Sunday, October 19, 2008

4 pigs take a road trip...................


A beautiful sunny, frosty morning here in the Northeast.....22F. We were out early for chores, as we have extra work to do this morning. Four of our 8 pigs that we raised have nearly reached the end of their journey and will make the trip to the butchers this afternoon. Each year we think we have our catch and load skills down to a science and all will go as planned. It always does when we talk it through :)

After several attempts and many hand signals I backed the trailer into position in front of our loading chute. Steve and Tom turn the feed platform around and we use it as a ramp. The trailer isn't very high but with the pigs short legs the ramp really helps them take that step up into the trailer. I put the feed trough in the front of the trailer with their breakfast in it.


We put the pigs in the holding pen and gave them a few apples while we worked on the trailer and the chute. They obviously know somethings up. They were quite agitated at me for being late with their breakfast!

Here we go - The doors open and the grain is in the feeder in the trailer. Steve is calling them and has a bucket of grain in his hand.

Two more make their way out.............they are nosy and hungry.....

So far, so good.....one pig in the trailer, 3 more to go

3 pigs in the trailer, one really needs a push!

He's in, he's in, somebody shut the door!!!

Yippee - it all went good today. Less than five minutes and all four pigs are loaded. Last year was a disaster. We had three feet of mud everywhere and pigs that absolutely refused to get on the trailer. That and the fact we were getting freezing rain, we couldn't feel our fingers it was so cold and everything on the trailer was frozen. I thought we were all going to have heart attacks before we finally got those pigs loaded!


These four will be ready to be picked up in about a week. These are reserved for my customers who by a side of pork. The other 4 pigs we raised, ours included, will go on November 2. These were sold as whole pigs. Our pig from last year is just about gone so it works out just right.

I enjoy the process of raising the pigs from the time they are 8 weeks old until butchering time. Raising them with kindness, knowing that they have had good, wholesome food to eat their entire lifetime and knowing my butcher is all very important to our customers and of course, to us. That being said, I'm always glad when it's time for them to go and I won't miss them :O)

11 comments:

threecollie said...

I don't think it is ever easy to load pigs...looks like you folks had it well planned.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Wow, I'm glad it went so smooth, ours loaded good this year too. Which is a very big relief, we have lost our salvation more than once trying to load pigs. I guess that's why they call it pig headed!

4 more to go and you will have one less chore - yeah.

kristi said...

Up until last year I was purchasing a pig from one of the vets at our local clinic; they downsized their farm & now raise only for themselves. I have never raised an animal for myself, other than eggs & i am trying to make that move. I was thinking of starting with turkeys & seeing how that goes. I will not buy meat from the grocery store, but instead I buy from the butcher where the pigs got processed. Now, I have been thinking about a Dexter heifer for milk? The miniature jerseys are $. As always Deb I totally enjoy reading your enteries & the beauty of your homestead! Thanks for listening to me:)

Deb said...

threecollie,
Your right - I think we just got lucky this time :)

nita,
Oh my gosh, you are so right - I know in years past I've said things I didn't even realize I knew trying to load pigs! Anything to get them in the trailer - One less chores is always a welcome rest for awhile.

kristi,
I enjoy "listening" to you and look forward to your comments. Making the transition to raising your own is a big step. I admire your courage! I absolutely love milking my cow...you can't go wrong if you don't mind making that twice per day commitment.
I don't raise turkeys but Nita does and her blog "throwback at trapper creek" is a wealth of information.
Good luck :)

ga.farmwoman said...

Hi Deb,
Years ago we raised pigs. A lot of pigs. We had 250 one time. We had them spread over 50 acres though and it really wasn't smelly or bad.
We are thinking of getting a boar and sow soon and start raising a few for sale and putting in the freezer.
I can say though, I don't miss the loading up part.Hmmm.. I had almost forgotten that part. Most of the time it went smooth.
The pictures and pigs looked really good.
Have a great day.
Pam

Joanne said...

I have heard some horror stories about loading pigs for the butcher. Your experience this year looks smooth by comparison! Good for you. I also agree--it's good to raise one's meat compassionately..I buy my beef, lamb, and chicken from local farmers who treat their animals with respect. It's the only way I can cope with this, having read about how the animals that turn into meat at the grocery store live!

Thanks for your kind notes on my blog..about VT, etc! My new nephew is still struggling so I appreciate all the positive energy in my/his direction.

DayPhoto said...

Loading pigs is a trip! That is the reason we stopped raising pigs. After 35 years of loading them I just didn't want to do it anymore.

One thing to remember, is if the pig wants to go somewhere, even if you are there, the loading shoot is there, the fence is there....the whatever is there, the pig WILL GO TO THE PLACE IT WANTS TO GO!

One year it was terrible all three load outs resulted in the pigs just walking right into the trailer, without us even being in the pen to squeeze them into the trailer. I felt horrible, they are just so trusting!

That was one year, the rest of the years usually result in so much frustration that the trip to pig heaven isn't so hard on me.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

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