I have loved my pigs, loved their eager beaver faces when I went to feed them, loved piglets in the yard, loved the smell of sproutedbarley as I pulled it from the bins, loved giving Tinkerbell (one of our sows) a big scratch that left her so delighted she went wobbly at the knees. I loved trying to figure out better ways of utilising the resources on my mini-farm to keep them happy, loved watching tipsy pigs after a feast of windfall apples, and loved Friday-night pizzas topped with the best tasting ham that money couldn’t buy.

The flip side was at times it wasn’t much fun forking out cash for grains, nor travelling to and from the feed store. It wasn’t much fun some days managing the kids going feral in the house and the pigs going feral because I was late feeding them. Mucking out wasn’t much fun when I didn’t want to do it, and being knee high in mud on a cold day and losing a gumboot in the muck wasn’t too flash either. I can laugh about it now but rats, busted fences, stubbornness (mine and the pigs) had me grumpy at times too.

For me the pros of keeping pigs has definitely outweighed the cons. Being the carer for my pigs has taught me much about custodianship and personal accountability. I think my children and I have all have benefited through developing a respect for these wonderful creatures, and from accepting responsibility for their life cycle.

Pig Raising Resources

If you’re still keen, having read my musings on the joys and pitfalls of pig-raising, here’s some online resources that may find useful in learning more about these fascinating animals and how best to raise them. You can also buy my book, Keeping your own free range pigs here for practical information on accommodating, feeding and butchery of your pigs.

Model Code of Practice for The Welfare of Animals – Pigs, Primary Industries Standing Committee, 3rd Edition: http://www.publish.csiro.au/books/download.cfm?ID=5698

Rare breeds trust of Australia, www.rbta.org

Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand:  http://www.rarebreeds.co.nz/

Australian Pig Breeders Association: http://www.lbcentre.com.au/Australian_Pig_Breeders_Society_Australia.php

New Zealand Pig Breeders Association: http://www.pigs.co.nz/

New Zealand Pork Industry Website: http://www.pork.co.nz/

New Zealand SPCA  – Download page for standards for production of free range pork: http://rnzspca.org.nz/bluetick/blue-tick-downloads

Humane Choice Standard – Pigs (An Initiative of the Humane Society International) : http://www.humanechoice.com.au/Resources/Documents/Humane%20Choice%20Standards%20-%20Pigs%20November%202010.pdf

RSPCA Articles:

‘What do we mean by humane killing?’:  http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-do-we-mean-by-humane-killing-or-slaughter_115.html

What are the animal welfare issues associated with pig farming? :  http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-are-the-animal-welfare-issues-associated-with-pig-farming_109.html

River Cottage On-line Forum re Pigs : http://www.rivercottage.net/forum/ask/pigs/

DVDs and on-line learning

Pig in a Day, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage Series

Gourmet Farmer, Series 1, SBS Australia

River Cottage Online Pig and Pork Course: http://www.rivercottage.net/shop/product/online-pigs-and-pork-course

Raising your own free range pigs- A beginner’s guide to raising porkers, baconers and backfatters

Jen Owens  ISBN 9781864471175, Sewn PB, full-colour, 144 pp, Hyland House Publishing

 

 

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