Archive | September, 2010

Roselle the Red Wattle Gilt

12 Sep

We are convinced that the Red Wattle Hog is the right heritage breed hog for our family farm. Docile, gentle, hardy and disease resistant, they need little intervention to maintain a healthy herd with proper management. So, was it the time to add a gilt to the “herd”? We had 15 piglets, so we knew that our boar could do his job. However, there were concerns about how to find one. They are critically endangered according to the ALBC.

Our Yorkshire gilts were about to farrow, so we contacted the very helpful and knowledgeable farmers at Ecotonefarm, they had recently gone through a “farrowing” and were the only people we knew of with recent experience. I had contacted C.J. to find out if he had any advice prior to the birth of our piglets. He was generous with his time and provided excellent information. We also happened to find out that he had a gilt left from his first RWH litter and when we ran the inbreeding coefficient, we found that his gilt would be a good match with our boar

She is home with us now at PGF and doing very, very well. She is a playful, affectionate, talkative gilt with a lot of personality!

See C.J.’s post regarding the match.

Why the name “Roselle”?

We grew the plant “roselle” this year with excellent results. We feel that there is potential for the flower and the gilt to become a very important elements on our farm in the future!

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The piglet project comes full circle

10 Sep

We did a lot of research prior to adding animals to our farm. We thought it would be nice if we could find animals that served several purposes and so when we researched pigs, we found that they will:

1. Root up brambles (we have lots of those!).
2. Till the soil
3. Amend the soil.
4 Eat poison ivy. !!!!!!!
5. Do well on pasture and in woodlot areas.
6. Forage.
7. Dig a shallow pond for you… uh, maybe.

8. Consume all of the extra fruits and vegetables we don’t use or sell.
9. Be very economical sources of meat if managed correctly.
10. Taste great!

We initially got 3 six week old Yorkshire cross piglets and raised them through the winter. They tilled the soil until it froze. We then decided that it might be a good idea to breed them – perhaps we were not quite ready to eat them? Eating what we raise has been an interesting journey…another post for another day.

Then we learned about the wonderful Red Wattle Hog through various sources, but most importantly, through Econtonefarm. We found these great folks when we got our Narragansett turkeys. They have a lot of good information about the Red Wattle Hog on their blog.

So, in early spring, we purchased a registered Red Wattle Hog boar to be our “herd” sire. He was 4 months old – we got him from Jan Black in Dover, TN.

He is a lazy, docile boar. We were not sure he would be of much assistance in the “piglet project” but by May, he developed, shall we say – more energy.

On Labor day, we got our first litter of 6 piglets. Two days later we welcomed 4 more. Two days after that, an additional 5 healthy piglets. 15 total!

We were told that it was important to separate the boar from the gilts and piglets for their safety. The above picture shows our boar with his first batch of piglets. Notice that we put up chicken wire to keep them OUT of his pen. We learned the answer to the question “where do little piglets go when their mother is not looking?” Answer: wherever they want!

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