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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Hogs, Livestock » Hog Journal

Hog Journal

The New Piglets Are Here

 It is Saturday, September 11, 2004 and the new piglets have arrived on Shepherds Hill.  I am so excited!  This is the second venture into raising our own pork.  Our first was last fall with “BarbieQ” – a lovely Duroc pig we bought from Ed Harris.  This time we have purchased 2 Hampshire gilts (young females) from Paul’s brother, Steve.  Steve works for a hog farmer in Gadsden and I must say these two little ones are beautiful.

 I am looking forward to raising two together.  Paul and I are discussing the possibility of keeping one as a possible sow and raising piglets with her.  She is marked so nicely, which isn’t that big a matter for us, but she would make nice babies.

 The Hampshire breed is black with white markings – preferably a stripe across their shoulders and all the way around their front legs and chest.  From doing a little research I found that the Hampshire breed came to this country in the late 1820’s from Scotland and England and is possibly one of the oldest breeds raised in this country. The breed is known for good, lean meat. 

Hampshire Breed Info

 I will be adding information on the process of raising these two Hamps and keeping you updated as to their growth and progress

 February Update On The Hampshires

 Here we are, 5 months later and these hogs are getting big!! :-)) I must admit that our little foray into the two hog raising experience has not been double the fun. All you experienced hog raisers are probably giggling with delight at our innocent ignorance, right?!!! Now to be honest, it hasn’t been all that bad.

 Paul and I – being complete novices on the hog raising front when we started – are still not so sure about a lot of the finer points of swine herding.  But as in most other areas we are “Willing to Learn!”.  One of the perplexities is – How much does the difference have to do with the breed? 

 Our first hog, BarBQ – was a Duroc.  She was calm, clean and very easy going.  She pooped in the same corner everytime – making clean up very easy.  She never made Paul nervous when he went in to her pen.  She handled kitchen slop and such well.  Not so with the Hampshires.

 First of all they do not respect the “Don’t poop where you sleep and eat!” concept.  They poop EVERYWHERE!!!!!  Inside, outside and upside down!  Of all the animals we have raised throughout the years – these two gals are just totally without manners.  Secondly, they like to dance and jump and run.  Whenever Paul goes into their pen to clean up or replace their bedding – he wants someone nearby, just in case.  (He never forgets to tell me the story of the young man he knew in highschool, whose dad had a heart attack while in a hog pen and they ate his face off before someone found him. Gross, I know – but of utmost importance to Paul.) 

 And as to feeding them slop – well, now they just don’t handle it well.  Everytime I feed them some kitchen scraps, peels, or even leftover veggies from the garden it messes up their tummies.  And let me tell you – a hog with an upset stomach is NOT a pretty picture in more ways than one!!!!!

 So to try to sum up this delightful little tale let me just say – Paul has decided that we will only raise one hog at a time from now on.  He has further decided that He wants us all aware and on standby whenever he has to do something in the hog pen.  And finally, when we prepare for that final journey that all happy homestead porkers have to make – there will be no tear-dimmed eyes.  In fact, you might hear a couple of Wahoooooooooos from the southside of town.

 Pray for us!

February 28, 2004
So, now that we have an approximate weight on our hog we plan to butcher at the end of March.  We have had her since October 2003 – she was 8 weeks old when we got her.  In this time period we have purchased 4 bags of 16% feed at $6.00 per bag.  Her feed has been greatly supplemented by slop and garden leftovers.  We have wormed her twice and will do so one more time.
It is our plan to take her to a local processor since our weather will not be cold enough to accommodate hanging the carcass outside. We will keep you updated on the progress.


BarbieQ’s Last Day

Today is Tuesday, March 16th – the day we take our hog to the meat processors.  We are all excited yet a bit sad to see her go.  I cannot imagine how you could raise an animal and not have some twinge – however minor – of feeling when it is time for it to be killed and butchered.

 Our family has always been very focused on the purpose of raising animals.  It would be cruel to have animals and pet them and name them and “love” them and then expect to have them for supper.  I don’t think so! It is very important to not treat the animals you raise as a family member or pet.  It is especially important to not allow children to develop a “relationship” with the animal – don’t let them spend time hold, petting, or talking to the animals.  It will make the final use much easier on everyone.

 Loading the hog – Paul devised a ramp that would go from the pen door up into the bed of the truck.  We had already placed our “ewe hauler” (cattle bed) on the truck.  Erin, Amanda, Olivia and I held “walls” up on either side of the ramp and Paul tied a rope around the hog’s neck in case she somehow got loose.  He started by trying to lead her up with a little corn – she took a step or two and then backed up into the pen again.

 Within just a minute, Paul got a bucket, placed it over her face and backed her right up the ramp and into the truck bed.  I was astounded that it took less than 5 minutes to load this 240-pound hog. We were prepared for World War III as we had heard horror stories of people loading hogs.  Didn’t happen!  Praise the Lord!

 We are taking her to a processor about 30 miles from here that has had nothing but the highest recommendations.  They charge $20 for initial processing and $.28 a pound for hanging weight. That includes wrapping and freezing the meat.  I am figuring that this will be about 160 pounds of hanging weight – but we will see. 

 We should be able to pick the meat up Friday or Monday and we will let you know the end costs and how much meat we receive then.  Be looking for some recipes for pork in the near future!!

 Returning From the Processor

 Monday, March 23, 2004 we picked up the meat from our hog from Matthew’s Meat Market.  They brought out 3 boxes of wrapped and frozen packages.

 Our hog’s hanging weight ended up at 230 lbs which is more than we thought it would be.  So our total expense for butchering, cutting, wrapping and freezing from the processor was $84.40. 

 We paid $25.00 for the pig (8 weeks old).  We purchased 5 bags of feed at $6.00 per bag – which is $30.00.  So totalled up – we spent: $139.40 on this hog.  We came home with 230 pounds of good meat so this figures out to $.60 per pound for our meat.  We are well pleased!

 There is no question how the hog was fed, whether it was diseased or had parasites when it went to the processor.  Our experiment has been a complete and total success.  Paul had agreed to have this hog on a “we’ll see” basis and he has decided that we will be doing this again and again.

If you have any further questions please email us and we will help if we can. 



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"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

Filed under: Hogs, Livestock

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