Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MORE ABOUT LIFE ON THE FARM-Bill's Bits

Last week I told about herding dairy cows and it got quite lengthy.  This week,  I'll try to cover raising hogs and chickens.

My first memory of pigs was when my Dad told me that one of our mother hogs had little pigs. No doubt about it, the little pigs were cute, but as they grew older there was more to taking care of them, so they could be sold later.  Proper feeding, adequate water, and clean pig pens were a must. The female hogs were capable of having 2 litters of baby pigs twice a year.  The gestation period for a mother hog was 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours, I think, if memory serves me correctly.  If the hog program was on time, you could be raising hogs year round.

One bad news item was that sometimes the mother hog would get careless and lay on some little pigs and the sight was not pretty, plus it would put a dent in the over-all loss of money because of a smaller number of hogs reaching the selling stage. As years went by, the invention of farrowing(giving birth) pens helped reduce the amount of baby pigs getting layed on.

Quite often, the farrowing time would be in cold winter months and it was necesary to provide adequate warmer housing to protect the baby pigs.  One of the ways was to provide heat lamps to keep the temperature up until the baby pigs gained  stength to survive the weather.  The heat lamps could be trouble unless you were
careful to not have them too close to the straw that was in the pen.

As the warmer weather of Spring arrived, it was time to have the fast growing pigs out in the open field to feed on some grass and always the right amount of feed. With everything going along o.k., it was soon time to market(sell) the hogs and hopefully the farmer would make enough money to pay for the feed they consumed and some extra to pay him for his time, and hard work.

There you have it...  If that way of making a living is your goal, get yourself a mother hog with baby pigs on the way and have at it.  I'll see you at the Sale Barn.

Based on the length of raising hogs, I'll write about raising chickens next week.

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