Our kids, Anna and Jeremy have undertaken the job of raising pigs on pasture the last few years. They are now the pig experts at Box H Farm, since this was a new enterprise for all of us. You can read more about their pork venture in an article about our farm that appeared in the Western Producer this fall: https://www.producer.com/2017/09/new-ventures-seen-as-ideal-way-to-expand/.
In small numbers, pigs are a great fit for our farm. We keep them on land we wouldn’t otherwise use, like rows of trees around the yard. They are good foragers. Also, they are hilarious! There’s nothing quite like watching a pig run through tall grass, ears flapping. They love a good scratch. All our fruit and veggie scraps are a treat (although they do always leave the carrots uneaten). Watch our video here (https://www.facebook.com/BoxHFarm/videos/780440388800501/) to see more about how they love to be scratched!
We have a portable enclosure that we move weekly or more often, to allow for fresh forage. At each new location, we put up an electric fence and then let those pigs out! We cannot forget to move them, or leave them in one spot too long in wet weather. Pigs love to root in the earth and will turn over all the soil given time and the right conditions. Anna and Jeremy pull the pig cage with a quad to move it and the pigs quickly learn to walk behind as it moves. They are noisy when we lock them in but quiet down as soon as the cage moves onto fresh grass!
We also use a portable feeder and waterer. We feed our pigs grain along with the veggies scraps and the plants they find. That is why our pork isn’t “grass fed” like our beef. Pigs are not ruminants like cows, and don’t do well on an all-forage diet. We think that the most important thing is that the pigs can move freely, root in the earth and have shelter and shade. These are happy hogs.
We had planned to sell our pasture-raised pork on our website, but in 2016 and 2017 it has been sold out locally. We will be raising a few more pigs in 2018, so are excited to be offering the chance to pre-order pork for the next fall. Please contact us if you would like to book a 1/2 pork. You’ll need about three cubic feet of freezer space for 1/2. In 2017 our halves of pork averaged 70 lbs.
Our pork is usually ready by late November. You’ll have pastured bacon for Christmas morning!