Here is is, the Last of The Mohogans. Specifically, this is the last little feeder pig born off our farm and raised by us for sale as a meat pig. The end of an era.
The other non red wattles behind him have all been sold. So after this fellow is gone, in a couple weeks (this pic is old he's much bigger now) we will finally be able to say that all the hogs sold off our farm were also born and raised on our farm. Each one begat from a mama and a papa who also reside here.
It took us 15 years to get to this point. We started by buying 100% of our feeder hogs in the days of pre-organic certification. We'd get them when they were very tiny, maybe 2 weeks old from a neighbor who raised confinement hogs. Often they were the runts of the litter and ones not expected to live, and we did lose about 30% in those early days since confinement piglets just aren't genetically disposed to being raised out of the controlled environments they came from.
But if we got them past that 2 month age they did fine. The raw milk we fed helped their natural immune systems kick in and when that happened they were booted outdoors where they THRIVED. We raised 5 then 10 then 15 hogs each summer selling them to friends and neighbors when they were ready for butchering. Last year 79 hogs left this farm for one of three reasons. As breeder, as a feeder or as bacon for a customers breakfast.
In 2009 we bought our first Red Wattle hogs. We kept a couple of our best crossbred sows and bred them to our RW boars calling them our "Spotted Wattles". None of these were ever used for registration stock, always for meat stock and we kept our RW sow line pure. But we always had more customers than we had pigs so even though our own sows were producing piglets regularly demand was greatly than supply.
So we still had to buy some feeder hogs from other farmers. Thus, at first, none of our herd was eligible for organic certification, (since they were born on non-certified farms) then about 25% were, then 50%, then 75%. When our hogs were processed we had two labels on our meat packages. One that had "Certified Organic by Mosa" and one that did not. It was a constant source of confusion for our customers.
How is it that hogs all fed the same food and raised the same way couldn't end up wearing the same package label? Ricky and I always had lots of "splainin' to do. When this last fellow goes to the locker he will leave behind him an entire large herd of hogs, all of them born and raised right here, all of them certified organic, all of them coming back from the same locker with the same organic label.
It took time, but the wait was worth it.