Well, our first pigs went away a week ago. We drove them ourselves, really early in the morning. If I said it was the easiest of days, it would be a lie, but every pig keeper (and every livestock farmer) goes through the same emotions, however hard they may appear on the outside. You put everything into their breeding and rearing, you know that they have lived a life that meets the highest standards, and for the pig keeper, this is the next stage. It does not make it easy, but it is the culmination of all your hard work.
We took four of the boars away for slaughter, thinking they were all uniform in size. We got a bit of a shock because they were anything but! We are targeting a weight of 45 to 50 kg for our pork pigs. Our baconers will be bigger. Two of the four were within the range and one was above, one below. Because we are allowing them to mature in the traditional way, we are going to have to adjust our feeding and timescales a bit to hopefully get a more uniform product. We take the view however, that anyone buying our pork prefers the slower growth and the smaller finish, which hopefully will give a unique taste.
The pork is now in the capable hands of our butcher, and we are putting the finishing touches to our packing room. The first orders will ship this week – exciting times!