We are pig farmers.
Let me share a bit about our diverse pig farm:
We raise pigs in different ways on our family farm. We have modern style pig barns where we raise hogs from 50 pounds to market weight, or roughly 280 pounds. Those barns host around 1,000 head of pigs apiece and we have 4 of them, in two different locations. My husband and an employee handle the day to day chores and oversight on those barns. (I wrote a post about Our Modern Pig Barns if you’d like to see more about them.)
Wait, it only looks like you have 10 pigs in your pictures on Twitter, where are the others?
We also have about 15 sows that we raise outdoors and a handful of their offspring that we have outdoors and in barns with access to the outdoors as well. This is our hobby and we show those pigs in livestock shows.
Those sows (Mama pigs) farrow in farrowing crates inside in the warm barn in the winter and sometimes farrow outdoors in the summer with lots of bedding. Either way, they are well cared for as any pig in our care is. The reason you see lots of pictures of these animals (the show pigs) is that they are in my direct care and I always have my phone with me when I do chores (stay-at-home farm Mom’s do that).
Sometimes I catch photo bombers in my pictures… see below, top left corner.
In the modern barns, I have come too close to dropping my phone between the slats (where the manure falls through the floor), so I leave it in the car… usually! (See the slats in the picture below… oh, and did you know that white pigs aren’t the only pigs we can raise in modern barns? This breed is called the Berkshire.)
Who makes decisions on your farm?
The one thing I know is there is no one more qualified to judge how their animals should be cared for, than any farmer on his or her own farm. There are so many variables that play in to the type of farming setup on each farm. (Think: facilities, experiences of the farmers, etc.)
We consult veterinarians regularly to assist in keeping our pigs healthy and well managed. It is essential to keep the pigs in our care comfortable, because then they will be most productive and grow to market weight efficiently. This modern pig farming is what puts dinner on the table for us and gives us the ability to keep our hobby of raising MORE pigs, a possible venture.
Why raise pigs in barns you ask? What about the dreamy pictures I take of pigs swimming in pools, in the summer?
Well those pigs would give their curly tail to be in a 70 degree modern style barn during the winter weather this time of year.
Plus, there is a mountain lion (caught on video a mile away!) in our neck of the woods, so I’m always a nervous wreck when those wild (animal) rumors swirl. Here’s a picture of the 3 Duroc (breed name) girls that got a lot of our attention this summer… this was their nightly pen, before their move to a shed on a big lot, with SNOW. I’ll remind you, this is our hobby and nothing that really makes us a lot of money. We have chores up to our ears, but do enjoy it.
Hollywood hits the farm…
Recently, many celebrities have weighed in on their opinions of how pigs should be raised. Are they entitled to those opinions? Why sure they are. (Does that mean we’re entitled to select their wardrobe for a tour or the playlist of songs during their show? Kidding.) Aside from that, I want you to know if you have a question about raising pigs, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’d love to talk pigs with you… or pie, or cookies, or breads or cakes, etc.
It can be hard to put yourself and your farm out there…
There are many detractors in the social media sphere that make it difficult to “stick ‘yer neck out there”, and tell your farm’s story. These people (who typically are paid) will do anything to smear your way of life, whether they prefer not to eat meat at all, or raise hogs differently than you do. I began blogging to share recipes. However, my family’s life is entwined with farming and pigs so much, and it is something I like to share a bit because we are proud to be pig farmers.
I understand that some of my friends (most of my very best friends) are removed from the farm, ie: didn’t grow up on a farm or have a family tie. Production agriculture has changed the methods of farming (to meet the demand for food), but will never change the need to provide quality care to animals. Yes, farms need to make a profit to survive, and no farm will be profitable without providing the best care to the animals they raise. Whether in the show barn…
or the big barn…
We are proud to eat the pork that’s on your dinner table too…
(Photo courtesy of Darcy Maulsby.)
At the end of the day, know that the pigs we’re raising in our barns end up on our dinner table as they do on yours. We’re proud to provide a safe, delicious product (hello, bacon) for many families to enjoy.
And, I want to sincerely thank you for reading along with me, your support means everything and I appreciate it. And if you read to the end of this post, leave a comment (about anything, how about your farming experience(s)?) here and I’ll be drawing for two #RealPigFarming “Pigs The Inventors of Bacon” t-shirts at the end of next week!
As usual, I have so many pictures I wanted to add to this post and I’m going to do just that. Here’s the extras!
This little guy loves to welcome new feeder pigs at the barns… mostly because he gets to see a big semi.
This can be what a #realpigfarming date-night looks like. I think this semi is gorgeous… and our trucker is simply, the BEST.
Kids like to play in dirt out in the lot.
And check for milk to see if a sow is getting close. (This is Sandra, she’s quite a nice Mama and we’re always nearby when the kids are around these big girls.)
My poor little girl came out to meet her new Christmas gift (her Dad’s gift) that she named: Vanilla Ice Cream. She had the flu and dressed herself to come outside to meet her new girl.
When we let the sows out of the crates to wean the babies, the kids love to hop in and play.
He enjoys being in the big barns, helping adjust feeders and cleaning out waterers.