It is good to know where your food comes from, although it is not always appetizing, thus it is with pigs. I want my children to be familiar with our food sources and the amount of work it can be to produce it. Hopefully it will make them more aware, more grateful and more confident. Therefore, the chickens, goats, garden and this summer, pigs.
Lessons learned about pigs.
- Pigs bite. Really truly, I have been bitten by a pig. She just reached up and bit me on the back of the leg as if she was a dog. The bruise was a black, blue and purple beauty. I went to some function or another with my husband that week and it was SOO tempting to dress up all elegantly in a black skirt and say (like anyone would ask) “Yup, that’s where I got done bit by a hawg.”
- Pigs stink. Those books that say they don’t are lying. I wouldn’t enclosure raise pigs again, if we do pigs again it will be on pasture. Otherwise, we will support some real farmer who has the space to pasture raise.
- Pigs eat a lot. We really needed to figure out how to store food by the ton and buy it once from a granary. It would be both cheaper and easier. When we get the meat back, I’ll run the numbers. That’ll be fun…not.
- Some pigs eat more than others. There was a distinct size difference between the two pigs while they were sharing a feed pan. Marcus added another pan and their final hanging weights were only 4-lbs apart.
- We would also start our project earlier in the year. Packing a five gallon bucket of water over ice is its own winter sport.
Pigs were a splendid first meat project. No one got attached to them. After they bit me, they lost their names and became known as the daughters of Beelzebub.
The butcher came Wednesday, shot the pigs and drove away with the carcasses. It took him about 25 minutes from the time he pulled the driveway until the time he left. None of us chose to watch them die. Tales of pig butchering usually involve the pigs squealing, nary a thing did we hear. The most awareness of the animals going to die was the day or two before the butcher was scheduled to come. They were prepared “Your days are numbered and their number is___” I would intone to them each morning I fed them. We weren’t exactly friends after I got hawg bit. Not even the child who once burst into tears at the table due sheer carnivore guilt has shed a single tear, there has only been anticipation for the return of the pig in little white packages. Wherein, I shall have the last bite.