Jeremy Newell

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since Jun 03, 2014
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Recent posts by Jeremy Newell

I'm looking for one or two good starter books. Ideally the book would have information about breeds, feed needs (eg: rooters vs. grazers, how much of what types of food per time period, etc.), housing & fencing requirements, breeding, appropriate ages for weaning/breeding/slaughtering/etc., ... other things that I don't know yet to ask about pigs.

I'm especially interested in information about pastured pigs and breeds that like to primarily graze (like those cute little kunekunes!).

I don't need this book to have slaughtering / butchering / recipes / secrets of good charcutterie - I have other resources for these. But I won't reject a book if it does have these, as long as the rest of the info is detailed enough.


I'm mostly decided on the following titles from Amazon:

- Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs: 3rd Ed
- Homegrown Pork: Humane, Healthful Techniques for Raising a Pig for Food


I'd appreciate anyone's feedback on these two titles or recommendations for any others.

Thanks!
6 years ago
Hi, I'm just starting a farm in PNW and have asked the same question of some of the established farmers in my area. Some have indeed used pigs, successfully, to deal with scotch broom infestations!

As has been said already, the pigs are smart enough to know not to eat the broom.
Get a rooting breed, not a grazing/browsing breed as you want them digging up the roots. Use grains around the base of the broom plants to direct the pigs' rooting.

Best time to attack broom is when it's in full bloom (that would have been May this year). The plant has moved much of it's energy from it's roots to it's blossoms. After that point it is making seeds (undesired) and photosynthesizing to start putting energy back into it's roots for next year (also undesired). You may want to chop them down before much of the regenerative part of the cycle happens.

As for using goats to nip broom sprouts, I've also heard from the local farmers that goats will eat the broom, but only if there isn't much else to chew on so I'm not sure if it's all that good for them to eat. More research required, I think.

Also as was mentioned, scotch broom is a pioneer plant trying to improve poor/damaged soil. After a good rooting/chopping, might be good idea to sow some clover (or your preferred substitute) for nitrogen-fixing, ground-covering goodness to reduce both the footprint for the broom to grow back in and the need for it to grow back.


Please keep in mind - none of this is first hand experience for me, just information I'm getting from the experienced locals. If you try any of this out, I would love to hear how it goes. If I get to if first, I will let you know how it goes!
6 years ago
Dip-scalding takes a bit of setup, but once things are ready to go (water is right temperature, pig is hung) then its 4-6 minutes of dunking and, with 2-3 people with bell scrapers in hand, about 6 minutes of scraping and you're done. Really, that fast.

I did this as a novice in a workshop with other novices. The only parts that took a bit longer were the armpits (those hairs needed shaving, not scraping) and the head (as the face was quite wrinkly). I did this on kunekunes, which are similar to pot bellies, ie: not the biggest pigs around. I'm told a more typical big pig takes about 8 mins under experienced hands.

If you've scalded at the right temperature for the right length of time, then the hairs come out quite readily under a scraper.
You have about a 10-12 minute window for doing your scraping as the pig cools down (less, if out on a chilly fall day), after which point the cellulose of the skin starts to tighten up again and hold the hairs - it's much harder to scrape after the scald wears off, go to shaving at that point.
I'm also told that it doesn't work to give the pig a second dipping, the skin starts to get gummy and things go bad pretty quickly.

Why scrape instead of just skinning? It doesn't take that much longer to do and the amount of delicious edible material that is lost in the skinning is significant. As well, removing the skin makes for way more surface area for bacteria to colonize.


I have not tried pour-scalding so I have no comparison to make on that.
6 years ago