Give or take a little

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According to the string method, the largest of my two pigs is currently weighing around 158 lbs. The other pig is slightly smaller, and I didn’t measure her*, but I’m guessing she’s maybe 140 or so. Of course the string method has a little give or take with it, and I only had one piece of string in my pocket (from a feed sack) when I thought of doing this, so I tied a knot for each measurement, which is more or less where the actual measurement point was (you know how a knot never tightens exactly where you want, right?). So with two layers of give and take to this measurement, that 158 is pretty approximate. Still and all, it beats loading the pigs up on someone’s trailer and heading up to the fairgrounds to use the 4-H scale, and then loading up again to come home. It is just way too hot to be chasing pigs around.

*Actually, I finally did measure her, a week later (today in fact), and little pig measured up at around 136 lbs. 

I’m trying out the new butcher in our local village this year- Carnivore Meats and More – for our cut and wrap. He already does custom work for hunters, and he’s getting pork and beef from a farm up-Island that he’s cut and wrapping for his shop, but doing custom cut and wrap for a small producer like me with my own customers is new for him. We’re both pretty excited about it, and hoping it works out. Every time he and I have discussed our arrangements, he’s asked how big the pigs are and I’m always pretty vague …”well, you know, they’re only 3 months – maybe 100 lbs? I dunno”, and I’ve told him how big last year’s pigs got. And every time I make a mental note to measure the pigs so I have a better answer.  Mental notes aren’t working too well for me these days.

Since my production model hasn’t really changed much (I’m managing pasture slightly better than last year, but that’s the only difference), and they’re getting processed a couple weeks earlier than last year’s pigs were done, I’m expecting them to come in at around 250 lbs. Last year’s pigs were in the region of 285 lbs. Of course, there’s some give and take at work here too – I used the string method last year as well, thinking the slaughter guy would give me an accurate weight measurement when he invoiced me, since he was going to be doing the cut and wrap as well. But it didn’t work out that way. He did the slaughter, and sent the carcasses to a different butcher, who gave me the hanging weight on the 4 sides after they’d received them. Since I don’t really know which two sides went together, I just added the pairs based on how closely they matched, and came out with one pig at 204 and one at 220. If we say that the innards that didn’t come with the carcasses amounted to 50 lbs (give or take), then that puts my string guess right in the ball park – give or take a few pounds.

All of which is to say, these pigs seem to be pretty much on target for growth.  They look pretty happy ’bout that, don’t they?

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8 thoughts on “Give or take a little

  1. df says:

    My goodness they have grown so quickly! Doing what they do best, right? 🙂 I think that ‘give or take’ is what farmers have done through the ages, so you’re in good company. To more days of happy eating, for them and for you!

  2. farmerkhaiti says:

    it’s so great your new butcher is so open to working with you! An invalueable partner. I bought a cattle tape to measure our calves and am super curious to see if it’s close. We haven’t tried the string method with the pigs, we like to get them as big as possible! Yours look very happy indeed. Often our timing is when our butcher will have space in his schedule, and if we can get in before the deer hunting season that’s best. Do you have to time around that too?

  3. Yeah, I’d like to compare my string method to an actual scale measurement, but short of the aforementioned trip up to the fairgrounds, it isn’t likely to happen. Funny you should say that about the hunting season. The first butcher I wanted to use (because he came highly recommended by a guy I know who does a lot of pigs (around 200)), couldn’t take me because the time period I was looking at was getting into hunting season up in the interior of BC- apparently that butcher goes up most autumns for moose, bear, etc – for himself! Carnivores told me they have up to now done most of their custom cut and wrap for deer hunters. We don’t have quite the same hunting culture here in the Victoria area that exists in much of Rural North America – we’re far too populated. Up-Island, in the back country around Nanaimo and Courtenay, and the North Island, there’s plenty of hunting though. If I lived up there, I would be in your predicament for sure, having to work around that.

    • farmerkhaiti says:

      thought I’d let you know my string attempt on the calves was pretty good, although I wasn’t sure of the yield on 3 month old pastured veal calves, being dairy bulls and big boned. I estimated near 300 lbs live weight with the tape, and the hanging was around 110.

  4. Bill says:

    They’re looking great. We started later this year so ours are quite a bit smaller than that.
    We’re going to raise a couple to 250ish and another two to 400+ (for whole hog sausage).
    Hopefully the first pair will be ready in about a month. Looking forward to that.

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