Friday, May 16, 2014

Farrowing Frenzy

Mad Max and his new gal pal
After a rough winter and the loss of two Red Wattle litters due to the extreme cold we have ended up with a shortage of available feeder hogs for sale. This means less pork available in our farm store to sell by the piece to our regular customers, less carcass meat available for those who like to buy in bulk (buy a whole hog and have it cut up the way you want) and many less breeder hogs to sell.

Breeder hogs are the best of the best. They must come from two registered Red Wattle hogs and they must meat specific breeding criteria set by the Red Wattle Hog Association; nice ears, sturdy wattles, good confirmation, 12 or more well placed teats etc.

It's a bit disheartening to realize even I personally could not meet the standards of a Pig Association.

But our two recent gilt (unbred female hog) purchases, Gidget and Gizmo, do. We purchased them a few months ago from a farm up north and recently placed them in with our gentlest boar Mad Max.

Max is a brute size wise but his manner is impeccable. Friendly without being crass, talkative without dominating the conversation, and more than willing to share his sleeping quarters. Although he is a deep brown/black color now he was a beautiful copper red as a piglet.

Paired with the Gidget/Gizmo sisters we are expecting a large group of piggies from the threesome, but not for another 3 months yet. Gestation for these hogs is 3 months 3 weeks give or take 3 days...we generally count to four months on the calender and then place them in private farrowing houses about two weeks before that.

In the meantime those sows (hogs that have given birth before) that lost litters this winter were re bred and our showing signs of impending litters. You know, asking for extra ice cream after meals and furniture rearrangement. We are expecting four litters in the next month.

In the meantime, those litters that did survive over the winter are now reaching market size. The first week of June, 6 fat pigs will go to Bittners Eureka Locker, our favorite "chop shop" All have been pre-sold and 2 of them will go back into our Farm Store Freezers.  Finally, even we the lowly pig farmer will have sausage again!

I'm heating up the cast iron skillet as we speak.


  1. It's a joyous day when sausage and bacon once again grace the table of the farmer.