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Hog Farming Today


Nick
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I was just over at a different forum where we have a thread going about the nastiest, meanest animals any of us have worked with. Willard had this to say -

"I've worked on a couple of hog farms. These were confinement operations. Start the day feeding making sure the water supply is adequate. move on to shoveling shit. Get rid of what's left of any dead animals you find because hogs will eat any thing organic including each other. shovel more shit. Don't allow the hogs to surround you or get trapped because they will bite the holy fuck out of you, if you trip and fall the goddamned things will try to eat you. Check on the sows that have piglets, have any of the mammas eaten thier babies? Shovel more shit. At the end of the day after a long shower you can still smell pig shit because it seems to permeate into your pours and you never seem to smell clean..."

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Back in the early 60s my grandparents and uncle had a small scale hog farm operation. They didn't have those kinds of problems, but then the hogs weren't overcrowded either. Grandpa had some kind of rule as to how many hogs could be in a pen. They made good money at it, too. Grandpa's hogs were the preferred source for a local sausage company and they were willing to pay a premium for them. It didn't smell all that bad, either. Well... It didn't smell good but no worse than a cow pasture.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Yup.

Rewind, early 60's

As a child, probably 10 or 11 yrs old, my neighborhood kid friends would spend a few summer mornings at the local slaughterhouse/pig farm, about a 10 minute bike ride from home.

Hogs were free to roam in a fairly large pen, maybe 15 hogs in a 30 x 30 ft area. Never recall a terrible smell, and the hogs were more afraid of us kids, as they would head to the opposite side of the pen, from where we would stand and watch.

Still sticks hard in my memory, of the singular cattle slaughter, not that it was bad, but looking back, very educational.

Slaughtering was done individually, and was very swift, in all aspects.

woodburner

Edited by woodburner (log)
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I had occaision to work with an older carpenter some years ago, who told me that he had grown up on an island off CT in the 1940's and 50's and his dad was the lighthouse keeper. He said there were two other families on that same island and they all cooperated with providing for each other. He matter of factly told me of one bad winter when one of the fathers of the other families slipped and fell in the pig pen and the pigs ate him!!

I decided that pigs were not in my future on that day.

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My best friend is a small scale hog farmer here in Minnesota. The only aggressiveness i've ever seen in his hogs was when a new small boar he had just bought, managed to get into the much larger old boars pen. While Pete grabbed a 5 foot piece of 2x6, which he used as a pry bar and for couple of whacks to the heads; his wife ran into the house and grabbed the rifle. She stood by until Pete separated the two and restored peace. What Pete did that day amazed the four of us(two couples) visiting that day. Pete said the large boar would have easily killed the small one and his rather large investment. And the large old boar is the one his wife would have shot. When my kids would visit and Pete had small piglets he would often get a few and let my kids hold em(cute as hell). The sows only ever showed the slightest sign of aggitation. About twice a year we split half a pig with Pete and it has ruined us for supermarket pork. Same goes for the grass fed beef Pete arranges for us to share with him twice a year. He only uses cracked corn for feeding his hogs and doesn't believe in the mega-antibiotics so many are using for livestock now. The farmer who raises the beef is the same way. It's quite a site to watch Pete and his wife feed his pigs "treats" like watermelon rinds and fresh sweet corn husks. You'd think it was candy.

Every year Pete and i talk about butchering the hog ourselves. We'd have to do it in the fall and spring when the temp is just right. Maybe this year will be the year. Can't be all that much tougher than a deer...can it? If we do and i take pics would anybody like to see em posted?

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

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Every year Pete and i talk about butchering the hog ourselves. We'd have to do it in the fall and spring when the temp is just right. Maybe this year will be the year. Can't be all that much tougher than a deer...can it? If we do and i take pics would anybody like to see em posted?

Absolutely!! :smile:

"When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!" --Ralph Wiggum

"I don't support the black arts: magic, fortune telling and oriental cookery." --Flanders

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What Willard was talking about in my original post were large confinement operations and I well imagine those hogs get so deranged that killing and eating one of their captors would come as second nature.

I've been around pigs since I was nine or ten. We used to raise two or three a year and it was my job to trim the grass under the electric fence. After they got big enough, I'd ride them around the pen. Wasn't easy, but it could be done. Then in the summer we'd have a little local fair and there were contests for us kids and one of them was the greased pig contest. A few oiled small pigs would be let loose in a field and then us kids would try to catch them. It's not easy. You've got to dive on the pig and try to hold it down so it can't get away. Not easy at all when the kids aren't much bigger than the pigs.

I've never met a hog I couldn't get along with when there are just a few around. It's just these big operations that mess things up. I doubt if their meat is fit to eat anyhow.

Fifi, did you ever smell a bad cow pasture? Cow shit smells good. Especially compared to pig shit and chicken shit.

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Fifi, did you ever smell a bad cow pasture? Cow shit smells good. Especially compared to pig shit and chicken shit.

Pig shit ruins shoes. One step in it and the shoes have that smell forever. Pete has dozens of pairs of various shoes in his foyer that are only good now for around the farm. He buys em two or three pair at a time. Hazard of the job, i suppose.

We used to talk for hours...well he talked and i listened and asked stupid questions...about the large confinement farms and what they were doing to the small farmers and the genetics of the hog. Now instead of putting all that thought and energy into what "they" were doing wrong, he focuses on what he can do right. At some point he realized bitching about it wasn't the answer.

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

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We'd raised pigs a few times, when I was younger. I can remember being eight years old and seeing my father bring home garbage bags full of food scraps from the mess (I'm a base brat). He'd point wryly to, say, 10 pounds of superannuated salmon steaks and tell me that we had the best-fed pigs in the province.

Later, in Newfoundland, he used pigs as excavators. He'd build their pen in the section of our property which had the most stumps. By fall, when we slaughtered, the stumps would look like alien jellyfish, with their roots all exposed. Dad would chop them out with relative ease, and the next year set out garden beds in the place the pigs had been.

Last month, as part of our curriculum, my class took a field-trip day to go to a couple of food-related sites here in the city. One was the University of Alberta's model pig farm. My instructors were under the impression that we'd be touring the facility itself, but in fact we were taken to the interpretive centre, which is geared to children of elementary school age.

The bemused guide did her best, but it was all-too-obviously not a good situation. There were bright and colourful displays and dioramas on the walls, with titles like "See the Pigs", "Touch a Pig" (pigskin on the wall), "Hear the Pigs" (pre-recorded squeals), and - my personal favourite - "Smell the Pigs". I wish I'd taken a camera so I could get a picture of that one.

The "piece de resistance" was a large diorama illustrating The Poop Cycle. When you turn the handle on the side, moving silhouettes demonstrated the pig manure going to fertilize the fields which grow the grain which feed the pigs which produce the manure which....

Needless to say, The Poop Cycle has become something of a catchphrase with my classmates and I.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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What Willard was talking about in my original post were large confinement operations and I well imagine those hogs get so deranged that killing and eating one of their captors would come as second nature.

Indeed, it might be self-defense.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Butchering a hog is probably three or more times the effort of dressing venison. It is strength and labor intensive. If you go to the library in the animal management section you should easily find a butchering book. You need quite a bit more equipment. But for all that, you will probably enjoy your pork and ham a lot more for the labor. Make sure you get yourself a good USDA chart to illustrate the proper cuts, though, because poorly cut, the meat will only be good slowcooked. Take pictures for us.

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We used to talk for hours...well he talked and i listened and asked stupid questions...about the large confinement farms and what they were doing to the small farmers and the genetics of the hog. Now instead of putting all that thought and energy into what "they" were doing wrong, he focuses on what he can do right. At some point he realized bitching about it wasn't the answer.

Do you know what breeds of pigs he raises? A number of rare heritage breeds are being raised and providing a little more variety to the agribusiness breed.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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He used to raise chester whites...but i think now that he has scaled back it's bershire's. But i could be way off. I'll find out next time we talk. I used to cut meat for a large resturant here in Mn back in the early 80's so i have all the knives we would need and a general knowledge of the cuts.

As far as the strength part is concerned, if you saw Pete you would know that is not a issue. One of the reasons he is able to get between 2 fighting boars is he is a large man. During our junior high school years Pete suffered from a overactive thyroid. Doctors eventually had to remove it, but by then Pete was well over 200 lbs of solid muscle. He almost drowned once during a swimming lesson at phy-ed when he sunk straight to the bottom of the deep end. He had a doctors slip advising he was not allowed to go in water over his head, due to the fact he basically had no body fat, but the instructor made him. It was grade eight and the instructor had his hands full getting Pete back to the surface. It was hard watching your friend at the bottom of a pool trying to claw his way up the side, or jumping up from the bottom only to sink back down. Anyways Pete is now probably 300 plus pounds and it is still alot of muscle.

We talk about buying a hobart meat grinder setup on eBay for the sausage making part. His wife's uncle uses a bandsaw for the cutting when he doe's his 3 hogs every fall. We have sort of a plan and our wives are all for it. But it's one of those things once you start you can't go back.

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

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We used to talk for hours...well he talked and i listened and asked stupid questions...about the large confinement farms and what they were doing to the small farmers and the genetics of the hog.  Now instead of putting all that thought and energy into what "they" were doing wrong, he focuses on what he can do right.  At some point he realized bitching about it wasn't the answer.

this is a man who deserves all the support he can get from the rest of us.

Edited by tryska (log)
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Anytime that we speak about hograisers,cattle r..s, goat, sheep, fowl, etc., I presume that we are not discussing factory producers, although some feedlots are single family owned (and much smaller than places like McElhaney's, which raises in excess of 250,000 a year). If you want to find out as much as possible about an animal, you must or need to start at the Breed Raisers Associations. These are the folks who do the slog work, and truly passionately care about the critters they raise. But you don't know which breed to look up? Okay, go to the animal in question, for example, Hog Breeders Associations. You'll find enough to get a start. If you are interested in suchlike matters, I'm sure you'll be entertained.

Now, for the cutest thing I've come across in awhile. These are darling. Go to www.minicattle.com to start your morning with an Aw, gee.

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Umm... why do we want a smaller T-bone or less loin? Ditto for shoulder to smoke.

But, scours season would be easier! :biggrin:

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Now, for the cutest thing I've come across in awhile. These are darling. Go to www.minicattle.com to start your morning with an Aw, gee.

Bah, humbug. They're as bad as miniature dogs, and much harder to clean up after.

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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At Fossil Rim Wildlife Park in Glen Rose Texas, they had a children's petting section up at the observation complex on the rim. One of the critters was a full-grown Brahma mini bull that was about 3 1/2 feet tall. Gray, the indus horns, just a miniature. It was the only miniature I had seen excepting some Herefords, and he was just really cool.

Maybe I just like em 'cause they are little enough to go where I want,without too much static.

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