from piglet to hog

The kids raised their fair hogs, but also raised several extras for sale.  And one for the freezer.

Our freezer piglet arrived the last weekend of May. Cuter then any of the other piglets (of course!)  He was tiny, the smallest of the nine.

He was quickly named Floppy.  He was a Duroc, a breed know for red skin, floppy ears, and rapid weight gains.

Floppy May 2011, about 50 lbs

I should have paid attention to that last breed trait.  Rapidly gains weight.

He was an eating machine.  He would occasionally fall asleep with his head the feeder, wake up and begin to eat again.

He kept growing.  And growing.

By October 4 he was almost 400lbs.  He was truly an eating machine.  In 129 days he gained 348 lbs!  He averaged 2.7 lbs a day.

Soon he will be feeding us. Sometimes this is hard for me, as an ex-vegetarian.  But I know he

Floppy almost 400lbs

had a good life and was treated humanly. The kids on the other hand, aren’t phased at all.  They know what they eat, and know they had a hand in raising healthy meat.

Next year, I think we should opt for an uglier pig, maybe then I wouldn’t be sad.

And so it begins again

The County fair has been over for a few weeks, the ribbons have been put away, and for the most part the house no longer appears to be a livestock supply showroom.

So, you think we would take a breath and enjoy the time. But my husband is already gearing up for next year.

Should we show at the state fair? How many of the kids want to show steer, or do they stick with just smaller animals? Everyone want a hog? How will we raise them differently to hope for that grand champion trophy?

I am just personally thrilled that all 3 kids want to show again next year. It is my favorite “whole family” activity. This year’s fair didn’t go as expected, and with some disappointments in showmanship.  That meant the most to me, kids that expected to win showmanship but didn’t even place in the top 10. They swallowed defeat and are willing to try again.

The kids decided not to raise any of our own bottle fed calves for the freezer, I think they were too attached.  So our extra calves went to auction.  But I hate to raise beef in our yard and still have to buy beef at the supermarket.

So we went out and bought our newest addition.

Meet Pete the Piedmontese. He is on the right.

Piedmontese are an Italian breed of cattle known to be lower in fat and cholesterol. They are double muscled, so they end up looking like a body builder.

They don’t do well in the county fair show circuit (double muscling is seen as a delicacy in Europe, but a fault here), so he is just for our freezer. I am claiming that I wont get attached. But we shall see.