2012 Plans for the Farm

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Chickens, Farming, Garden, Pigs, Turkeys | Posted on 16-04-2012

Our 2012 plans are a bit different than they were in 2011. I had huge plans last year. They included chickens, pigs, turkeys, guineas, bees, & a dairy cow. Some of those came to fruition & some did not.

This year we’re going to take it easy. Our chickens from last year total about 15. Around 10 of those are 2 years old so in the fall they will serve as our stew chickens for the winter. It will be hard to part with them, as I know each one of them, but such is the life on a farm. The other 5 will stay around another year. We still have 1 guinea hen, who at this point is just a noisy pet (although she does give us 1 small egg per day). Four turkeys remain, 2 hens & 2 toms. They’ll stick around for now. I unsuccessfully tried to incubate around 20 eggs. Not a 1 was fertilized. I do believe that 1 of the toms will grace our Thanksgiving table this November. We also have the 51 Araucana & Silver-Laced Wyandotte chicks. All of the cocks will feed our bellies this winter, & the hens will start producing eggs around August.

We are considering not raising pigs this year. Partly because I haven’t heard back from my Gloucestershire Old Spot source, & partly because we’re thinking of investing the money in some other areas. We still don’t have a fence or barn, & we would really like to get those things taken care of so that we can add a dairy cow to the mix. Our freezer will be pretty full of meat after next week (more on that to come) so we should be okay skipping the pigs this year, & possibly finding a local source for bacon & sausage after ours runs out. I can’t survive without those!

Lord willing, we will also be planting a fairly large garden to provide all of our summer vegetables, & hopefully will be able to preserve some also. We just need someone to come do some tilling for us. Although the gardening will be tough with my ever expanding belly, & a little one due at just the time when I need to be canning all those tomatoes! If it’s meant to be then the Lord will help me find a way.

Our honeybees died over the winter. I’m hoping that Alex & I can take a beekeeping course next spring & then we can add those back into the mix. I was just too scared of them last year.

So, that’s it. Much smaller plans but maybe much more doable. I’m still very excited about all that we have going on here, & everything that we have to look forward to!

Pig stories

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Pigs | Posted on 01-08-2011

Yet another pig post already. This weekend was full of pig problems. On Saturday afternoon Piglet developed purple ears and a swollen purple snout. I was googling “purple ears” and trying to find out something from my Storey’s guide, but had no luck. I was worried we may have to call the vet today. However, he started getting better yesterday. We think that he must have gotten dehydrated (they’re always knocking over their water).

Yesterday we arrived home from church a little earlier than normal because we knew the pigs would need water. There was only 1 pig inside the pen. One? There should be 2 right? After some uh-ohs and general looks around, we changed clothes & called Nana & Papaw to come help.

Fortunately we looked for less than an hour before we found him in the corn field. I was able to entertain him with feed until the Hubby arrived and tackled him. He carried the back feet & Nana & I carried the front feet. We determined he has to be weighing in at around 100 lbs. now. The heat index had to have been over a 100 degrees. We were all HOT! Including Rusty the pig who needed several minutes of hosing off before standing again. We put him in a more secure pin & are praying that never happens again. God is good!

Pig update

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Pigs | Posted on 27-07-2011

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Here are our boys at around 4 months of age. They are adorable and very friendly (although at feeding time they can get a bit nippy). The kiddos have named them Piglet and Rusty.

We have them in hog panel right now that we move around the yard. They have a pretty good diet of white clover, various weeds, kitchen scraps, and non-medicated hog pellets. They’re gaining weight beautifully. At around 7 weeks they were 23 lbs., and now have to be pushing 75 lbs.

I’m hoping we’ll be able to slaughter at the beginning of December. It will be hard to tell them bye though.

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Pigs are here

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Pigs | Posted on 24-05-2011

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We spent all of Saturday purchasing and putting up a fence for the pigs. We opted just to use t-posts and cattle panel. Our plan is to move them as they root up the giant ragweed and clover. Andy worked very hard on this and did a wonderful job.

Monday morning we hopped in the car and drove about an hour and a half to Illinois. We spoke with the farmer’s son briefly and he showed us 3 barrows ( castrated males ) to choose from. We chose 2, paid him, and were on our way. It was pretty uneventful.

Once home we successfully got them in the fence, there was some squealing involved (fortunately just from the pigs). They were fine for a few hours until I decided to go visit them. They got spooked and jumped right through the holes of the panel. Uh-oh! They were actually quite easy to catch because of their minute size (only 23 lbs).

We decided they weren’t quite ready for the cattle panel so they are inside a temporary enclosure made with hog panel. We have an old dog house with straw inside for them to sleep in. They are happily eating their feed ration and rooting around the rest of the time. They are still very leery of us. I’m hoping that will change in time.

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Book Review Thursday

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Posted by Angie | Posted in Pigs | Posted on 17-05-2011

May 5, 2011

Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs

I will preface this series by stating that as the mother of 4 young children the majority of books that I “read” are just skimmed through. Such is the case with Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs. I read the chapter that I thought was pertinent to us, and will read through the rest as needed.

This will be our first year of pig farming so the most important chapter for us is “Raising Hogs for the Family Table.” It has all of the basics in there for raising feeder pigs. Housing and feed were the 2 areas that I found most helpful.

We haven’t been able to decide what to do about fencing and housing. I was able to glean a few ideas from the book. A good suggestion was to place the pen near the garden in order to throw the pigs the garden waste. Insulating the roof of the pig house to prevent condensation, and building the house up off the ground were points I had not considered. Since we will be moving the pigs around I’m hoping that we can build something light enough to move.

After reading the book I have decided that we will be using pellets to feed our pigs. They are a perfectly good choice for small-scale farmers. There is information on how much protein each growing stage needs- starting at 7 lbs. all the way to slaughter. Another bit of information that caught my attention was that you can limit feed your pig. Limit feeding is giving the pig only about 90% of the feed the pig might want. This produces a much leaner carcass. We’re hoping that the Gloucestershire Old Spots will be pretty good foragers and will be happy getting much of their feed from the clover and weeds on our property.

Here’s a note for those of you suffering with flies- ducks are great for controlling your fly problem. I am going to have to check that out. The flies are bad enough with the chickens. I may have to abandon ship once we add in pigs and a cow.

This was a book that I borrowed from the library. I will definitely be adding it into our personal collection.