March 1, 2022
The next chapter of Carver Family Farms has begun. Farrowing pigs is a new enterprise that we are excited about! 10 healthy pigs were born to our first gilt on February 3, 2022. As of March 1 we have had two more litters and have 22 healthy piglets. This combined with our sows and feeder pigs means we have 30 pigs on the farm.
Why farrow? By farrowing we know the genetics of the pigs we raise for our family and customers. We can select for the features we want and continually improve our herd (technically a group of swine is a "sounder" not a "herd"). Our pigs are a cross of heritage breeds and we can add more of any particular breed into them to achieve our desired results. Our pigs have a small percentage of Ossabaw Island Hog in their genetics. The Ossabaw adds some hardiness and meat quality features. Our Hogs also have Gloucester Old Spot (GOS), Hampshire, Yorkshire, Hereford, Chester White, and Red Wattle. The genetic foundation of our herd was created by Bev Eggleston with Eco-friendly foods. It's an advantage to start with established pasture/forest based genetics. You wouldn't want to take an industrially raised pig and put her in the woods with any expectation that she would thrive. Our pigs thrive in our forest environment.
What are our plans for the piglets? We will primarily raise these piglets for meat. Our demand in the fall exceeded our supply. These will finish (achieve slaughter weight and marble) in our forest environment in about 7 months at 300lbs. We will know that they never received antibiotics or hormones. We will know that they lived great lives and were treated humanely. They will be raised 100% outdoors for their entire lives. A few gilts may be retained as future breeders. We may have a few piglets to sell at weaning (6-8 weeks old). It can be a challenge to locate feeder pigs (weaned piglets) at the time we want them with the genetics we want. We now control our source of piglets.
Increasing our numbers will help our mission of Healthy Land - Healthy Animals - Healthy People. We can positively impact more acres of land with this increase in animals. These pigs will help us transition some unused forest that is overgrown and overcrowded into a healthy silvopasture. Last year we raised 10 pigs and gave them great lives. This year that number may be 30+ and if we can inspire some others to do this our impact can be even greater. We also anticipate that the number will grow over time to significantly more than 30. All of this leads to healthier people. The pork from our fall pigs could only benefit a few families. We will be able to feed exponentially more people this year. We have received amazing feedback on the pork and hope to provide it to more people. We also enjoy raising the pigs. Farming should be enjoyable! It should be rewarding and fun! Ideally, the kids will want to be involved, they will want to share the experiences with their friends. Pigs are personable and fun. You cannot have a bad day outside with your pigs (unless they escape the fenced pastures - but thankfully they are educating us on the best ways to keep them in and content).
Thanks for joining us on this journey. Please reach out with questions.