Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Pigs Are Here!

Yea, the pigs are here! Jenn’s brother Dan and I drove to Bellevue, MI to pick up the six pigs we purchased with share money. They are awfully cute, and very excited to be moved from a more confined space to our expanded pen. For the comfort of the swine, I doubled the size of the pen. As it turns out, there is a dearth of feeders available this season, and everything we checked out was going at 4-H prices, which is about $75-$100 per pig. We purchased Sandhill’s pigs for $75 each. As we did in Ohio, we decided to buy pigs that were in confinement. Last year, we took rejects from a corporate farm, but they proved to be much less healthy than we bargained for, and did not feed out at a very good rate. That means we wasted a lot of feed.
I also have another pig story for you, one that is favored by Jenn and Emma. One year in Ohio, Micah received a toy train, and when you pushed a button on the toy, it made a train whistle sound and a chugging sound, and the front end lit up like a train light. One night, we had some problems in the barn where the hogs were, and I had to hustle out to see what was going on. As it turned out, we were woefully underprepared in the flashlight department, and it was very dark. So, I had to grab Micah’s toy train, and then continuously push the button on it so that the light would turn on and I could see where I was going. Of course, every time I pushed the button, the train whistle would go off and the toy train would make a little chugging sound. Jenn and Emma were laughing uncontrollably. In fact, the hogs even stopped whatever it was they were doing and stared at me with interested smiles. Thank goodness for rural seclusion.
Sometimes, however, we are not as secluded as we might like to be. Last fall, when we were feeding out the final batch of broilers, we had a problem with a skunk stealing chicks. The first morning, our son Dylan was waiting for the bus when the skunk came, and he scared it away by throwing something at it. The second morning, I heard the chicks making a ruckus (they were right outside our bedroom window). I leapt out of bed, and grabbed a hunting gun. I didn’t want to take too long and let the skunk get away, so I simply ran outside in my boxer shorts and knee boots. I was not paying any attention to time, but I knew I had made a mistake when I heard Dylan shout, “Dad, get back in the house!” As luck would have it, his school bus was just pulling up to pick him up for school. I’m sure every kid on the bus easily identified me as the crazy “militia man” running around in his underwear looking for the black helicopters of the “One World Government.”
More farm news – we are scheduled to pick up the yearling ewes on the weekend of fifth month the 21, in Alma, MI. We pick up our first batch of broilers on the 14th of this month. Our egg production is right around 20 to 24 eggs per day. We are still looking for bull calves to feed out for beef, and as of now, we have about eight shares left to sell.

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