At this time of year, new year’s resolutions abound, however the reality for us is that we are constantly reevaluating throughout the year.
The beginning of this year though brings the beginning of the end for one part of our farming journey.
We love our pigs however unfortunately we have come to the realisation that we’re in a little too much over our heads in breeding them.
A sow can give birth to on average two litters per year. If on average she has ten piglets per litter then that’s around twenty piglets a year. That’s a lot of pork! Plus because we have to supplement their feed, even though we could eat pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner the cost would be far beyond our budget. We also don’t feel comfortable eating that quantity of meat per day. Just because we have access to ethical meat, doesn’t mean we agree with the amount that is generally eaten in the Western world on a daily basis. Anyway that’s a whole other topic!
Obviously we can keep Kermit and Miss Piggy separate for most of the year however we don’t really want to do that to them because it’s not very nice for them to be alone just because we want to eat ethical meat that we’ve bred, raised and culled.
So that brings us to our decision to not breed pigs anymore. We hope to still grow out a couple of pigs a year that we would purchase from an ethical breeder however breeding them ourselves is something that maybe the future holds (we hope!) however not for now.
You might wonder why we don’t just sell the pigs as live animals or as meat. We don’t agree with the way the abattoirs in Australia cull their animals so we would never want to send any of our animals to one. We have been told that legally we cannot sell our meat if it has not been processed through a registered abattoir (though for the life of us, we cannot find this law! We aren’t going to risk it though) so that option is out. We also can’t guarantee the welfare of live pigs sold so we’d rather just not.
Obviously this decision was thought about carefully and it is with sad hearts that we have made it.
Yesterday the butcher came to cull Kermit, our boar. His meat will not be wasted, and neither will his life. The butcher also came for Chuck, the Dexter steer that we own half of (the other half being owned by Kel’s parents), plus our little disabled piglet. She was still doing well considering her disability however we didn’t want to grow her out too much in case her body became too big for her legs to be able to support her weight. Her quality of life would have only decreased the bigger she got so as the butcher was coming for the other two, we decided to just get her done too.
Really it’s such a sad topic to blog about however it is the reality of eating meat, which so many people have been able to separate themselves from in this day and age. Although innards make me sick and i get nightmares (i can never watch gorey movies), i made sure i was present for the actual slaughtering of each of our animals. The hardest was little pig because she wasn’t full grown and also because she was so vulnerable due to her disability. However, and we’re not sorry to say, if we want to eat meat, this is the only way we will do it. We struggle a lot with the mentality of a lot of people who eat meat. However that’s also another topic for another day.
Anyway that’s the beginning of the end of our pig breeding. The rest of the piglets will get culled when they’re around six months and up to size, we’ll most likely get them done in batches with Miss Piggy being in one of them.