A reader recently sent me an email asking about the progress of our backyard piggery. That made me realize that I’d forgotten to update you all on the home piggery experiment that we call Backyard Bacon. Here is an update!
The Little Piggies
When we started, the pigpen wasn’t completely finished. We bought seven piglets and held them in one finished stall of the pigpen while the workers completed the second stall. Once the second stall was finished, we moved the Magnificent Seven to that stall and went back to add some finishing touches to the first completed stall. You wouldn’t believe how rough little piglets can be on what you think is hard concrete. Some of the little buggers had chewed divots in the walls and floor!
A month later, with the whole pigpen finished, we added fourteen more piglets.
We settled into a routine of feeding and cleaning up pig poop. A couple of breaks in the routine came when it was time to give the piggies vitamin injections. A couple of local pig experts gave us a hand with that. Yes, piggies are hard to catch, even in an enclosure!
Perils Of Pig Possession
Not everything was smooth sailing with our first attempt at raising pigs. Backyard Bacon isn’t as easy as you might think.
We had a couple of pen maintenance issues. Two of the drinkers failed and we had to change them out with water gushing freely from the water tank and curious piggies nipping at our hands. We had to add wire screen to the gate on the Fabulous Fourteen’s stall because the smallest piggies kept trying to squeeze through the bars and escape. We had to wire closed the latch on the Magnificent Seven’s stall because one of the smartest ones kept mouthing the latch handle, trying to unlock it.
The saddest part of raising any sort of animal is when you lose one to illness. We lost two of the Fabulous Fourteen to some kind of bug that made them cough and run high fevers.
We moved the first one that took sick into our kubo to keep it from spreading its illness to the others. We didn’t know at the time that moving it out of the group would make the group reject it, possibly even fight with it and harm it, when it was well. When we learned of that possibility, we decided that we’d keep it in our yard with us after it recovered. Only, the poor thing never recovered. In spite of bottle-feeding it antibiotics and hand feeding it the piglet food, she died.
It was very sad for us. She seemed to recover some, perk up and then relapse again. Finally, the fever came back with a vengeance and the little piglet went into convulsions and died while we were trying to desperately to bring down its body temperature. Below are three photos of the first piglet we lost.
We lost the second of the Fabulous Fourteen at night. We didn’t even know that it was that ill until we found it in the pen in the morning.
It’s very hard to raise animals. Even if you’re determined to not get attached to them because you know that you’re raising them for food, you can’t help but feel something for an animal you care for every day.
The Pigs Today
Today, the “little piggies” aren’t so little!
The photo at left is the last of the Magnificent Seven. The other piggies went to market. We’re going to breed this sow and raise her piglets. She’s a big girl, weighing about 95 Kg (about 210 lbs) and she has well-spaced teats. She’ll be able to feed her little ones really well.
The goofball peeking over the wall is the same piggie that’s in this post’s header. He’s always up on his hind legs, trying to chew the posts and snorting at the sow.
The photo at right is the last of the Fab Fourteen. They’re about 78 Kilos each (around 170 lbs.).
Of the Fabulous Fourteen we lost two to illness and sold five. There are eight left (only seven are in the photo).
We plan to move the sow above to a neighbor’s pen, breed her and let her birth there. While that’s happening, we’ll transfer the remainders of the Fab Fourteen to her stall. We need to make some repairs to the Fabs’ stall because they’re rough little buggers. Once the repairs are made, I guess we’ll bring the sow’s piglets over from the neighbor’s and set them up in the spruced-up stall.
Thanks for reading about the progress we’ve made on the attempt to raise pigs in the Philippines that we call our Backyard Bacon experiment. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you!