Wednesday, 12 November 2014

New Arrivals And A New Hotel For The Smallholding.

A more cheerful post today.  Number one son decided to buy 2 pigs with some of his birthday money.  So we finally finished the pig shed.  We have been using the pig shed for storing tools and tractor parts.  We went to see the pig man who we usually buy them from he.  He sold us 2 bigger pigs than we usually get.  He also sold us a nipple drinker.

 New pigs arrive in the pick up.  Guess who got covered in the proverbial picking them up?
 Exploring the new home/hotel/  We made a slatted house for them and they have a sleeping quarters with straw.  The piece of timber (hopefully) stops them dragging their bedding into the slats.  The slat tank is only three foot deep.  I bought the pig slats second hand.  Half of them were used for paths on the veg plot.
 "Which side of the bed do you want?"
The nipple drinker.  They just suck and the water flows.  Do you like their UPVC door with window?

The pigs are "Large Whites" and we are feeding them oats and vegetables.  Anybody else thinking of getting pigs?

20 comments:

  1. Hi ya Dave, nipple drinkers or bite drinkers are so much better than auto drinkers. they tend to stuff their face in it and throw the water all around making a mess all over. Have they tamworth in them? I do love to see them with ginger fringes.

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  2. Hi Sol. Nipple/bite drinkers are brilliant. We have used old kitchen pans in the past and they would pick them up with their mouths and spill the water for devilment.

    I don't think they have Tamworth in them. We once had a Doruc which was browny red. We go for Large Whites because they are cheaper than the organic rare breeds and they are very quick to fatten. Have you kept pigs? You sound like you know a lot about them Sol?

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  3. Hi Dave I come from farming stock, my cousin still farms the family place. Although it is a very hard work hobby as he also has a full time job as well. Dairy. With about40 sheep (stupid bloody things), letting that go as they are a pain in the neck. 8 sows. I do love little piglets. Have your piglets had their teeth done?

    Pigs are a small holders friend. As far as I can tell they are the easiest live stock. If we ever were able to afford a small holding I would have them rather than chickens. people think I am crazy when I say that.

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  4. Hi Sol. Sheep drive you mad and you need incredibly good stock proof fencing. I much prefer cattle and pigs. Gave up on hens and ducks. Nobody liked cleaning them out, they attracted rats and it was easier to buy some free range organic eggs from a supermarket than pay 9 Euros a week for their food.

    The piglets must have had their teeth clipped because they are six weeks old. We usually buy cheaper, smaller one's. Hopefully these two will finish quicker.

    They are a smallholders friend. Everybody kept them years ago. Even city dwellers had a sty in their backyard or on their council allotment.

    Have you never thought of renting a smallholding, Sol? You can get some incredibly cheap rural houses with say an acre of land for under 40000 Euros here in Ireland. The best thing about renting is you decide whether you like the place before buying a property. Let me know how you get on. Or if you want any help finding one in Ireland? Thanks!

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  5. Hi Dave
    We had Large Whites on our farm. Used to fatten them and sell to the local butcher. As you say, they are quick to fatten and finish. Why not have a sow and get some babies for the boy to fatten up?

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  6. Hi Rachel. We have thought about getting a sow. But the sight of them make it's look rather daunting and we would also need a farrowing pen so she doesn't squash her babies. Pigs are real characters with their own personalities. Would you not consider getting some pigs again, Rachel?

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  7. Welcome back Cumbrian. Hope you are well? We will probably sell one pig to pay for the feeding and the other pig will be half pork and half bacon. Wish I could make a smoker. You can't beat your own meat that's had a mixed diet of meal and vegetables. We also give them bread and the contents of the food cupboard like half a jar of jam. They love it! Thanks Cumbrian.

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  8. Hey Dave, get an old fridge off of freecycle to make a smoker

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    1. I have an old fridge that we were going to take to the waste disposal depot. Thanks for the idea!

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  10. Hi Dave, just google making a smoker, lots of ideas out there. It really is very simple. Just remember that you would want to cold smoke, so any small out building or an upright freezer or even an old chest freezer, make a whole in the side, big enough to take a largish pipe, we used 6inch flexible ducting pipe through a hole in the wall of an old boiler room, the other end of the pipe was connected to a garden incinerator in which we had a low fire of oak chippings very slightly damp so they just smoulder and don't burn, you can let the fire go out overnight and start it again the next day, in total I think we smoked for 18 hours. We dried cured the sides of belly for 10 days, then air dried for another 10 before smoking. The bacon smells and tastes as bacon used to many many years ago and no white gunge.

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  11. Sorry that should read hole, not whole.

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  12. Thanks Anne. I will google making a smoker - thanks! We have a wood turner. So the shavings will probably work like oak chippings. I would like to learn about dry curing bacon. Do you have pigs at the moment? Which breed do you think tastes nicest? Thanks Anne.

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    1. This years pigs went in Sept they were Tamworth X Saddleback the flavour is great, cleaned weight was 85kg each, had large whites years ago but found them too large. The best pork I have tasted came from a pure bred Old Spot, but for us the extra cost did not seem justified which is why we went for a X bred. Dry curing is very easy, maybe do what we did, look up a recipe on google, buy a couple of kg of belly from your butcher, it's cheap enough and have a go before you do your own pigs, that way you can modify the recipe to your taste, one other thing, do you have a friendly butcher that has a bacon slicer? ask if he would slice the cured side for you as is quite hard to do it thin enough by hand, once sliced is must be frozen as it will only keep sliced for a couple of weeks, if it's left whole it will keep for months.

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    2. Thanks Anne. I think a lot of us need to rediscover flavour, vegetable varieties and the best breeds of animals for meat. So often when you go in a supermarket. Vegetables are often sold as: Swedes, potatoes, carrots... Never stating what variety they are. The same can be said for meat.

      Normally we have half pork and bacon with sausages per pig. It normally costs about 120 Euro for this per pig. Or half that figure (60 Euro) for just pork. So it's 3 trips to the butchers. One to kill them. A few days later we pick up the pork. A fortnight later we pick up the bacon. So it makes it complicated and it involves travelling to the butcher and burning fuel. Often wondered what chemicals are used in the bacon process. Thanks for the advice. There is a good section about curing in the John Seymour Self Sufficiency book. Thanks again!

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    3. The butcher slaughtered for us, we did our own butchery, just followed John Seymours cutting chart. Our butcher would have charged 50 euros for this. I don't know how much extra he charges for making the sausages and bacon. I have a Kenwood chef and when we decided to 'do' pigs again I bought a sausage making attachment (Amazon).
      Most commercial bacon is wet cured, ie. soaked in brine and saltpetre plus other chemicals, often the bacon side are injected with brine, (water costs little and bulks up the weight) If you have a good heavy sharp knife a large hacksaw (we used an 18inch) and a meat cleaver it's quite easy. Cut flesh with the knife, hacksaw the bone, cleaver for chops. Your butcher will give you sausage skins or you can get them online. We aim for a traditional English banger, 50% fat 10% bread crumbs plus seasoning and or herbs. If you do make you own sausages when you have minced up all the ingredients make small pates and fry them to taste you can then adjust your recipe to your taste before making the minced pork into sausages.
      This was the first year that we had ever made bacon or sausages, I did a lot or reading up both from google and a couple of books before we even got the pigs. As everything turned out great we will certainly do our own again until we are too old to cope with the butchery. My books are out on loan at the moment, when I get them back I will give you the titles.

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    4. Thanks Anne. I will read up on Google and you have give me an idea for some Christmas presents for ourselves. We have made sausages without skins in the past and they were fine although they some times split up into a mess. Thanks again for the advice!

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  13. Keep thinking about it and the pen is nearly ready so hopefully next year we will. Yours look like they'll be happy (and tasty).

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  14. Hi Kev. You will have to post some pictures of your pen on your blog to see what progress is happening on it. Are you going to get some pig slats or will it be more free range?

    Have you seen the illustration of John Seymour's Pig Housing: The New Complete book of Self Sufficiency? It looks rather ramshackle and uses my favourite smallholding material: corrugated iron sheeting. I have seen them made out of square bales? You will also have a good source of manure for the veg plot. Thanks for your comment, Kev.

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