Friday, September 17, 2010

Pig Heaven


We finally got the hot wire fence up and working for the pigs. Now they have a nice luxurious place to root around. They have already eaten every acorn and hickory nut that had fallen onto the ground and just wait around hopefully for more manna from heaven. Lucky for them the trees in the pen are loaded this year.

They rooted around the entire perimeter of the fence as close as the could without getting shocked the first day and now the entire area is rooted up. They will have been in there a week tomorrow and haven't escaped so far. We stayed out there and waited until they had both gotten shocked a few times to make sure they wouldn't just bolt out of the thing, then Ruger came over to greet them and got the same treatment but on the other side of the fence.

So far it all seems to be working out. I finally dragged the trough and water bucket out from the dog pen they had been staying in the other day and now feeding and watering them is sooooooo much nicer. I don't have to schlep through the boot sucking muck anymore! Love that!

You can see the boy pig is significantly smaller than the girl pig. She's a HOSS. She is mean to that boy pig. She roots him around and rides him and bites his ears but we hope now that they have more space that he'll start catching up to her.

The last time we had pigs (which was also the FIRST time we had pigs) we had two boys and Bryon and Chris castrated them. This time we got a boy and a girl and Chris had the vet castrate him. Next time we think we just need two girls!

All I know is I am so ready for some sausage but it will probably be January again before we can butcher them. We'll take them to a local packing plant for the job. We can handle chickens and a deer from time to time if we HAVE to but that is such a big messy job. Until we have an outdoor kitchen of some sort (which we might someday) I saw take it to the packing plant.

Although I always worry as to whether after all our hard work with the animals that we are actually getting what we take in there. I just don't want to think about that too much.

On another note, my broilers are coming along nicely, this is week three for them. I should be ready to butcher them mid Oct. And my Buckeyes should start laying eggs in a couple more weeks. I am ready! I've only had to buy three dozen eggs so far but still, even the organic store bought eggs aren't the same. Bryon said the other day he wasn't eating another egg sandwich until we had our own eggs again.

I still have two roosters. One is dominant and crows a lot but I never can catch it crowing so I can't figure out which one it is. I want to keep the most dominant one, but until I can determine which one it is for sure, I guess I'll keep them both a while longer. One has a much redder head than the other so I THINK that might be the dominant one. I know turkey's get real red headed when they are "excited" and I figure these two guys are probably starting to feel sort of warm and tingly about things ;)

I've been letting them out in the evenings and unlike my previous laying hens, these guys, so far, will come running when I call and go right into the chicken yard so I can lock them back up. When I need to leave early, that is a big help. I hope they never wise up that they could hold out if they wanted to and I couldn't do a thing about it except wait until they go in. In this case, dumb birds are a blessing I think.

We got the garden all cleaned out last weekend and have planted some late lettuce and carrots. Some cantaloupes came up volunteer. I don't think they'll ever ripen before frost but we are just letting them grow just in case.

We also planted some winter wheat in our old garden plot out by the kennel. It's growing so fast though we are worried it will be done too early and we won't have a harvest off of it. We really have no idea what we are doing with it but hope to be able to harvest it and get enough flour from it to make some bread. We'll see. It's an experiment and it won't be easy to be successful at it but we figured it was worth a try.

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