Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This little piggy....

Sorry for my absence in blogging, but life kind of got in the way for a few days! Darn life thinks it can just mess things up!

Last year Big Son was involved in 4-H and his project was pigs. We have an old barn that we use for 'things' like this. Some of our livestock is seperated out based on its needs and the pigs were in need of houseing. We bought 4 of them and Big Son wanted to share the pictures we took of them when we first bought them. When you show a pig for a 'meat animal project' they have to be of a certain weight range to be considered as part of the project. They have to be under 60lbs to be able to show for the local fair. That way everyone participating has a good shot at 'making weight'. Makeing weight means they have to be a certain weight by fair day 'weigh in'. If they are under that weight, they are not allowed to show because the are not a 'finished' animal... I know - lots of farm talk in this! Weigh in, finsihed, making wieght etc.... Anyway, he wanted to show you pictures of last years pigs. These pictures were taken March/April of 2007.

We had bought a 1 barrow and 3 gilts with the hope that we would raise a few of our own. A gilt is a female, unbread pig and a barrow is a 'nutless' pig.... I love saying that instead of fixed sounds naughty right! Otis was the barrow and Tillie, Bessie and Maude were the girl pigs. In the above picture from left to right is Otis, Maude and Tillie.

Bessie is the white pig - we call a pig like her a blue butt because they have blue spots or markings on - well, thier butt. Bessie has issues with having her picture taken. When others say talk to the hand, she says speak to the rump.

Now, when you are looking for a pig that is going to be a great 'meat pig', you want hams baby! Bessie had hams!! Her 'butt cheeks' were nice and round yet long and muscley, is that a word muscley? If not it should be...

Otis was Big Sons 'show pig' - He was the lucky one to go to the fair and be judged as a meat animal.

Otis had a thing for Big Sons boot - it tasted like chocolate he told me. He did, I swear...

Here Big Son and Lispy are 'pig wispering' - Lispy thinks its a crock of crap. His theary is, get the "pig cane' and they will move where you want them to go. However, Big Son is more in touch with his emotional side and would rather convince the pigs that they want to do somthing than force them to do it.... whatever works huh.

Here Lispy is trying to demonstrate how to handle a pig. She weighed more than he did at the time but he is fearless - FEARLESS I SAY!! I know some of you are thinking, why is she letting those kids get close to those animals like that? I was in the pen with them and the pigs were small compared to when they grew. We strive to teach our kids how to 'handle' animals and never, no matter how much you love them, care for them or trust them, that they are an animal and they DO turn on you at times. We have very calm livestock for the most part, because we feel it is important to work with them so they are used to us, but that NEVER asures us that they will not have a bad day just like people do.

So, Big Son did well his first year and the judge told him that he had a great pig!! Otis was bought at the meat auction by our neighbor who is a butcher. All of the animals sold at this auction are going to be processed for meat, so he knew all along it was coming. That said, it does not make it any easier sometimes. Knowing who bought Otis did help him know that he would be well cared for in his last day and that he would not 'suffer' in his death. Our neighbor told Big Son that he had done a great job in raising Otis and that he had lived a great life at our home. We raise animals for a living. For milking, meat, breeding etc. - but we care for them as though they were gold. In our eyes they have a purpose, wether for milk production, meat production or for the eggs we sell - they have value and are a living creature that deserves respect, love and a good home. We like to make sure that they have everything they need to be healthy and happy as an animal can be.

So, anyone got questions about raising pigs or showing in the fair? I would love to post more about what we do on the farm if you are interested.


Suzanne said...

You need to post alot about what goes on at the farm. Very interesting. This is my first visit here and I haven't had time to read the archives so forgive me if I ask a stupid question. Are you primarily dairy farmers? Omigosh, dairy farmers have got to be the most committed people ever. I love dairy farms. Most around here have disappeared. I've added you to my blogroll.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Mrs Mom said...

Great post Heidi!

I enjoyed your posts before, but the way that you teach the kids about the animals- how to respect them, and treat them with respect and dignity- has firmly cemented you as one of my favorite stops, and people to read.

I love Lispy...hehehe... He and Wrecking Crew here would just get along allll toooo well!

Cant wait to read more on the farm, and the kids! Keep them coming Milk Mans Mrs!

Heidi said...

Sue - THANK YOU! Yes, we are primarily dair farmers. We milk about 50 cows wich is almost unheard of anymore - if you dont have about 150-300 there is a good chance that you wont be farming long. NO question is a stupid one! We also have beef cattle to try to supplament our income, along with pigs on occasion. It tickles me completly that you are interested in our farm. People on inadvertinly uneducated about farming now days. It takes A LOT of work, but the rewards in what it teachs us and our children is worth it!! Thanks for stopping by and PLEASE come again - I will post more about the farm for sure!! Thanks too for adding me to your blog roll - how exciting!

Heidi said...

Mrs MOM - What a compliment! Thanks for it and I will keep blogging about our farm. Please forgive my gramar errors, spelling, etc. I am SO happy that you guys want to read what I have to say!! I will try to post somthing a few times per week and I am in the process of getting a digital camera so that will be EXCITING!! you may even get to see a calf born - lets all holler ye-haw to that!! LOL

Bayou Woman said...

Excellent blogging, Heidi! Keep it up!

Train Wreck said...

Hello! I just skipped over from "Horse Feathers!" I have a "Piggy Post" too! Well.. a "Piggy" in the title of a picture, post!
I love your blog name how cute!

Now I have to go check out you page!
Toodle Loo!
( I am listening to "Sugarlands" All I really want to do, it's what came to mind!) He! He!

Peggy said...

love your pigs! I don't have any of those yet.

Pamelotta said...

I'm kind of jealous of the life your kids get to grow up seeing. I think farm kids are some of the most well rounded kids there are!

Do you homeschool, too? That would be the icing on the cake!

My kids get to see stuff like that at their grandparents house across the street so they're getting to see some of it. John is at the age where he is fascinated with hunting, though, so I think it's time he learned how to take care of and love an animal, not just kill it for supper.

Very interesting stuff. Would love to hear more! And thanks for visiting my blog!

Cookie Sunshine said...

How sweet!

spanki said...

hello - just found your blog, i love reading about life on your farm! i am a 30 something mother of 3 boys and 1 girl, and can relate to your life!! i will be checking back in!!