Tuesday, September 21, 2010

captain jack and ianto say good bye to ginger and pepper

The boys as I call them are growing like weeds. They have been on a raw diet for quite a while. It suits them. Chicken has been their staple. They ate all of our "flatties"* during broiler raising season. We lost quite a few of this time around. They began their journey heat stressed and were overly susceptible to it from then on.

This gate is one of their boundaries they are not supposed to cross. They are pretty good about following that rule.
This is Ianto about half grown. He reminds me of Henry. I still miss Henry.

Ianto is my favorite, I admit it. I can't help it. Here they are waiting for dinner.

Once Ianto is full grown he'll stand like that but only on the top bar.

Ginger and Pepper are going to the slaughter house tomorrow.

I know I professed last time that I would never do that again. Luckily I'm allowed to change my mind. The job that they did on smoking the meat and making sausage was so great that they have won me over for at least another time.

We will save every little scrap of bone and usual waste from both pigs to freeze for the dogs. They eat less on this diet and are much healthier. Tabitha really appreciates the fact that their waste is small and turns ashen white and benign within a day or so. Our large dung beetle population makes short work of three large dogs feces this way too.

So, goodbye to Ginger and Pepper but hello to them all winter long.

They are such friendly creatures we love them on so many levels.

I don't think that I will ever put pigs in the garden again.

Their smell is a little too close to the house. But, the main reason is they only tore up certain areas of the garden a little too deeply while left other areas completely untouched. Huge craters in the garden are not what I was hoping for.

I still have a little more tear down of the butcher area. The big-top worked perfectly this time.

I am trying to complete some compost for when my parents arrive with Kassi's Daylily starts. Two of these bins were full of nitrogen rich waste bedding and cow manure.

This is how far it has composted.

It is about a third of it's original volume. I have turned it twice in the past few weeks in attempt to get high compost temperatures. The feed stock was full of weed seeds and I wanted to be sure to kill of them. My moisture content was a little high and I lost some nutrients.

Composting is easy and difficult at the same time. Predictable results are the elusive factor. Last season my compost, although complete, contained far too many weed seeds. I hope for much better this time around.

*flatties are what we call chickens that have died and are laying there extremely flat when we come to check on them.


Ed said...

Not sure what your stances are but you can prevent pigs from digging huge craters like that by ringing their noses. They still turn the soil but it prevents them from digging.

Hope your butchering goes better this year. I'm sure it will from the knowledge you gained last year.

warren said...

I envy your winter stash! And the big top...priceless! I like the buck teeth and all!

Erin said...

great post, beautiful dogs!

Homesteading Mommy said...

Sometime this winter in your "slow time", I'd LOVE for you to do a post about feeding your dogs. We want to do more raw to our dog than we do, but we don't really know what to feed her. Right now I save chicken necks, wing tips, feet, gizzards and immature eggs for her from each slaughter. We add broth to her store bought food when we have it. When eggs are plentiful we give her a raw egg a day. We will be slaughtering lambs and goats at home too. What of the innerds are good for them? How do you prepare it all to freeze? What's a good amount of raw food for a 60lb dog? Its a dream to go 100% raw but I just don't really know where to start and so few people do it that when I ask I just get told how cruel we would be to our dog and it would be training her to kill. :-< Thanks for any help you can give!!!

karl said...

Ed, We probably won't ring their nose in the future. We'll just learn from this and put them where they can have their way with the area. I'm not sure how I feel about the ring. My knee-jerk reaction is to not cause them any pain that I don't absolutely have to. Mind you this is coming from someone that has burned the horns off their baby calf and Burdizzo crushed the Vas deferens off their steer.

Warren, Thanks although we sold one of the hogs to my Father-in-law. We still are pretty set though.

Erin, thanks I like them too.

Homesteading mommy, There is no big secret to feeding the dogs. In the wild they eat the entire animal so any part of the animal is ok to feed. In the wild dogs binge and fast as sources of food present themselves. Slaughter day is a binge for them. This last slaughter they ate all of the viscera. Be forewarned they will have bad breath after this.

Our dogs wait to eat. I say when it is ok to eat. Our animals around here are their charge. They know that they are supposed protect them. They would never never kill any of our animals but I have slit the throat of a bad rooster and gave it to them still warm and said "OK". They promptly ate it.

Walter over at sugar mountain has wonderfully trained LGDs. His dogs even cull litters leaving healthy piglets. That is a little too far for my taste. I like to be sure that no one can poison my dogs. They eat what I say they can.

We are not experts in this area. We just do what seems natural, influenced by what seems natural to them. I blame commercial dog food for Henry's cancer. Hence, I blame myself. This must be better!

Ben said...


There's another reason to not put pigs in garden space: Worms. Our children have both had episodes with asceris, the long white worm that is so common in pigs. The eggs last for a long time in the soil and then your kids (or you) eat a dirty carrot out of the garden and... next thing you know, you've got a long worm crawling out the butt of your 5 yr old. Or your three year old is coughing one up (they hatch out in the lungs). Don't ask me how I know these things.

Everyone says "oh, but we don't have problems with worms" and so on, but we have tested many pigs from many different sources, done rotational grazing,etc, etc, all the right things short of commercial wormer (which we now use) and still... worms. Almost all pigs have 'em, and that's not necessarily bad, just a question of proper management. And to me that means keeping them out of the garden and making sure any pig shit we use for food fertility is well composted to kill the eggs.

BTW, it's estimated that about 1/3rd of the global human population has these suckers living in their intestines.

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