When my niece told us about the piglets for $25.00 we really couldn’t refuse. It was a small investment for future bacon. We decided to go all in, two for Wendy and Greg, and one for us.
Wendy and Greg (my sister and my brother in law) picked them up in Knoxville and brought them home. They were wee little things, I remember “talking” to them through the trailer window while they were on Briley Parkway heading north. “Snort, snort, oink, oink”, and they replied much the same. We didn’t want to bond with them as pets, because of the inevitable food they were to become. Two girls and a boy, we named them Sausage, Bacon, and Ham, not specifying who was who.
We continued to talk to them in our “pig” voice and they got to know us. We read a lot about how when pigs get big they become evil monsters. Because we did not want to be “hog chow”, we would pat them, pet them, and use our pig voices often. I’m guessing it worked because when they hear the snorts and oinks they still reply and still come running.
Since they live at Wendy’s house, I didn’t see them on a daily basis. Wendy put more work into these guys than anyone else. She was the one who would go out to the barn and feed them when they were wee babes. She was also the one who fed them when they grew large enough to go to the pasture. I’m sure her part was more of a chore than my part, I fed them on the days I went with her to Scottsville for feed or when I had saved enough left overs in the freezer for them to enjoy.
Aunt Susan told me at Christmas that we’d end up making pets of them. She may have been right, had she not said it out loud. The plan was that they would be ready by Easter, but like all good lain plans, there are always kinks.
I’ve probably already told you about how they squealed the day we took them to pasture. It wasn’t too far from the barn to the field, but with all the noise it seemed like miles. I had the pleasure of toting a couple of them down to the field. I got pretty dirty, a little winded, and a ringing in my ears that lasted a spell.
Greg had installed an electric fence around the pond in the horse field, so the piggies would have a nice new home. Michael built them a shelter, and they were good to go.
The piggies have had a good life. They’ve had food and shelter. They’ve had human caretakers who have never been cruel to them. With the exception of the barn stall when they were too small for pasture, they have never been caged since landing in our care. I feel like we have given them a good life thus far.
As I told you they were supposed to be ready by Easter. I guess if we had kept them in barn stalls with no room for exercise, only room to eat and sleep, that they may very well have been ready by then, but they wouldn’t have been happy piggies. These guys got to run and play, root through the pond and surrounding area to their heart’s content. They ate and slept on their time, not by the lights in an over-crowded feed lot.
The time has come where our piggies are big enough for bacon. The last couple of pics are from March 8, 2013. While they haven’t gotten any taller, they are a little wider. We guess that they are between 200 and 250 pounds each. We like to think that talking to them in pig voices have saved us from all the “hog horror stories” we read about and that their good life will be tasted once processed.
It’s no easy task to find a pig processor this time of year. Most of them we’ve talked to wrap it up by March. It seems pig processing is best done in cooler months.
After many phone calls and a lot of googling, we managed to find a place in Paris, TN. It’s nearly three hours away, but that’s ok. We made the appointment today to take them on June 29. Since they are closed on Sundays, we were instructed to bring some feed for them, so that they are well taken care of on Sunday while awaiting their transition from pigs to pork. I thought that was good because these guys aren’t used to going hungry.
Part of me is a little sad that these piggies we (ok my sister worked hardest of all) worked hard to take care of are becoming food. Most of me feels good knowing that these guys had a much better life than that pack of bacon or pork chops I purchased last week.
I’m pretty sure we didn’t save any money investing in the future bacon, but even if we end up paying the same thing we would have paid at the grocer, it’s well worth it. These guys are free range, getting feed as needed, no steroids, no hormones, no crap. They have been respected and treated with dignity during their lives. They had the opportunity to run around and live their lives like regular pigs instead of crowded in cages, pens, or feed lots.
Besides, how many piggies end up getting a trip to Paris? (even if it is Paris, TN)