Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Holidays are a time full of wonderful nostalgic things, traditions, pumpkins, and Christmas trees, but for our family it also has one more thing to make it really anticipated. It is Farrowing time!! Which mean, you guessed it, PIGLETS!! Yup. Lots and lots of piglets. Baby animals on the farm are always adorable, but nothing can ever really beat a piglet. Chubby, spotted, those adorable grunts, and for some reason smacking on food is not only tolerated from a piglet, it’s endearing. We are mostly through our fall/winter farrowing and have around 30 little guys so far, aren’t they cute?
I had heard horror stories of vicious momma pigs so I was extremely hesitant to add pigs to the farm. However, I love bacon. I really do! Along with chops, and roasts, and I really love sausage, with a big bowl of beans and cornbread slathered in grassfed butter. So I searched and searched for a breed that would work for us. Then I found Kune Kunes (cooney cooneys). Kune Kune pigs, are a special breed from New Zealand that really is the only pig that can be sustained on only pasture. They have very, very short snouts that make it hard for them to root stuff up but perfect for them to munch on a stand of Tifton. They are furry, have big floppy ears, and usually lots of spots. They are extremely docile, so I don’t have to fear for my children’s lives, and stay small 90-150 lbs. Their small size in addition to making them easy to handle also makes them perfect for family pork. The whole dressed pig can fit in an average freezer. Because really, who needs 500 lbs of pork? Want to know another awesome thing? The Pork. Its dark red in color, marbled, sweet, nutty and very flavorful.
Here on the farm the pampered momma pigs have their piglets out on pasture or if they choose in special little private stalls in our nursery area. We let them raise the piglets to 5-6 weeks. At that point the mommas have been making so much milk that they start to lose weight and are ready for their bodies to have a break. So the piglets are weaned!! This is when we castrate all the males and sell some Barrows (castrated males) to families that want to raises their own backyard pork. Sometimes sell a few as pets, and the rest we raise. For 9-12 months the piglets roam our rotational pastures with the dairy herd, chill in mud holes (literally), drink whey leftover from the grass fed cheese we make in our Creamery, and generally have a life of leisure. ( with monthly pasture breaks and trips to the front yard to eat acorns and occasionally a trip , gulp, to jakes garden!) Once they have made it to a nice mature size we choose some of the best gilts (female pigs) to keep as next year’s breeding stock, or sell to other grass fed producers as breeders. The rest take a trip bedded down on hay to a butcher in Poth, Texas. After that we have awesome Grass and Whey fed pork to share with our farm family!