Monday, July 14, 2014

Raw Milk Monday...Milking our Pigs

Going to take a tiny break from the IDPH raw milk issues and just tell you how we use raw milk for the non-humans on our farm.

Our pigs are very selective, they like their milk well cultured. Here's how we get that delicate balance of probiotic dairy for our fine hogs. First we take a cow.

And milk her. Then the milk is stored in a big cold stainless steel tank where customers come and fill their jars. Every other day the tank is emptied and cleaned cleaned and any leftover milk goes into one of our large white plastic barrels which Keith has fitted with handy spigots at the bottom.

While this whole, grass fed, organic milk sits in the barrels it goes through an amazing transformation becoming part cottage cheese, part butter, 100% of the good bacteria hogs guts (bacon and chops) thrive on.


Each day we drain the milk, which gets thicker and thicker as the milk sits, into buckets and carry them to our hogs. You might think that milk sitting out in the open, in the sun, in the summer might smell...horrible. But it does not. It smells rich, like good yoghurt or expensive well made cheese.
Little feeder pigs get less milk and bigger feeder hogs get more milk. It's all deeply scientific. Our breeder hogs, sows and boars do not get raw milk as being too fat can mean difficulty with breeding, conception and farrowing. Once a sow is a week or two from farrowing  we do supplement her grain with milk to help her keep up with the nursing demands of the future 10 or 12 hungry mouths.
Our pigs become real hogs when it comes to "milking time". They scream like women (some women)at an end of season 2 for 1 clearance sale.
Some in fact are so greedy they've been known to take drastic measures to ensure they get (more than) their fair share of milk.

 The end result? We get an amazing layer of very tender juicy fat on our chops, bacon, roasts. Once known as too lean, our Red Wattles have busted through that urban myth as well as a few of their hutches. They are frankly just a bunch of fat happy pigs.



  1. Wow, look at all that chunky milk! Who KNEW that it cultured itself in the sun and that all that is so good for pigs! Thanks for the post! Uh, can I ask a question. I thought I read somewhere on your blog that you don't feed grain. Was that just to cows? Do you feed grain (organic I'm sure) to pigs. And, obviously, chickens, etc. What kind of grain to you feed the critters? Once again, I wished I lived within driving distance of such yummy goodness.

    1. No cows...ever. The hogs however do get grain (corn, oats) every day plus hay or grass and the raw milk. We only feed chickens grain in winter as they are free range and can pick up all the pigs spill.

  2. Like Kris, I too wish I lived within driving distance of your wonderful farm. If we'd stayed in Central Illinois instead of going out West in 1986, we would be your best customers.

  3. Interesting! We keep saying we need a pig to go with our cow!

    1. Yes you do. Start with a Red Wattle they are the best

  4. Interesting post!
    great looking pigs