May medley

Pig update:  The pigs are at 10 weeks.  Personality abounds, and speaking of bounding, I have been clearly labelled as the source of good things, ie food, as they come running with squeals of delight if they so much as catch a glimpse of me.  It’s funny while they’re small, but a little alarming to think that they might do this when they’re bigger, so we are adapting the feeding protocol accordingly.  Speaking of growing, that’s been happening in leaps and bounds as well.  Here’s the weekly pig pics:

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Pasture:  I hestitate to call it pasture, since for the last 15 years it has been cut for hay and hasn’t been grazed by anything except broiler chickens, but I’m going to go with the title anyway, in the spirit of intentionality.  Chris over at Chism Heritage Farm does a more or less monthly photo essay of his pasture through the year, which seems like a great way to keep a record of changes, developments, seasons, etc.  Complete novice that I am, I don’t really know what I’m looking at in my pictures but I’m sure I’ll learn as I go along.  So here are the first pictures in what will hopefully be a long term record of the state of the pasture in my top field. (The grass is too tall right now to get to the bottom fields, so even though I’m fully aware of different conditions down there, and thus different growth, I’m wimping out – maybe I’ll start keeping track of them next year).

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In the above three pictures, we are standing by the main gate to the top field. The first picture looks directly south, the grass heads are about 4 ft.  The picture of the pasture pen is to show scale (it’s a classic Salatin pen, up on bricks, so about 2 1/2 ft high).  The third picture was taken slightly left of the first picture to show where the broilers were on the field last year – completely different kind of growth.

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In the above three pictures we are looking west.  First, down at my feet.  Then across the view – more broiler pasture evident.  Then about 10 paces west of the gate to one of the few patches of clover in the field that I’m aware of.  Why is it here and not elsewhere?

The Rooster:  I have this rule about the chickens.  They are not vet-worthy.  If they get injured or ill, they get some TLC in terms of segregation from their flock, and a comfortable place to convalesce, but the getting better part is basically up to them.  They either do or they don’t.  Which means that I look a little silly at this point, still mollycoddling our rooster.  Long story short, he lost a spur about 8 weeks ago, which shouldn’t have been a big deal, but the wound site got infected.  For about a month, I changed dressings, applied ointment, lanced the wound, fed him by hand, took him to shady spots for exercise and bugs, found him nice kale leaves, etc.  He should have been a goner weeks ago according to my own rules, but here he is, a month later still getting his leg wrapped once a week.  In my defence, the reason he’s now wearing the vet wrap is to keep the hens from pecking at the wound, otherwise I wouldn’t still be doing it, and he is back to living with the flock again, and no longer getting hand fed tasty morsels, I’m sure to his great disappointment.

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Pigs in clover

…well, grass, clover, thistles, blackberries, old straw, a stump, etc.

The pigs are at 8 weeks now, good hearty appetites, and lots more confidence around us. Here they are, to paraphrase Joel Salatin, expressing the pigness of pigs:

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Bacon is digging, Ham is supervising

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Ham needs to go wash her face

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Good to the last drop

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Are you here to feed us already?

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Smile for the camera


May flowers bring….Pigs!

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Meet Bacon and Ham, now the youngest girls on the farm. Born 11 March, and brought over from a commercial operation in Chilliwack by a 4-H acquaintance on the weekend,  they are about 8 weeks old, Landrace/Yorkshire X, and look to be in pretty good shape. Ham is slightly shorter (and bossier), but has good meaty back quarters. Bacon is a longer pig, slightly taller and a little less confident than Ham.

As you can tell from their names, these piggies are destined for the freezer. One side for us, two more sides are pre-sold, and the 4th side will be sausage which we will direct sell. It is very hard to stand there watching these gals cavort and play in the grass, snuggle and cuddle in straw and not call them “cute” – but I’m resisting…you can tell.

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