Well it’s been about three months of settling in – some great stuff has been accomplished, and I’ve also had a couple of setbacks. Nothing that isn’t manageable.
My 5 or so acre paddock is hard fenced – the main area, which I call the Lounging Section, is surrounded in cattle panels, with a number of 64×48 ft paddocks (3,072 square feet of space) for rotating my breeding stock through. What is challenging about moving pigs around a property is finding an avenue, or succession of paddocks, that gets them from point A to point B. I’m working on that system right now .
I also have a corral that was kind of functional when I got to this property – I took a lot of it apart and added some new 2x6s and metal panels to make it a little more secure. I use that as my incoming and outgoing area for pigs, especially for when they are ready to go into my stock trailer and onward to my butcher.
I have an electric line going all around the perimeter hard fence, on the inside. This is my backup system to the all electric rotational paddock system within it. The pigs now have a homing instinct in any case, and would likely make their way back to their shelters and wallows if they got loose, so right now I feel good about the whole system. The only weak spot is with the boar, who is now big and ornery enough to be able to really wreak havoc on even the cattle panels -especially if he smells a sow in heat, which I have plenty of now.
I have planted approximately 10 acres of oats and alfalfa – oats for grain and straw, alfafa for hay next year. It was a focused learning time, and now I have a good basic knowledge of how to begin to grow grains and forages in a former GMO corn field.
I am still approximately the same difference from my butcher’s processing facilities, so that makes a short ride for my pigs, and I really am happy about that. I delivered some of my first pigs to my customers this last couple weeks, and they are looking amazing – the meat is red and well marbled. These are the first batch of pigs that I have farrowed and finished on farm. Granted it was on two farms, but that was just life circumstances.
I bought a feed bin in which I plan on storing around 5 tons of barley – that barley I will ferment in 50 gallon barrels like I have been doing the last few years. I might also be grinding it beforehand to make a sort of pig gruel – digestion would be improved. We shall see on that.
All in all it has been a very eventful time, one of those periods in your life where it is difficult to maintain a blog. Will try to be more up to date as time goes by here, but that first rush of spring activity was very fertile!