Some little piggies will go to market – but these three stay home

By jilladmin • January 25th, 2016

There are a lot more animals here at Bag End than just alpacas – today I’d like to introduce you to our pigs, Undur, Bub and Squealey.

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The two sows, Undur and Bub, have suitably Tolkienesque names – Undur means “fat” and Bub means “pig” in Orcish – but our boar Squealey pretty much named himself as a piglet.  The sows are crosses of two heritage breeds, Gloucestershire Old Spots (GOS) and Tamworth, while Squealey is pure GOS.  Both breeds are old fashioned foraging types, and our little herd will be out in the woods and fields this spring.  They’re a great way to reclaim or till areas you want worked over – we introduced Squealey to his job as a walking rototiller when he was just a little guy (that’s our amazing summer intern Evelyn supervising).

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Hopefully, they’ll have piglets out foraging with them, if Squealey has done his job.  We have to cut him some slack, though, as the girls still outweigh him by about 200 pounds.

The alpacas have finally become accustomed to the pigs after many months, although they remain incredibly suspicious of them.  I suspect it’s because pigs seem so ambiguous – not clearly a predator, not clearly another grazer.  Not to mention that the pigs think trying to play tag with the alpacas is great fun, even with a fence between them.  The alpacas have yet to figure out the pigs mean the chasing and squealing in fun – although the donkeys liked to play when they had an adjoining fence.  The pigs and donkeys would touch noses, squeal or bray, turn and race away, only to come back and repeat.

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Squealey and his lady friends are pretty darned spoiled (as is everything else on the farm) – here Squealey is ensuring that our son Fox gives him a thorough scritching by the simple expedient of sitting on his feet.  Escape is generally possible when Squealey collapses on his side looking for a tummy rub, though.

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But as idyllic a life as these three have, we do raise pigs for more than just the pleasure of knowing them – one of their piglets will become bacon, chops and roasts in our freezer, while the remainder will feed other Maine families looking for humanely raised and handled pork.  Our pigs have ample room to roam, are fed healthy feeds to supplement what they forage for themselves, and are treated with kindness and respect.  We will not castrate any male piglets raised for slaughter, but instead will process them young enough that there is no possibility of boar taint.  We know that eating meat isn’t for everyone, but we have made the conscious decision to raise the beef, pork and poultry we eat ourselves, so that we know every individual animal was happy and healthy from birth to death.

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