Good comes with bad, high comes with low, and keep comes with cull. On my type of farm the most crucial number that decides how well the business goes is the number of piglets born per sow, and second is the number of those piglets she can raise to weaning age. Without the piglets on the ground it doesn't matter how fast or slow they grow, or how much feed it's taking to get them to market size. They have to be there first, and then the other things can be looked at in kind.
Which brings us to the disappointing number of piglets that Myfoot farrowed. She's on her third litter and only farrowed 9 live piglets, and she smashed one of those. As you know, we target 11 live piglets per sow, the number we need to make our farm viable. Her sister Geez did farrow 11 nice piglets and hasn't lost any so far.
Myfoot has been a good sow up to date, but I'm back and forth with the decision of whether to keep her or cull her out of the sow herd. If she mashes another piglet then the decision will be pretty easy to make, but her piglets are 4 days old and generally are strong and alert enough to get out of the way at that age. I try and keep emotion out of business decisions, but I really like the old girl and don't want to seperate her from her sister. Oh, what's a farmer to do? I'll have to chew on it for a while and hopefully do the right thing for the farm.
Here's a short vid I took of both girl's litters this morning:
You might have noticed that they're farrowing in new looking metal arks. I had plans to build some new ones until I found out how proud the local lumberyard was of their products. It was going to cost me $1600.00 to build 2 new arks, plus the time I'd have to allocate to get them built. Luckily, I found two 6'x11' arks for a lot less money with the added benefit of me not having to build them.
Here's a shot of Myfoot's dissappointing number of piglets, although the piglets look really good:
I'll get some more shots of them when I take their hurrdles down and they're outside of the arks.
Market season is 5 weeks away, so we're busy with getting ready for that. The girl that ran my booth in Broken Arrow won't be able to do it again this year, so I've got another lady that's going to run it and the Tuesday market in downtown Tulsa. I'm thinking about getting a bigger trailer with a fold down ramp for the brat cart, and letting her use my current trailer. The winter market and Oklahoma Food Coop have been great for us this year, and we look forward to continuing our association with both. Thanks for reading, and we're looking forward to seeing a lot of faces we haven't seen since last fall!
Pork & Greens