Wednesday 6 November, 2013
This is a topic that crops up from time to time on the TAS forums so it might be helpful to relate our experience this year.
We have kept two or three weaners almost every year since 2003; until 2012, we’d always had Tamworths; last year, we had Hampshires. One pig is just about enough for us for a year – we don’t eat a lot of pork (partly because we have poultry, beef and lamb in the freezer already) so our pigs are mainly converted into bacon and sausage.
This year we decided to have a go with Kunekunes for the following reasons:
- Two Kunes should do us for a year, so we can keep two (which is correct for welfare reasons) without flooding us with pork and without us having to sell pork.
- We were seeking a low input:low output system (as we have for our sheep and cattle). The £ cost of bagged feed has risen but also there is the environmental cost of imported soya.
- Kunes don’t make as much mess of the ground as big pigs.
The main drawback for me is that we didn’t support a British rare breed.
We bought two Kunekune castrates from Yonderton Rare Breed Pigs for £90 each. Karen breeds Kunes for meat so thay do have good length – rather than being short and round bodied. Our two, Ant and Dec, were farrowed on 28th January 2013 and we picked them up on 25th April.
As instructed, we fed them 1 1/2lb of pig nuts each per day; we used Marriages Pot Bellied Pig Nuts. This was supplemented with grass (of which there was a lot this year), veggies and fruit from the garden and from the local greengrocer. We bought a bag of brock potatoes for £10 and they had boiled spuds for a while.
The date of slaughter was determined by in part by the time of year and in part by the conditions of abattoir and butcher. We didn’t want to run pigs through the winter and our abattoir and butcher like to get private kills done before November so the pigs were duly sent to slaughter on 22nd October.
We are very pleased and a bit surprised with deadweights of 49.5kg and 42kg. Looking back the invoices, we used eleven 20kg bags of feed, costing £95.59. I had to triple check this but it’s right enough.
The output is six joints of pork (leg and shoulder) totalling about 10kg – so one every other month, which is spot on. We have 61 500g packs of sausages – some plain, and some Cumberland and 12 packs of pork and apple burgers – so that’s Saturday brunches sorted for the next year, with some over for the odd BBQ. And I’m picking up 23.8kg of bacon in two weeks – again, Saturday brunch sorted J
The butchery cots were £295; £60 kill and transport; £100 to cut (£1.10/kg dw); £2 for waste disposal; £47.60 for the bacon processing (£2/kg) and £85.20 for the sausages and burgers (£1.20 / 500g pack for sausages, using natural casings).
The total cost is therefore £571 for just over 70kg of pork, bacon and sausages or £8.15 / kg. If I add in transport costs, it goes up to £10 / kg (I was in Lanark anyway when I picked up the weaners).
I’ve just compared this to a couple of websites selling free range pork and We’ve got ours for less that we’d pay on the open market for a similar product, which is fine.
Apart from the financial aspect, the Kunes were a joy to keep. They were very friendly and not at all intimidating. However, although they don’t root like a Tamworth, they do root especially as the grass went off a bit and they got bigger, so there is some grass restoration work to be done now.
On balance, we’ll be repeating the exercise next year. :-)