Hoggie 101

Winter 2013

 

Schacht Farm is home to Charlotte, Maude, Edith, Mable, Fern, Clementine, Matilda,  and Gertrude. They are a motley crew, made up of various heritage pig breeds, with many different colors and patterns represented. These eight girls are eight months old now and will soon be introduced to Clyde, our daddy boar. If all goes well the girls will become first time momma’s by their first birthday, producing all of the pigs we raise to provide pork to our customers.

 

Some random fun pig facts and terminology- A female pig who has not yet had babies (farrowed) is called a gilt. After her first farrowing, she is a sow. Gestation for a sow is 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. Average litter size for our pastured, heritage breed pigs is 10. The pigs stay with the sow until they are 7-8 weeks old and by this time they weigh almost 40 lbs. The sows produce two litters of pigs each year and generally retire by age 4.

 

Pigs have high iron requirements. Conventionally raised pigs are given iron injections, our pigs instinctively know to eat dirt to gain the iron and other minerals they need. Conventionally raised pigs have the tips of their teeth cut off so they don’t injure other pigs when they get bored living in confinement. Our pigs keep their teeth and find plenty to do out in the pasture to keep from getting bored. By 8 months of age the pigs weigh around 260 lbs. and will provide around 150 lbs of pork. In 2013 we raised 128 hogs.

 

I love raising pigs because they are curious and cautious at the same time. They are easy going, hearty, and capable animals….and do their best to make the most of all situations. If it is bitter cold, they burrow down and have a sleepover, if it rains; they make a slip ‘n slide. You have to love that kind of playful ingenuity! They are extremely intelligent and resourceful animals. Our heritage breed pigs have an instinct to forage and their stomachs are able to pull nutrients from a wide variety of foods including grasses and legumes, roots, dirt, grains, eggs, nuts, fruits, and garden treats. They are also extremely efficient animals. One sow produces around 20 pigs per year (10 pigs per litter, 2 litters per year). These pigs grow up to produce right at 3,000 lbs. of pork….all from one sow. That is efficiency!

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