Diary

PigsRSS feed

Tuesday 8 January, 2013

by Rosemary at 6:43pm in Pigs 7 comments Add your own

Last year, 2012, was the first year we’d kept pigs at Dalmore. We bought three Hampshire gilts, born 1st January, and had them slaughtered on the 21st August. We would have had them away earlier but we had an Introduction to Smallholding course running on the 18th August, so they had a stay of execution until that was passed.

Hampshire pigsOur Hampshire pigs.

Keeping them was fine; the house, which we bought way back about 2003, held up well; the fencing remained secure after an early scare and the pigs themselves were happy and healthy. The only issue was the water-logging of about half their pen. It didn’t seem to bother the pigs but it could have been better.

The pigs were fed Marriages Pig Nuts No2; we used a total of 49 bags costing £388. The weaners themselves cost £60 each. We used six small bales of straw as bedding, at £4.50. The kill price was £28 per pig. Butchery was £1/kg deadweight to cut and pack plus extra for sausages and bacon.

Transport costs included picking up the weaners, taking them to slaughter, picking up the pork then the bacon

The pigs killed out at 84kg, 85kg and 90kg deadweight. I have to say the pork is really lovely – very tender, lean and tasty.

However, next year, we’re going to try something different for three reasons – one, even on our relatively light soil, the pig pen was trashed; two, the grass in our poultry orchard grows faster in summer than the hens can keep it down – and I think time mowing grass is time wasted and three, the price of bagged feed continues to increase and I have a question in my mind about how sustainable it is, if the protein source has to be imported from South America.

So next year, we’re going to keep a couple of Kune Kunes. We’ve tried Kune Kune pork and bacon and it’s delicious. We know we won’t get the quantity of meat that we’d get from a “normal” pig, but we’re hoping that the lower output will be more than offset by lower input, particularly of bagged feed.

To explain, we have two laying flocks of 40 birds. Each flock has a house with three popholes and three paddocks – we can rotate the birds round the paddocks by opening each pophole in turn. This year, I have been moving the birds at the start of each month. Each of the six paddocks is about 400m2 and all are deer-fenced.

Three of the paddocks have been planted with a total of 60 apple trees; the other three paddocks probably won’t be planted until 2014. The idea is that the hens keep the bugs down, eat the grass and fertilize the soil and in return they get the shade and shelter from the trees.

This year, we have found that the paddock that hasn’t had hens on for two months needs to be cut before the hens go back on and mowing round the trees is a pain (so Dan tells me :-)). We did think about sheep, but I’m pretty sure our Ryelands will bark the trees, so we have decided to try a couple of Kune Kunes instead.

With sufficient grazing, we’ve been advised that the pigs will only need about 0.5kg of feed a day – maybe none in summer. Now, we’re reckoning that the KKs may take 10 months to reach a suitable slaughter weight i.e. they’ll be a year old but at 0.5kg a day, that’s only seven and a half 20kg bags of feed as opposed to sixteen bags for the big pigs. We’d expect the deadweight to be about 65kg.

IF this is accurate, and it’s an “if”, we’ll be getting 8.6kg of pork per bag of feed from the KKs, as opposed to 5.31kg pork per bag of feed from the big pigs.

Anyway, we’re going to give it a go – and we’ll put the results on TAS in due course.

Comments

Possum

Saturday 12 January, 2013 at 9:54pm

Interesting! I've been having similar thoughts. We are on clay and the combination of pigs and the wet weather has been fairly disastrous for the paddock. Kune Kunes would obviously be better for the land, but I'm not sure about the meat. Will follow your progress with interest.

Kaye

Sunday 20 January, 2013 at 11:24am

We kept saddlebacks this year (birthday present for my 15year old son who loves bacon, just what all 15 year old boys want !) Our biggest challenge was water for drinking- any advice on best drinkers on the market?

Rosemary

Sunday 20 January, 2013 at 7:48pm

We have a 6ft galvanised trough that ours have never managed to tip over. A friend of mine uses the type of horse bucket that fits inside a tyre.

HappyHippy

Tuesday 22 January, 2013 at 9:56am

@Possum - Kunekune meat is lovely, you just need to be careful with the feeding so they don't get too fat.

Frank

Saturday 15 February, 2014 at 11:41pm

Hi I've. A woodland I keep for wild life and am thinking of getting pigs to clear the brambles etc has anyone gone down this road and will be advised

Rosemary

Monday 17 February, 2014 at 8:30am

Hi Frank

Pigs are useful for clearing woodland - it's their natural habitat. We've never used them in this way but stick a post on the forums and folk on there will be able to give you more detailed advice.

ssebuliba dominic

Thursday 9 October, 2014 at 2:26pm

l want to thank you people for the general lnformation I have acquired from this web site.Actually I wanted to start up a pig farm but I lacked knowledge until when I have discovered the thruth about pig keeping am in East Africa Uganda

Leave a comment

Please use the form below to leave a comment. All fields are required unless otherwise indicated, and your email address will not be displayed or shared.

Some HTML allowed: <strong>, <em>, <blockquote>. URLs will be converted to links automatically.

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS