So how does a person go from raising a few quail to raising pigs? For us, it was actually very simple. The lady we sold our first set of quail to raised pigs and cows. When we moved to our second homestead out in Grovetown, GA, we told her that we were looking to raise pigs for pork. We did not know much about pigs at the time….I mean a pig is a pig right? WRONG.
As soon as she had a breeding trio of piglets for us, she brought them to the farm. We were surprised to see that these piglets were black. She told us that they were closer to a wild pig and would taste more like the pigs that you hunt in the wild. We didn’t know any better, so we happily took them in.
OK, let me stop here for a second….There is a common misconception about pigs. Most people believe they are lazy and do nothing but eat and sleep all day. This is bred from all of the media we see where pigs are placed in small crates in a factory farm. Let me assure you this is a misconception.
Our pigs were later identified as domesticated razorback pigs. Since razorbacks live in the wild, they have to hunt and forage for their food. No matter how many times we fed our pigs, they would always get out of their spacious pen to look for more food. They loved to wander into our neighbors flower bed and root up her bulbs. However, the funniest break out was when they ventured into our other neighbor’s yard and cleaned up all of his rotten apples that had fallen from the tree. He actually thanked us and started saving slop for us!
It wasn’t until we took one of our pigs to the processor that we realized how much we like pork. But when we thought about it, the amount of time, money and sweat equity that went into this pork was not worth it. So we started to do a little research. We found out that the pork from the store is primarily from a breed called a Yorkshire pig. So we looked into buying a Yorkshire pig trio. We found a man in North Georgia selling his weaner pigs for $35 a piece. We drove up with two dog kennels, not sure how big they would be.
When we arrived, we were floored. This man was living our dream. He was raising beef cattle in one pasture, goats in another. Chickens were free ranging everywhere. There were turkeys in one pen and a huge flight area for Muscovy ducks. He also showed us his quail cages, which inspired our later design and an incubation and brooding area. Then we saw the piglets. They were adorable….not only that, there had to be 40 of them running around in a bed of pine shavings. He looked at us and said, “Go ahead take your pick!” So we all started chasing after piglets, including my chunky monkey toddler. We finally decided on two females and a male (truth be told, I think we gave up when we finally had 2 girls and a boy).
After we loaded them up, the man invited us to look around a little more. (Now that wehave been giving farm tours of our own for a while, I know why he did this!) He wanted to show us the parents of the piglets that we had just loaded up. Again, I was not prepared for what I saw. Please keep in mind that the pigs we raised never got above 400 lbs. As we walked over to the pasture, a huge, pinkish mass caked in mud came over to greet us. It was Big Mama; she weighed over 600 lbs. As if that wasn’t enough. Then came Big Daddy, who probably weighed 1000 lbs. I immediately started rethinking our purchase. We had enough trouble with our razorbacks. I mean, we hadn’t paid him yet, right?
Well, an hour later, we left with our three piglets…and a trio of turkeys. And a business card to contact him when we were ready for a cow!
On the way home, our daughter, Carol Ann begged us to let her name them. It was her turn, so we said, “Sure honey, what’s it gonna be this time? Bacon, Sausage, Ham Hock?” She politely said with a smirk on her face, “NO, we already ate them! I think I will call them, Obama, Pelosi and Clinton.” All of our jaws dropped. Where did that come from? She told us that she heard mommy talking on the phone about Obama, Pelosi and Clinton and she liked the sound of them. (It was an election year and I had been talking to my aunt on the phone during our trip to the farm.) And so, we now had Obama, Pelosi and Clinton living on our farm. Jason and Blaze built separate pens and appropriately named them, the Capitol and the White House.
There are several stories about these three little piglets, who aren’t so little anymore. There are happy stories, sad stories, funny stories and even some unbelievable ones!