Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hog Haven

The time came, and we finally got our breeder hogs! My husband has been salivating over this day for awhile now. He is a huge bacon fan. I also happen to have a daughter (the one in most of the pictures featured on this post) who loves all things pork, but won't eat other meat (other than boneless fish or shrimp, as long as she has LOTS of tartar sauce to go with it - just learned this little tidbit at dinner tonight). I call her my little porkatarian. They are both the happiest beings on our little acreage right now.

Meet Buffalo and Sunny (Buffalo is the bigger one - she's about a year old and due with babies at the end of August). Sunny is about 5 months old and weighs around 90lbs. Buffalo calculates to be around 300lbs by measurements - but I did point out to my husband that we don't yet know how a pig (ours in particular) carries pregnancy, so we don't know if the girth measurement might have boosted the approximate weight or not.

Buffalo seems to be thinking "What, my feet were hot."

This isn't one of our pigs. She is a 20lb weaner (just been weaned from mommy) pig that we picked up for someone that is West of us. She'll go to her rightful owners tomorrow. They bought her as a feeder pig, I do believe.

Same little weaner pig (I've been calling her Miss Piggy). This picture is to show comparison size versus my younger daughter in the picture above with our two hogs.
My husband has been working very hard for the past 3 weeks straight to build our hog pens. He had hoped to do it in June, when it would have been much cooler, but his employer had decided he should work from 5:30am to 6:30pm until the very last day of the month. The money may be nice, especially for when he has to take any time off work (he used his vacation after our son was born), but it left us with very little time to get the hog pens built. They will have nice, large areas for their living quarters. Sunny will be separate from Buffalo. She'll have the biggest area and pen, for raising her young.

Our year old hens are keeping cool in the shade. One of the Reds looks like it has a white stripe across it's back because it is wearing a "Hen Saver"

These are the chicks. They are now 9 weeks old, I believe. The white with black feathers has a White Plymouth Rock mom and a Rhode Island Red dad. Pretty neat, huh? You can also see the blue bands I put on the female chicks so that we know which ones NOT to hatch next year.

The chicks live next door to the year old birds so that when it comes time to add the 8 female chicks to the coop there won't be too much hub-bub. The cockerals will stay apart because they will be dinner at some point. The husband wants to free-range them without a fence - I'm thinking about it.
The chicks have about 7 or 8 more weeks before the pullets should start laying eggs. We can't put them with the older chickens until they can eat layer feed. According to the books, the layer feed has too much calcium in it and should NEVER be supplemented for chick starter/grower feed. Good information to know. So glad we read it again (for maybe the fiftieth time) when trying to figure out if we could start doing a 50/50 starter/layer mix for feed. I also had to switch my one year old hens from the organic feed to Nutrena pellets (antibiotic-free, but not organic). I finally concluded, after 2 months of mystery, that it MUST be the feed that has been giving them runny poop and making them pluck their back and wing feathers. I tried everything else, including putting "hen armour" on the birds that were getting themselves ready for the crockpot. I could never find any evidence of mites, lice or worms but still treated (with only all natural items, such as herbs and diatamacious(sp?) earth) and there was no change. Once we changed the feed (well, it's still a mix because it's only been 2 weeks and you don't want to change too quickly or you risk making them very sick) their poop went back to normal, they seem to be putting more weight on (they had started looking smaller), and the feather plucking isn't near as bad as it was. Hooray for small victories!

I love my Toggenburg does. Notice how they are laying out in the open while everything else is hiding due to the heat? They are not just heat tolerant, but very cold-hardy as well.

Here are the Alpines, hiding in the shade (you can just barely make out Navasha at the back of the shed and Prong is laying under the giant spool).
The goats are doing well. Prong seems to have stomach issues here and there, but I did a trial-and-error run with him and finally we figured out that probiotics fix the issue. I have decided to start my search for a future Toggenburg buck and will sell Prong next year, especially if the stomach thing continues. I am not being cold hearted, or huffy about pure-breds, I simply do not want to pass on any genetic issue that might possibly be a reason for his health problems. Since I am going to replace him, I might as well do it with a breed that is better suited to our weather than stick with these Alpines that don't seem to fair well too far in either direction.

My Great Dane guarding the hay (or maybe she's just keeping cool). ;-)

The Basset Hound guarding the chickens (or maybe he's just keeping cool). Hehe.
Here are the goldfish that keep our stock tank clean. A couple "water bugs" have taken up refuge and swim around in there too. They look like little sea turtles. We consider them part of the tank now too.

What do you do with the leaky tank that is no longer being used as a chick brooder and still has the wood shavings/chick poop in it? I use mine as a base to pour soil on top of and plant CORN seeds! Yum! Only been a month since I planted, and look how wonderful they are doing (though a bit crowded - more survived than I had thought possible. Is it true, is my yellow thumb getting a little greener?!?!?!).

Front view. You can tell that the left side is the first to get sun in the morning. By the time the sun starts setting, it hasn't shown on this side of the house since around 3pm (maybe earlier).

Here are the potatoes from the tub inside our bedroom. They started to grow all on their own, no water or soil, a couple months ago. I had forgotten about them being in the bucket to keep cool after I had my son in January, so they just stayed there rather than being put somewhere dark. Kind of neat to watch mother nature do her thing.

My husband has been hard at work making these hog pens up out of oil field pipe (very, very, very, incredibly heavy). He's doing the last little bits now and then we can move the hogs into their permanent home.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I just enjoyed looking at all the pics and seeing how much the farm has grown! I am learning a lot about all of this by reading your blogs. I love the goldfish and how you use them to help keep the water clean! Little things I would have never thought about, super cool!