loading and hauling our pastured Berkshire pigs on processing day
We loaded up our Berkshires and hauled them to the processor yesterday, where they’ll be butchered and packaged, then picked up by customers.
And let me tell you the hardest part of raising pigs – this last day! I eventually want to be able to dispatch & process here, but we aren’t equipped to do it ourselves right now. So we use the same local processor we have always used and it works out perfectly!
The kids spent the day at my parents swimming, which is probably a good thing because Hank was not happy this morning when it hit him the pigs were gone. Even though we talk to the kids about raising certain animals for pets, some for eggs or dairy, and some for meat – I guess it doesn’t really sink in until you have to say goodbye. But you know, I’m happy they get to fully appreciate where our food comes from, and why giving them a good quality of life is important. This is just a part of it.
Ready to load them up
This stretch of pasture is where they’ve been rotated this spring and summer. We used them to till up and fertilize our garden, then would move the fence, grade out where they had been, let it sit for a few weeks, then plant.
We won’t have pigs here again – our next round will live in a wooded area John calls the swamp, which they’ll love!
John and his dad discussing the best way to do this. Since the electric net is pretty ineffective when it’s not hot – it’s not the greatest for corralling pigs into a trailer.
Starting with bribery.
A grain bucket was enough to get one of them up!
And he changed his mind….all three are deciding not to cooperate, naturally.
Big John decides to encourage them with water (pigs LOVE water in the summer) see the hose in the trailer?
The pigs do not fall for it and John gets an actual piggy back ride. I stand very quietly with my camera trying not to laugh and thanking God in heaven for what happened next.
We skipped church this morning because I slept in until 9:30 which I NEVER do. My friend shows up to check and see if I’m hungover from my 30th the night before and was just using pig loading as an excuse to ditch church (jk – she came to give me a present because she’s THE BEST)
But anyway, why I was thankful she showed up is because the guys were forced to keep their cool in front of the ladies even though the pigs were not cooperating! So she and I laughed together and didn’t even get in trouble for it ;P
Ok, so the original eager pig hopped back on, but the other two were not having it and it was time to break out Johns dad’s plan.
He has a lot of experience with pigs, and many stories to go with it!! The guys brought some old gates up and made a more sturdy corral to get them in.
Big John is very exhausted and me and Kelly are still laughing at this point. Ok, we did help some too. But the gate corral is ready to go!
Now that’s more like it – loaded up, happy, and having lived the best life a pig ever could. The gate corral was a success.
We kept the hose running to keep them cool this whole time
The pigs are definitely Johns favorite farm animal.
Hosing them down, they loved this.
All loaded up and ready, I think Johns dad remembers why this was his least favorite farm chore!
Kelly took this when I was bringing straw back for the trailer – me in my natural habitat of looking homeless. But I did clean up somewhat after we got home and we got to go out to dinner before we picked up the kids – a good Sunday with lots accomplished. I need to start doing this more often, it feels good to do my hair and dress nicely every once in a while! (even though I realized when I sat down at dinner I had dried pig poop on my leg)
That’s it until next spring!
Well, maybe….I asked John if I could get a dozen more yet this summer for a late fall processing date and he said ok. So we will see. They’ll be going in a new area so we need to make sure we’re prepared with fencing there! So, if we get to it, we do – if not, then next spring it is!
I talked to John about opening up reserve sooner with the next round and he was good with that. So we probably will! In the meantime, you can subscribe to an e-mail list specifically for updates on when we have hogs available for reserve. A sincere thank you to our customers this go round – I’m so thankful to be able to serve other families who want to know where their food comes from and how it’s raised!