Peripatetic philomaths…focusing on what's really important, eating ethically and cleanly, fermenting, foraging/wildcrafting, practicing herbalism, and being responsible stewards of our land. Sharing our photos, musings, and learnings. Still seeking our tribe.
When you have poultry or waterfowl grow-outs (but especially waterfowl, since they make such a mess with water), a tractor is invaluable. It keeps them safe from predators but allows the growing birds to scratch, bathe, find bugs, eat greens, and enjoy fresh air and sunshine – creating a “controlled” free range (more precisely, pastured) environment. Buying a well-made hoop tractor can be expensive, so we make our own.
It’s been rainy lately, which means the ground is muddy…which is how pigs prefer it. And they don’t want stinky, feces-filled mud – they like “clean” dirt (oxymoron?) that’s been carefully mixed with water into a perfectly-pastelike consistency. The mud also helps keep them cool, and protects their skin from the ample biting insects out here. All hail mud!
At times I wonder about the future of small-scale farming: with large farming operations buying up small farms and effectively putting smaller farmers out to pasture, why would someone voluntarily choose what is, at best, a hardscrabble lifestyle? It’s certainly not for the prestige, the ease, or the security (or the healthcare coverage)…but now that I’ve been a full-time farmer, I better understand why certain individuals still choose to farm.
This is not what you want to see: a pig proned out, seemingly dead. Castor gave me a start the other day when I happened upon him like this. After the initial shock, I realized that he was really just taking a long siesta in the sun.
This reminds me of the first time I saw a chick sunbathing – she was all awkwardly sprawled out, and I thought she was dead (!). Was I ever relieved to see her finally wiggle around a bit into a more comfortable position!
The pigs are happy in their mud wallows, but when the sun’s out, sunbathing is apparently in order. The next time I see one of them stretched out, limp, on a sunny day, I won’t feel my heart clutch in my chest because I’ll know they’re just relaxing.
You probably figured that pastured pigs need to be moved periodically onto new grass, right? Theoretically, it seems fairly simple, but the reality can be a bit different. Ever tried to catch a running pig?