We went to a local friend's house this weekend where they have ducks, goats, chickens, and pigs. They currently have three female piglets at their house. Two of the piglets are theirs, and one is for a friend. They feed them healthy foods from their house, pig grower, and any excess food that they have. They even put their pig pen (no pun intended) around their garden so the pigs can dig it up for next year, and eat any excess fruits or veggies. It only takes two days for the pigs to dig up and eat this particular area. After a few months, they gain about a pound per pound of food they eat. In November, when the pigs are about 300 pounds, they bring them to a local butcher who sends the pigs back honey-cured or in sleeves. They found that the cost of selling one pig for a friend, pays for their other two pigs maintenance and butcher fees.
This is a little conflicting for me, as I love animals and do not like them to be harmed. However, I am hypocritical in that I eat meat. Yet, I do believe animals are entitled to a good life up, to their last moments. They feed us, so the least we can do is ensure their well-being. Pigs are extremely intelligent animals and are aware of their surroundings. Unlike a dog that will eat until he kills himself, a pig will actually stop eating when it is full. I even saw the girl pigs at our friends' farm playing tag with each other, just as a dog may. I disagree with people that say pigs are not social, I have witnessed myself that pigs are very social animals.
So how does this all relate to us? Well we have decided that we would like to purchase a pig to raise on the farm for our own consumption. I think it is a great opportunity in many ways. First, we can ensure that the piglet is properly raised and treated appropriately. Next, the meat it provides us will last a substantial amount of time, and save us money in the long run. Also, the meat can be ground down for our dogs' raw diet. Finally, the area that the pig lives in will get churned up because pigs are diggers. We want to start our garden this March, so some of the work will be done ahead of time with little labor on our parts. Pigs are tremendously strong, a boulder that you thought could not be moved will be on the other side of the yard the following day. A pig offers many positive attributes that can be beneficial to our farm and home.