Spring Piglets

by 1 April 15, 2015

Spring is the time for new beginnings! So with that in mind, we at Copicut Farms have decided to start a blog. The intention of this blog is to share with you, our customers and members, delicious recipes, tips on simple living, projects we undertake and further insight into our livestock and farming practices. We feel it is beneficial for our customers to understand the source of your poultry, eggs and pork, and how your patronage supports our farm, as well as how our practices support the local community, agricultural and otherwise. If you are already a member of Copicut Farms, you may be aware that you are directly supporting a yearly project through the purchase of your farm share. Last year it was constructing our new poultry slaughtering facility and this year the proceeds from the shares will go toward the expansion of our hog herd. What you may not know is that our ability to offer you pork both last year and this year was based on what could be called a little twist of fate, or at least the musings of a little boy. Each season, we have allowed our son Emmett to pick an animal he would like to try and raise. In 2014 he chose a pig. After some thought we decided to get a small quantity of pigs instead of just one and give pork a go ourselves. Why should Emmett have all the fun? We ended up purchasing 20 hogs, all Tamworth & Berkshires hybrids, both heritage breeds. We chose this combination mainly because of their flavor and ability to thrive in the pasture. We were quite happy with both aspects. The pigs were also good natured- a real plus when you are moving them frequently, and efficient at converting grain and grass to protein. With the success of 2014 bolstering us, we are gearing up this year to raise a total of 60 hogs. We are starting with a first batch of 30, all Berkshire. We liked the hybrid cross last year and decided to find out how full Berkshires would fare. With this increase in hog numbers we needed to re-think our practices. Although last year’s pigs were happy and good-natured, rotating hogs through the pasture is no easy feat. We found out that George Bernard Shaw may have known a thing or two about pigs when he said “I learned long ago, never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” With that in mind, we will start the pigs in what are known as “training pens” this year. This is a large outdoor enclosure, fenced with one strand of electric wire. Aside from being good wrestlers, pigs are very intelligent animals and after some time in the training pens, the pigs learn to respect the electric fencing. Portable electric fencing is far more versatile than fixed post fencing and will allow us to rotate the pigs through the pasture much more easily. So what started out as Emmett’s project has grown exponentially and we will now be able to offer pasture -raised pork to our customers and members for the second year. The pigs have been a great addition to the farm and help us continue with our overall mission to be good stewards of the land. As “natural bulldozers” pigs aerate, till and fertilize our fields as they forage. As we see it, the hogs are an investment in the long–term health of our pastures, increasing the diversity of beneficial roots, legumes, and grasses that can be utilized by all our livestock. All that and the end product is the healthiest, happiest animals possible. Imagine if he had chosen chinchillas!



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