Farm Life, Food & Swine

We Are Pig Farmers

We are pig farmers

Pig Farmers

Let me share a bit about our diverse pig farm:
Pig Farmers
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.)

Pig Farmers

Wait, it only looks like you have 10 pigs in your pictures on Twitter, where are the others?

Pig Farmers
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.
Pig Farmers
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.
Pig Farmers
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.)
Pig Farmers
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 are Pig Farmers
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.
Pig Farmers
Why raise pigs in barns you ask? What about the dreamy pictures I take of pigs swimming in pools, in the summer?
Pool pig 2
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.

Pig Farmers
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.
Pig Farmers

Hollywood hits the farm…
Pig Farmers
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.
Halle1 Pigs

It can be hard to put yourself and your farm out there…
Harvest 2014
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.
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…
Weaned Pigs Oink Cinnamon
or the big barn…
Pig Farmers

We are proud to eat the pork that’s on your dinner table too…
Cristen Clark pork breakfast sandwich

(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.
Pig Farmers
GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!
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!

EXTRAAAAA!
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!
Pig Farmers
This little guy loves to welcome new feeder pigs at the barns… mostly because he gets to see a big semi.
Pig Farmers
This can be what a #realpigfarming date-night looks like.  I think this semi is gorgeous… and our trucker is simply, the BEST.
Pig Farmers
Kids like to play in dirt out in the lot.
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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.)
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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.
Pig Farmers
When we let the sows out of the crates to wean the babies, the kids love to hop in and play.
Pig Farmers
He enjoys being in the big barns, helping adjust feeders and cleaning out waterers.
Pig Farmers

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65 Comments

  • Reply Trisha December 10, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I appreciate reading a good farm blog. I was raised on a farm with dairy, sheep, chickens and the occasional beef steer. Your children will cherish the memories you are making.

    • Reply Cristen December 21, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Thank you Trisha! We love what we do, even though some of the lessons are a little interesting to teach. Memories for sure!

  • Reply Rich December 10, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing your farm experiences. I also raise pigs the hard way. I’m sure there are many days the pigs would prefer to be inside. I also raise Berkshires, so I feel your pain in dealing with the most stubborn breed. Keep up the good work.

    • Reply Cristen December 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks Rich! Thinking of you and your chore-list during this cold time of year!

  • Reply Shari December 11, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Love your blog as our family is just like yours except my children are older. Our son grew up in our nursery buildings from the time he was 5 and could pretty much do anything out there. We built more finishers over the years and his own a few years ago. He and his wife farm with us now and just welcomed our first granddaughter 5 months ago! I know she will be out there with the pigs just like her dad. It taught our kids so much responsibility and everyone says they have the best work ethic around. Wish more people could realize how much work and care goes into those cute little pigs we raise. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Chapelle December 11, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    We just recently found your blog & love it! We’re a family of 6 in NH. We’ve been raising 2-6 feeder pigs for the past few yrs. This season we’re overwintering 2 gilts. We’re shopping for a boyfriend for them now & hope to farrow 2 batches of piglets this spring. Thanks for the pork sandwich recipe, I’m usually at a loss for what to do with my plain ground pork.

    • Reply Cristen December 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      I hope you like this recipe! I do have a few recipes up here (if you search “ground pork” or “pork” in the search bar they will pop up) because I too, can never think of what to do with the ground pork. I’ve just been substituting it for ground beef in everything and also have been subbing it for sausage in my breakfast sandwich! Do you all have Lawry’s seasoning available in your area? I swear it is the best seasoning EVER for ground pork! (I promise I wasn’t paid to say that, either!) XOXO from Iowa! Hope you have an easy time finding a boyfriend for your girls!

  • Reply Shelley June 3, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I really enjoyed this. Ya learn something new everyday!!

    • Reply Cristen June 16, 2016 at 2:57 am

      Thank you Shelley! Hugs!

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