Here's a shot of our orchard in April with full swales. The trees have leafed out, and the cover crop (daikons, mostly) have filled out the berm. This was a 4" rainfall that we were able to soak up!
Gloucestershire Old Spot piglets
These little guys are about six weeks old here. Gloucestershire Old Spots (GOS for short) a heritage breed from England. The "Old" part comes from the fact that they've been around "forever". They've been common around British homesteads/cottages since the 1800's, roaming orchards for fallen fruit and getting fat off whatever they could forage. Folklore has it that the spots are bruises from apples falling on them, giving this pig the nickname "Orchard Pig".
Here is the mobile pig shelter design that we are currently using. Yes, there are several other mobile shelter options, but we needed something that could be moved by one person. One shelter can house up to 4 harvest-size pigs (250-300 lbs). We have two, so we are able to set them up near each other and fasten a shade cloth to the tops, to provide additional shade. They cost $100-$150 to make and are on PVC sliders for easier dragging.
Moving and feeding pigs are prime times to observe them and make them feel more comfortable with your presence. We feel like sharing such a bond with our livestock makes them happier, more comfortable, relaxed, and less stressed when we have to handle them.
This is a wonderful pig to raise. Sweet, great forager, and docile. The pork is leaner than red wattles, with a little more marbling, and a nutty flavor with an almost velvety texture. We can't wait to raise more!
We may not have many mature trees, but these huisaches provide just the shade we need in order to have a welcoming spot in our orchard.
This is one of our Hereford hogs in Spring 2016. I can see why this breed is so popular in the show ring. They are extremely friendly and easy to handle. They did great on pasture, although they didn't stand up to the heat tolerance that the Red Wattles have. The meat was outstanding, more marbled than any of the other hogs, and very juicy.
Our laying flock roams free.
The jury is still out on if I will raise this breed again. They were excellent foragers but took 14-15 weeks to get to slaughter weight. Each day means more feed costs, meaning a higher cost for the consumer. Would you pay $30 for a chicken?
About a week after installation, we got a 5" rainfall! Everything was full, and the structures did their job.
Here is a photo from early April. It's important to note that the bermuda grass WILL take over again. But for now, it looks very nice and neatly mulched.
Look at all these beautiful, amazing people who helped us install our orchard!! We were just blown away on this weekend. We got so much done, met so many wonderful people, it was just magical! We really have all of you to thank for how much we have been able to get done on the farm this past year.
Food Bank produce
Once per week we get a huge amount of produce from the Hays County Food Bank. Bruised and blemished fruit and vegetables that the pigs LOVE.
Summer 2015 pasture mix
grazing corn, millet(s), mung beans, cowpeas, sun hemp, sunflowers, buckwheat.
goals: pig forage, soil health, pollinators
These are midget white turkeys, Fall 2015. They are a funny bird.
I love this photo of one of our red wattles. He delicately ate his watermelon and decided to take a nap.