Well, the pigs are in their winter house. We purchased 5 Jersey Durocs from a breeder in town. We are interested in starting our own drift; however, we are holding out for Tamworth. The Durocs are red beauties as well. Pigs are the workhorses of the farm- and in the winter it is no different. This winter we dropped about a dozen yards of compost into a pile in the center of a ½ acre plot that we plan to use for our garden this coming spring. We hope that they will spread the compost, root up the existing top soil, fertilize a bit and mix it all around. This area of the farm hasn’t been touched for decades as it was an easement for the irrigation district and was only recently sold to the previous owners of the farm. We did a soil sample and the analysis had given us some baseline data; however, one thing that we can tell is we will need to build up the soil rather than dig in as this topsoil is fairly shallow. We will see how the pigs do come spring – right now they will have to fight through a 6 inches of snow.
To contain the pigs we used some hog panels around the house so they can get used to us. They have been weaned for over a week and have been associating people with feed so we hope they will not run at the sight of a new set of feet. The second reason we will keep them paneled in for a while is so we can take a closer look at them. They are still young and we would like to make sure all is well before we turn them loose to the pasture.
Surrounding the house and the panel pen is a ½ acre hot wire fence. We ran two strands, the first at about 8 inches and the second around 16 inches. Surrounding the hot wire is perimeter fencing. We hope to release pigs from their pen and into the larger hot wire pen while we are around during the day and put them back in their house at night. We plan to train them on the hot wire in this way. Then we’ll take the hog panels off in about ten days and the pasture will be theirs. We will see.