|Attendees admiring the feeder pigs at Copper Hill Farm|
As we moved into the main barn area, Greg discussed the importance of making connections in the local community; through donations of surplus cereal products and food waste from local supermarkets and restaurants Greg is fortunate enough to feed his pigs at little to no cost to his business. The diet of the pigs are very important; besides the produce from the local super market the pigs eat organic. Before going to slaughter the pigs are on a diet of grass and veggies in order for the meat to be lean and more delicious. The feeder pigs are kept outdoors in a spacious, fenced in area which is relocated every few days in order for them to graze efficiently. Pigs can also be great farm helpers; they can turn compost piles and till your soil! The group was also briefly distracted by the litter of new born barn kittens, again the happiest place on earth.
|800lbs has never looked so good|
The next step in raising pigs is a bit dismal but inevitable, saying goodbye to your farrow friends and sending them off to slaughter. In Connecticut this poses as slight challenge since there is not a USDA approved facility in the state; Greg usually travels to Hilltown Pork in Canaan, NY. Greg also discussed the veiled aspects of raising pigs, sometimes you can become emotionally attached and it can be hard to send them off to be slaughtered; his first sow has become too overweight to get pregnant and he admits it will be hard to bring her to be slaughter.
The workshop winded down when Greg lead the group to the lower portion of the farm where he has two, large fenced in areas for his chickens. While gathered around the chickens, Greg answered final questions from the attendees and shared some parting wisdom.
|"those Rhode Island Reds are looking good"|
- Sows come into heat every 21 days
- Pigs have no sweat glans, they sweat through their mouths
- You cannot eat a pig that has its testicles, who knew!
- A tell tale sign that a sow will soon be going into labor is when she makes a nest