Well it’s that time again, when our four pigs have to leave Farm Adventure, to meet their maker
Tomorrow, they will be taken early in the morning, up to the abattoir. I never like to say goodbye to any of our pigs. They willingly go into the trailer, and when they arrive at the other end, just trot off down the corridor. But it’s something I believe I need to see as a person who is involved in the care of these pigs.
So why do we take them off?
For starters, once they get past around 80kg, they really are too big for pig herding! Pigs can be stubborn and hard to work with, let alone the higher risk of them ploughing someone over! It’s funny when we introduce the groups to the pigs, often they exclaim at the size of them – and that’s when they’re not even near their top size that we allow! If you’ve ever been to market to see pigs being sold, there are often ones which are MASSIVE … and I mean HUGE! Google it – go on – “large breeding sows”!
They are also at the right size to go off for sausages and bacon. Again, very hard, but as farmers, we believe in the circle of life, and these pigs have a purpose in life.
Don’t think for one minute that we find this easy … we can get attached, especially when they have fab personalities, and have so much fun with us! Every day, they get fed and watered, their bedding checked, topped up, and sometimes, we can stay for a chat. Take for example this time when Jess was not happy to be caught on camera giving them some tlc!! Pig Tickle Time
One thing that I personally really want to know, is where my meat comes from. I want to know that it’s had a happy life … enjoying the indoors & outdoors where possible, a comfortable environment. Our pigs definitely have that! They are free range – they have a lovely muddy field to constantly dig up, and then a barn shelter to go and snuggle in!
They grow quickly … when they come to us, they will be around 35kg, and about 11-12 weeks old (they will have been weaned at 4 weeks old). They will then be with us for a mere 3 months, before they are around their 85kg weight which means their time has come. That’s a lot of weight to put on in 12-13 weeks! Plus, they spend some of that time running around – being chased / or chasing (!) our groups, around a field! And they are hilarious! They are so agile when they want to be, and they can really run!! So, we need to keep them on high energy rations otherwise they’d just burn it all off!
So, once they are no longer with us, they will head to our local butcher Tim @ Highside, who will make them into sausages for the BBQ, bacon for our freezer, ham joints for our freezer, and the odd pork joint for a good old roast. So we are feeding the family, as well as our groups with the sausages on the BBQ! I did buy Rob a meat slicer for Christmas one year – because we slice our own ham for sandwiches – I mean, is there a better Christmas present?!!!! Wife points = 1,000,000
And then, while all the above is happening, it’s time for the new pigs to come to the farm, and be introduced to the crazy way of life here! Check out these cuties who have arrived today!
The New Pigs Have Arrived!
So we begin again, with training them, gently introducing them to our groups, and welcoming them to a few months of fun and freedom!
(Please note, these are all my own personal thoughts : Laura Middleton)