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Suprising benefits of pigs

 
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I have found the pigs to be surprising in their usefulness. Yes, they are delicious and extremely cheap to keep spring through fall. I didn’t expect the million other things they’ve done for the property and those that live here.

First of all, when we bought the pigs we had a problem. I actually asked game and fish to come out and try to figure out what was murdering all of our poultry. We lost a lot of them; peacocks, ducks, chickens, etc. It was determined it was likely a raccoon and we couldn’t catch it because it kept breaking out of our live trap. I had just accepted the end of poultry keeping. Then Joey was brought to our property and suddenly the killing stopped. We haven’t lost a single animal since getting Joey 4 years ago. So, highly recommend putting a boar in your barn. Apparently nothing wants to mess with one!

Next pig benefit is the way they roam the property digging randomly. Our property needs some disruption. It also unearths things for the poultry to eat. They love to follow them around picking up things they’ve dug up for them.

One very unexpected thing is that the pigs have absolutely no problem breaking the ice in the waterers. I try to make sure they have fresh, unfrozen water twice a day. It’s cold while I’m at work though. It freezes over. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone out to give them more water to find the ice broken and random animals taking advantage. I’ve found the cats in their water. The chickens, of course. Wild birds and rabbits. Water isn’t found often around these parts and in the winter it gets rough. The pigs are personally responsible for hydrating every animal on our property.

They also keep the chickens warm. I’ve found the chickens sleeping on them when it’s real cold out. Oh piggies, I do love you!

Have ya'll found your pigs surprisingly useful in any way?
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elle sagenev
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Oh I also find them funny and fun and just love having them wandering around in general. I can vouch for the fact that the neighbors are fascinated by them too.
 
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I completely agree Elle;
Piggy are wonderful addition to a rural home!
The county road splits my property.  The pig paddocks are right next to the road.
It is a popular drive for the locals to bring young ones by just to see the piggys!
 
elle sagenev
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thomas rubino wrote:I completely agree Elle;
Piggy are wonderful addition to a rural home!
The county road splits my property.  The pig paddocks are right next to the road.
It is a popular drive for the locals to bring young ones by just to see the piggys!



All the kids that come to the property get taken out by our kids to pet the pigs. They love it!
 
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elle sagenev wrote:Oh I also find them funny and fun and just love having them wandering around in general. I can vouch for the fact that the neighbors are fascinated by them too.



That was going to be my comment.  They just make me laugh.  I love being around pigs.  The sheer joy of watching them is worth feeding them.  I hope to get some soon now that I'm getting settled on the new land.
 
Trace Oswald
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thomas rubino wrote:I completely agree Elle;
Piggy are wonderful addition to a rural home!
The county road splits my property.  The pig paddocks are right next to the road.
It is a popular drive for the locals to bring young ones by just to see the piggys!



My lady and I were driving in the country here and we saw some pigs running in a wooded pasture.  They had the biggest, floppiest ears of any pig I've ever seen and all of them were running around as fast as they could go with their ears flopping.  I laughed so hard tears were running down my face.  I have no idea how long we sat there watching them, or what kind of pigs they were, but we still talk about it and it was probably 5 years ago that we saw them.
 
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elle sagenev wrote:Next pig benefit is the way they roam the property digging randomly. Our property needs some disruption. It also unearths things for the poultry to eat. They love to follow them around picking up things they’ve dug up for them.



I just realized that I'm the pig in my garden ;D just kidding! But I really roam around instead of having a plan... and a proper design... which I always promise myself to do ;)
 
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Elle, we've been keeping the thought in the backs of our minds, about getting a pig or two. We've already got a couple issues we need to resolve with the goats, and I've been reluctant to get pigs, at all. But, we do love our bacon and other porcine products, so they have been teasing our thoughts, and we had planned to revisit the idea, in a year or 3. But... between all that's going on, in the world, our knowledge of just how much less dependent we'd be on commercial pork, and the things you've written - including this thread - maybe a couple roosters and some self replicating meat birds won't be all we add, next spring...

 
elle sagenev
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Carla Burke wrote:Elle, we've been keeping the thought in the backs of our minds, about getting a pig or two. We've already got a couple issues we need to resolve with the goats, and I've been reluctant to get pigs, at all. But, we do love our bacon and other porcine products, so they have been teasing our thoughts, and we had planned to revisit the idea, in a year or 3. But... between all that's going on, in the world, our knowledge of just how much less dependent we'd be on commercial pork, and the things you've written - including this thread - maybe a couple roosters and some self replicating meat birds won't be all we add, next spring...



So I have a pretty idyllic pig experience to be honest. They don't wander anywhere when I free range them and they don't harm or kill any of the other animals. They also like my kids. It might be the breed. It might be how we raise them. Not sure. Just keep in mind that pigs can absolutely tear through fences and kill things.

Also keep in mind that i did actually intend to kill the two boars we have right now. I didn't see a point in keeping them around. I couldn't find a butcher though. They're either closed due to covid or swamped. Since I happen to be very fond of these two I can't see killing them myself. So, guess they'll earn their keep being stewards of the land and animals this winter. Just be prepared that if this is still going on you may be killing your own pigs. I've done it several times and it's a lot of work.
 
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I love the way they flop over for belly rubs
 
Carla Burke
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elle sagenev wrote:So I have a pretty idyllic pig experience to be honest. They don't wander anywhere when I free range them and they don't harm or kill any of the other animals. They also like my kids. It might be the breed. It might be how we raise them. Not sure. Just keep in mind that pigs can absolutely tear through fences and kill things.

Also keep in mind that i did actually intend to kill the two boars we have right now. I didn't see a point in keeping them around. I couldn't find a butcher though. They're either closed due to covid or swamped. Since I happen to be very fond of these two I can't see killing them myself. So, guess they'll earn their keep being stewards of the land and animals this winter. Just be prepared that if this is still going on you may be killing your own pigs. I've done it several times and it's a lot of work.



Oh, most definitely a ton of research would happen, first. We're blessed to be near a big Mennonite community, with a few very good family-owned processors, so I'm truly hoping they'll have our backs. That said, killing and butchering are things I'm experience with, and aren't my idea of a good time, but it's a necessary job I'll do, if I must. At least, while I still can.
 
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Elle Sagenev wrote:

Just be prepared that if this is still going on you may be killing your own pigs. I've done it several times and it's a lot of work.

This is an emotional issue as well as a work issue. Pigs, much more so than meat chickens for example, have personality and brains - this makes it much harder for some of us to emotionally deal with the responsibility of end of life. I can remember reading a book about a farming community where it was normal for every family to have its "farm pig cleaner-upper". In the fall, they would kill and process a neighbor's pig, and the neighbor would kill and process theirs. In comparison, I'm quite ready to stick Hubby's meat chickens in the freezer by the time they're 8 weeks old - dumb as bricks and a pain to deal with by then.

Professional layer chickens are a little bit better, but layers with some heritage genes in them even if they're not pure, tend to have personality and at least some brains (although a friend of mine has named one pullet "Bird Brain" for her struggles to develop life skills that her hatch mates have long mastered.)  
 
elle sagenev
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Jay Angler wrote:This is an emotional issue as well as a work issue. Pigs, much more so than meat chickens for example, have personality and brains - this makes it much harder for some of us to emotionally deal with the responsibility of end of life.



Yep, for me. My husband has not much to do with them and our oldest boar hates him and he hates him back. So, hubs would have no problem shooting them but I don't know that I could skin and gut them. I'm very fond!
 
Carla Burke
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I think the longer and more intimately they're in my care, the more difficult it becomes, for all of mine. I was SO ready, weeks before our ducklings were ready - but, they were a huge pita, (and outside) to me. I got very attached to the laying hens, that I raised in our living room. I think part of it is also my mindset, at purchase time. But, I think that's something that came from my dad's farm. We named our meat critters with 2 things in mind - a name is easier than a number, when discussing & recording information about specific critters, and a name that reminded us of the critter's purpose helped us mentally and emotionally distinguish food from friends. So, our spring steer for fall harvest would be dubbed Chuck, Burgermeister, Rumproast, etc, while pets and stock intended to breed or for dairy, until they retired and became simply beloved pets, were named this like Judy (the beloved pet/dairy jersey). It wasn't perfect - but, it did help. So, if we got a breeding pair, they'd likely have pet names, while their destined- to- be- consumed offspring would get names like Hammy, Sausage, or Bacon.
 
Trace Oswald
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All of you that can kill and butcher animals that you have raised are stronger than I am.  Animals become friends to me, so any that I own live out their days with me.  I just can't kill them unless they are suffering in some way.  And as Jay said, the smarter the animal and the more personality, the harder it is.  I have had to kill chickens that were injured or sick, and I really struggle, but it would be far harder to kill an animal like a pig or a dog.  I've had to have dogs put to sleep and it's terrible.  I can't imagine killing one myself unless it were horribly injured and I knew it wouldn't survive a car trip to the vet without extra stress and pain.  Even then, I would struggle with the fact that I had to do it for years, maybe forever.

I think I'm destined to buy from local people that raise their animals well, but are strong enough to butcher them when it's time.
 
elle sagenev
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It helps to have someone willing to do the killing for sure. My hubs is the one who goes out and shoots them. After they are dead I don't have an issue with the processing. So he shoots and I do everything else.

There are those rare cases where I demand a mean pig get eliminated. This pig took 6 hours from oinking to eating.
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Trace Oswald wrote:All of you that can kill and butcher animals that you have raised are stronger than I am.  Animals become friends to me, so any that I own live out their days with me.  I just can't kill them unless they are suffering in some way.  And as Jay said, the smarter the animal and the more personality, the harder it is.  I have had to kill chickens that were injured or sick, and I really struggle, but it would be far harder to kill an animal like a pig or a dog.  I've had to have dogs put to sleep and it's terrible.  I can't imagine killing one myself unless it were horribly injured and I knew it wouldn't survive a car trip to the vet without extra stress and pain.  Even then, I would struggle with the fact that I had to do it for years, maybe forever.

I think I'm destined to buy from local people that raise their animals well, but are strong enough to butcher them when it's time.

Trace, I really respect that you are honest with yourself about this topic. I know people who feel as you do and the world needs all kinds of people for balance. There have been situations on my farm when I've been expected to put a "friend" out of her misery and I did not like it one little bit.
 
Carla Burke
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Trace Oswald wrote:All of you that can kill and butcher animals that you have raised are stronger than I am.  Animals become friends to me, so any that I own live out their days with me.  I just can't kill them unless they are suffering in some way.  And as Jay said, the smarter the animal and the more personality, the harder it is.  I have had to kill chickens that were injured or sick, and I really struggle, but it would be far harder to kill an animal like a pig or a dog.  I've had to have dogs put to sleep and it's terrible.  I can't imagine killing one myself unless it were horribly injured and I knew it wouldn't survive a car trip to the vet without extra stress and pain.  Even then, I would struggle with the fact that I had to do it for years, maybe forever.

I think I'm destined to buy from local people that raise their animals well, but are strong enough to butcher them when it's time.


I absolutely must put it into a mental/emotional box, that is simply not opened. And, I ugly cry. And, I can't imagine ever putting a pet down, on my own, if there's another way. At 56, having lost count of the number of animals that over my lifetime I've taken in, raised, stayed up with for days, nursed back to health, buried, taken to the vet to be put down, 'harvested', hunted, processed, trudged through ice, snow, floods, storms, my own sicknesses and injuries... I can't think of a single one that I didn't cry over. I don't want to kill & process, anymore. But, if my family's survival depends on it? In a heartbeat - and bawling my eyes out, and sending up prayers of gratitude, for being blessed with both the provision of the animal, and the ability to do what needs to be done - mercifully. But, it's HARD. Hard work, hard mentally, hard emotionally. And, I can FULLY understand why many, many people just can't.
 
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Carla Burke wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:All of you that can kill and butcher animals that you have raised are stronger than I am.  Animals become friends to me, so any that I own live out their days with me.  I just can't kill them unless they are suffering in some way.  And as Jay said, the smarter the animal and the more personality, the harder it is.  I have had to kill chickens that were injured or sick, and I really struggle, but it would be far harder to kill an animal like a pig or a dog. ...  



I love all animals, especially right next to the mash potatoes. I have cats, have had dogs, quail, rabbits, ducks, horses, even snakes at one point. Love'm all. But one has to make the distinction between 'pets' and 'dinner'. I have killed dogs that were killing my stock. If I had to say which breed would be hardest to put down, its goats. Neighbor has them and they follow him and his wife like puppies.

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I don’t know if I missed this but what is the breed of your friendly pigs?
 
thomas rubino
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I believe her pigs were Kune Kune Pam
 
elle sagenev
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I have american guinea hogs
 
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Hi elle,

great story which I can only confirm.

As offspring of a rice farmer's family we had to be self sustaining and so my dad has pigs, chicken and guinea fowls.

But for many reasons.

First of all it's the protection of other livestock as you told with raccoons.
Many might not believe me with how much pleasure they devour a small snake or even a Cobra.
Our Guinea fowls giving the alarm and the pigs hear only food is coming and in no time they chewing the snake or other animal up just between rooting and tilling.
(I know it's nothing wrong with snakes but how to stop the pigs?)

Then the pigs are the first we let into the harvested garden plots.
They start immediately with the tilling job and they are the masters in it.
The Chickens follow to close the holes the pigs created.
We use (Translated from Thai) Myanmar Whitetails for this Job.
They are huge, have strong Legs and a good Kickback to move Dirt (They are well known in Thailand as Fighting Cocks, but don't worry we don't do this)
and last follow up is Dad, equals the soil a little more and continues with the next crop.

This way we are working since I was a little child.
We use always sows as we made the experience that boars with the coming age starting getting grumpy old man who are quickly annoyed by everything from playing kids to barking dogs and tend to rule them up their way.
The scar on my leg from its tusk I got with 5 years and its still visible.
 
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