Get Along Piggies

This fall we stretched the pigs’ grazing season longer than usual. Some years we’ve had to curtail it by late October, though normally we bring them in just before deer hunting begins in mid-November. This year their rotation pattern brought them farther from the woods so they weren’t interfering with hunters.  But with the fields turning mushy as the season progressed, it was time. Even large groups of cattle can be herded effectively by one person driving the rear, but pigs don’t move as cohesively as cattle.  The groups are more prone… Read More

Squeaking By

Last night we moved the chickens into their winter hoophouse, just as the snow started falling.  We seem to have a knack for squeaking by when we have deadlines to face.  Each year the autumn weather patterns are a bit different, so we don’t have hard calendar deadlines.  Rather there is a complex coefficient of management hassle that tells us when to bring the chickens in.  This is hard science folks: coefhassle = rain + 2(snow + mud) + cold Chickens don’t need protection from a little bit of snow, but with the… Read More

Boar Tusks

Last December our big boar died and I buried him in a pile of hay bales to compost.  Over the summer the pile broke down, so with a little sifting I was able to unearth the cleaned skeleton.  I removed the tusks since they are so anatomically interesting. Tusks (or tushes in some parts of the country) are the canine teeth of pigs.  They are found on both the upper and lower jaw, with lower set tending to be larger and sharper along the outside edges.  The upper tusks angle against the lower… Read More

Pastured Poultry Video

I’ve been a member of a pastured poultry association for a few years.  It is a small group comprised of farmers like us who are committed to raising birds on pasture.  It mostly exists as a forum for farmers to discuss techniques and practices among ourselves via an online discussion group and a bimonthly newsletter. They just put together a video showing what pastured poultry looks like.  Honestly, the video isn’t quite as great as it could be, probably too discursive for most YouTube viewers.  But it does provide good examples of… Read More