF’s Foray into Livestock…Pigs!

Getting set up for our pigs to come took forever….or at least the good part of the last two weeks. But, with the hard work behind us and a new, mild manure smell lingering on our boots, we are elated with the new addition to our farm. This is a blog post about our path to becoming the delighted owners of three Tamworth piggies.

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Ginger, Charlotte and Bob (short for Roberta) cuddle up for the first time in their new home.

When we started talking about what we wanted to do with the farm sometime back in December, raising pigs was close to the top of our list. I have always been in love with them (along with almost all other animals)…and it seemed like a good fit for the land (which is rough pasture and partially treed). However, we didn’t have a clue where to start, and we didn’t think we’d get started on it this year as there was/is so much to do just to get the land ready for veggies (see Farm Goals 2013 for what we thought we’d get up to this season).

However, in typical Patrick and Amy fashion, we couldn’t wait to get going… and started searching for weaners (i.e. pigs that have been weaned from their mum’s milk and weigh 30 to 40 lbs) shortly after arriving in Ontario. We looked on the internet but couldn’t find any pigs close enough to us to pick up, and checked out the local livestock auction but only came across one scared little weaner that went for $4.

And then we found Norm’s listing for Tamworth gilts (a gilt is a female pig that hasn’t had babies). So I drove down to check them out – Norm’s pigs were a little larger than we had hoped for, but they seemed very healthy and happy (in my very amateur opinion) and they were close enough that he’d deliver them to the farm once we got set up.

After we settled on purchasing three, and told Norm that we’d be ready to take them in a few days (a gross underestimation of time) we got to work getting our pig palace set up. The photos probably sum the next two weeks of set up best, so I’ll let them speak for themselves.

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Step one was to build the pig’s shelter. This one is portable and will be moved around on pasture once the land has dried up a bit more.
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The pig shelter takes it’s maiden voyage!
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The next step was to erect a fence. This being our first experience with fence building, and having being told that pigs have a knack for getting out, we built it fortress strong.
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With the help of this rented auger – those posts are 4′ deep.
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Next came the gravity fed waterer (we don’t have running water hooked up yet, but will come early summer). The free water barrel from the dump was a huge score! You can also see the solar fencer we got to run our electric fence (we’re off the grid for now)…that thing can fence up to 30 km!
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Norm arrived with the pigs on Saturday….with snow on the ground! Blah (the snow that is). Here they’re being transported out to the pig palace.
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The three lovely ladies explore their new home. As if those aren’t the cutest little pig butts eh?
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The piggies are getting well fed with mash and our veggie scraps and are settling in to their new home. Once the pasture dries up a bit more, we’ll be sending them out to root and forage (something that Tamworths do well).
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Little Yarrow has found peace with her new funny friends. As long as she gets as many treats as they do.
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Quite the setting for the pig palace eh? They get one of the best views on the farm, and are sheltered from the winds, tucked in below the hill.
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How could you not love that face? What a beauty!

So, we didn’t find weaners, (although we think we’ll get a few in June), but we did get ourselves three pigs, that if all goes well, will be bred in the summer. Next I want to write a post about the Tamworth breed, because they are just so darn cool….but that’s all for now.

Oink Oink…Snort.

-Amy