Hi All; As the boy scouts say always be prepared. My 3 pigs this year , Rosemary , Sage and Fennel were all happy , fattened up and ready for their Wednesday morning truck ride to meet the butcher... 3 days before while working down in the field , I noticed that only 2 piggys were out watching me... Fennel was no where to be seen... I found her in their "bed room" laying down and not jumping up as I approached , that alone was enough to tell me how bad she was feeling. She wasn't interested in food and she was not going to get up for me, but her sisters came in and raised such a ruckus that she got up on her own. She stayed up and went out with the others but had no interest in anything and was standing there with her tail uncurled .... swaying , looking like she might drop at any moment. After awhile she went and lay down outside her room . As per Murphys Law this happened on a Sunday when the vet wasn't available even on his emergency line .... I needed to take her temperature (LOL should have made a video) digital thermo's take a certain amount of time to lock on a number... that time is about a minute longer than an adult piggy wanted to be violated... After following her around the pen a few laps and many new attempts .... I finally got a solid beep 105.5 oh no 102.5 is normal. I keep syringes and antibiotic on the shelf, an inter-muscular shot behind the ear and a night wondering if she would be OK ... the next morning finds her still laying down and not getting up .... But when I brought her some comfrey leaves she ate them ! Then she took some bites of a honey crisp YES !!! after that she got up and looked for more ! She was on the mend ! By the evening she was in the truck eating grain !!! Next morning she was running around being crazy piggy with her sisters. If I hadn't had that medicine on hand I think I would have lost her by Monday morning. Rule number one is the vet will be closed when you really need one..." Always be prepared" should be a livestock persons motto as well ! Now my biggest problem is for 28 days after an antibiotic shot she can not go to the butcher.... her sisters left Wednesday I have a lonely piggy ! She sees me up in the yard and she starts talking . They always came quick before but now shes on the run when I go down... poor thing. I don't want to buy another piglet for the 3 weeks she has left ,I guess i'll just have to visit her more ... The wife and I went grocery shopping the other day .... one of the items she bought was a carton of baby spinach leaves ... on the way home she tells me that ... well actually the spinach isn't for us it is for fennel... Ha Ha Ha and she calls them MY piggys the softy.
Update on Fennel my lonely pig. Oct 16th was when she got her antibiotic shot... 28 days to wait , November 13th was the day...My normal butcher could not get us in until mid december!! So I made arrangement's with a mobile butcher to come to the ranch and slaughter here. He was due on the 13th about noon...the 13th ... 8 AM, phone rings ... butcher truck is broke down way out there... gona fix it and will be at my place on Thursday the 16th ... on the 15th phone rings trucks still down , must be towed ... not going to be ready before Thanksgiving... be sometime the following week ... Well here it is the 27th of November... still waiting to hear from the butcher... MEANWHILE Fennel is getting to be a handful ! probably #100 heavier than she was and very very needy ! If she see's or even hears me, the grunting starts ... if I don't visit .. then the squealing starts... If i visit and feed her some goody's she is OK for a few hours then same thing starts again. Lately she has started a new trick ... she sees me on the far side of a paddock that she is shut out of ... grunting/squealing / pacing along the fence .... next thing I see she throws herself up on the fence busting boards and peeling roofing metal off the posts ! a #300 + piggy Teter tottling on a fence ! I didn't want her in that paddock as thats where the roto tiller is sitting waiting for a new carburetor. I open a gate , herd her out of the pen and what does she do ?... runs around and teeters in again !! As bad as a child ! This is fun dad! I herd her all the way out again only this time I move her back to the main paddock and close the gate to the apple orchard and the summer house leaving her with the main paddock and the new orchard paddock to wander. This morning I go out and I quickly hear her squealing and carrying on .. She has jumped a new fence and gotten back into the apple orchard !!! She is beside herself wanting to get back to the gate to see what goody's I've brought down this morning ... another flying piggy leap and she rolls over on her belly back over the fence... SO PROUD of herself !!! A #300 piggy grinning ! So now ... much to her displeasure... she has no paddocks but the main one. ALL the gates are shut and the fences in the main pen will hold a horse... I thought she was upset before.... what a spoiled fat girl ... squealing / pacing / butting the gates and fences ... she is not a happy piggy... unless I visit ... with goody's of course. I REALLY need the butcher too show up SOON !!! Raising an animal alone is a big job , were it not for her being in a comforting location where she was raised I think she would have busted out and gone looking for piggy buddys... As it is i'm the only other member of her herd and SHE NEEDS ME !!! or so she squeals.
Time perhaps to learn how to kill and dress out a pig Thomas. I have one that I was supposed to butcher a month ago but things on the farm kept popping up as fix this first emergencies.
Now I have everything in place and bacon will be butchered this coming weekend, one .22 to the head and a stick to bleed it out then drag it to the lifting area to complete the job.
We have no butcher near by and our state laws are probably similar to yours with the butcher being the one to do start to finish or do it yourself.
I grew up on a farm so butchering is just part of being a farmer to me and I have always hunted and dressed out my own deer, a hog is not that different in my eyes.
Good luck, a lonely herd animal can become very needy as you have discovered.
We love visitors, that's why we live in a secluded cabin deep in the woods. "Buzzard's Roost (Asnikiye Heca) Farm." Promoting permaculture to save our planet. you can call me Dr. Redhawk
Thanks Redhawk; I've had the same thoughts myself. I'm no stranger to butchering , I've gotten our elk and several deer every year for 35 years or so . We do all the butchering ourselves,cutting & vacuum packing. I do take all the burger cuttings and #10 of my hog fat over to a local butcher and let him grind it all up & wrap it for us. Putting her down , gutting and hanging would be the easy part... after that well... I just don't have a clue. I could read books till i'm blue in the face, but until I stand next to a competent person , watching every step , maybe even snapping pictures ... then I might attempt this on my own . I still work my "other" job as a construction crane operator & I never know when I will get a call to go out of state to work. It has always been easier to schedule a visit to the butcher.... this year I'm home at the correct time... next year ? I'm planning on snapping some photos while the mobile butcher is here. If they are not to graphic or out of focus I will post a few follow up photos and a post on how that process went.