Sunday 22 November, 2015
As many readers will know, we don’t breed pigs here at TAS. Like many smallholders, we buy in a couple of weaners in the spring and fatten them over the summer.
This year, we had two Oxford Sandy and Black castrates, a bred we haven’t had before. We’ve had Tamworths in the past and Kunekune for the last two years, but we do like to support the British rare breeds if we can.
The two pigs were born 15th March (Mothers’ Day) and w picked them up from the breeder on 15th May, along with two of their sisters, that a friend of ours has bought for breeding.
We had sectioned off a bit of field with new fencing this year – it’s just under 100m square (which regrettably disqualifies it from our Basic Payment area L). We fed Harbro sow nuts at 450g / pig / day for each month of age, in two feeds. We capped the feed at 2.25kg / pig / day. They didn’t get a lot of extras – a bit of fruit and veg and a few eggs, when available. The cost of the feed was just over £100 per pig. They were slaughtered w/c 26th October at Shotts Abattoir, at 32 weeks.
Spoke to the butcher on Friday and he said they were very fat L He didn’t have the figures in front of him but he thought they were about 94kg deadweight. I guess I could have had them away a month ago but I had in my head mid October to get the pigs, lambs and steer away at the same time with the haulier, which is what we did last year. In the end, they all went separately anyway so I could easily have had the pigs away earlier.
With this year’s experience behind me, I’ll be working on the weight tape rather than the calendar next year and when the get close to 100kg liveweight, I’ll get them away.
I’m a wee bit disappointed that I haven’t done a better job with them (although we will have some lovely sausages and lots of them), but it’s all learning. We sold the second pig to four families in Carnoustie – as a community pig. We have to have two for welfare reasons and can’t USE two in a year, so we sold No2 pig at cost. Looking at the FB photos, they’re having much fun sausage making (with sloe gin and raspberry vodka not in the sausages!!!) and we’ve said we’ll be happy to do the same next year. But hopefully, the pigs will be a wee tad slimmer.