Time to walk the pigs

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Mike with Bertha

I love this time of year.   We have 33 days until fair and life is busy.

The pigs are finally big enough to walk.   We wait until they are about 200 lbs.  If you walk them much lighter they run too fast to control.

They all have different personalities.  Yesterday only Mike and  Amanda were to walk.

We could very quickly see that Amandas pig, weighing only 175# is a runner.   We opened the pen and  she took off running, to the back hay field.  You don’t chase or they run faster.  Very nerve wrecking to watch the kids projects run away!

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Amanda and Snow White

Eventually, Snow White calmed down to walk.  Amanda uses a whip to walk, but with only very light touches.   Pigs are sensitive, a soft touch is enough to send then in the right direction.

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Mike with both Spot and Bertha

Mike uses a cane.  But again, with very little pressure.   Once the pigs have been walking for a week or so it becomes much easier.

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.