As if taking care of chickens, growing vegetables, anticipating the arrival of a new greenhouse and working a real job for a living isn’t enough, we decided that raising a couple of pigs for meat sounded like a great adventure! With Basil the dog’s knee surgery I found out through conversation that one of the vet techs at her vet clinic breeds pigs and sells piglets to raise for the freezer! These folks also can do vet medicine for all sorts of farm and ranch animals including our chickens and pigs! Woohoo!
We have a great place to dedicate as a pig pen. It will allow them to root around and turn over the dirt and create mountains of fine fertilizer for our garden!
As with keeping a dog, a pig’s needs are pretty basic: shelter, food, water, some shade and a place to wallow around in mud because they don’t sweat. We will buy them next month (March 2015). It takes about 5 months to raise them from 30 lbs to 250 lbs. The vet tech (Kayla) also recommended a processor that does good work. From my never ending reading and research (my wife teases me that I need to be so well versed on these subjects that I could teach a class! – and that’s bad why?) a 250 lb pig will provide between 150 to 180 lbs of meat. This is in addition to the 4 legged composting machines that they are. All of our scraps, Whey from Zina’s job, rooting around and, if I can swing it, produce discarded from local grocery stores, will provide meat and fertilizer. Of course they eat a lot of corn, but corn in the corn and wheat belt is pretty cheap!
I found a ranch and farm supply house up north of us that sell pig shelters. Being the cheapskate that I am, I had designed one that I was going to build. But low and behold! This one was the same dimensions and cheaper! Brilliant! I called up there and they had them in stock. I just needed a flat bed trailer to haul it.
Our local Uhaul rental center had a trailer available that was 6 feet by 12 feet in dimensions. The shelter is 6 feet by 11 feet! VERY tight squeeze! I figured, because it is a half oval, that they could put it in upside down (curved side down) and I’d be able to just slide it out. WRONG! They picked the thing up with a tractor equipped with skid blades and it JUST fit in the trailer curved side up. The problem is that it weighs over 100 pounds and it was just yours truly to get it the hell OUT of that trailer. Suffice it to say that there were many problems getting it out. MANY problems!! Had they put it in upside down it would have only taken a couple of minutes. The way they put it in the trailer, it took over an hour and much cussing. MUCH cussing!! I stood there at one point wondering if I’d have to take it all the way back up to the store and have them flip it. At one point I was gasping and cursing out the stupidity of getting older thinking that I MUST get this out of here because I am quickly losing my strength. As usual, I he-manned the sucker out. The next day I was so wasted and drained of energy that I lay around groaning and reading, wondering if this whole farm thing was a colossal mistake. BUT!! The ex-powerlifter tuff SOB got it out! ALL BY HIS LONESOME!!
So I now have the luxury of pulling the shelter into place with the tractor. I only need to install one side of fence to complete a rectangle and then string some electric wire and then bring on the piggies!
Here is the shelter IN the Uhaul:
Here it is after Godzilla heaved it out of the trailer!
Damn I’m good!