If you happened to be around last year, you may remember that whenever our pig managed to get herself on the wrong side of the fence, it was always a nerve-wracking experience to get her back on the right side.
We’ve been much more fortunate this year. Our gals haven’t tried once to escape. So you may be wondering why on earth we might deliberately take them out then. At the very least, it’s difficult to move them. At worst, we lose control of the situation and have to shoot them and muddle our way through butchering since the butcher only takes in live animals.
Since we installed an electric fence in the hopes of raising a cow (or two), but there haven’t been any heifers born to our breeder of choice this year why not pasture the pigs?
As far as we could see the benefits were numerous. They quickly tuned their pen into one giant mud puddle this spring with all the rain we had. It was disgusting to look at and to be honest if the wind blew in the right direction…
Well let’s just say, it weren’t too purty.
Remember we’re working on 2 1/2 acres here and the smell didn’t have to waft too far. Unpleasant scents have been a non-issue since moving them to their new stomping grounds. Not living in the mud any longer, they were nearly instantly cleaner. Which I suppose is just nice to look at and not a real benefit. Neither is the fact that we’re enjoying them more because they’re closer to the house. On hot days we’ll cool them with a hose. They really get a kick out of that and all the interaction with us will probably make it easier on loading day.
But of great benefit is that they, as pasture raised pigs (or rather pasture-finished), they will be healthier which will make them more nutritious for us to eat. Already we can visibly discern a difference with the larger of the two. She was so chubby that she’d giggle when she’d walk! I’d like to try my hand at lard again, but I’d prefer more sausage instead. Our pastured pork has the potential to have higher amounts of vitamin E, lower risk of food borne illness, and according to Real Food: What To Eat And Why pastured pork and lard contains LDL cholesterol lowering monounsaturated fat oleic acid & antimicrobial fats.
We had originally intended to put them to work and intensively manage them, rotating through the land that once was my yard, as they happily followed their God-given instinct to root. They can quickly go through a patch of land turning it bare. Then this fall we could plant vegetation more appropriate for cattle than Kentucky Blue Grass and Dandelions. But my husband thinks that a frost planting would be easier.
Leaving the not-so-little porkers free to roam as they please.