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Thursday, April 21, 2016

The best livestock addition to our farm since the geese!

I'm shocking myself because I'm still loving these Meishans!! I have watched and waited for them to do something I hate... But so far.. Nothing.
I have a very low tolerance for livestock drama.. Nothing is worse than an animal that sucks up your time on a working subsistence farm... Seriously! 

I mean,.. I love the 'products' that come from the pig... Pork is yummy, versatile .. It can be smoked, salt cured, pickled, pulled, dried, roasted , fried ..so many cuts used so many ways! 
The lard is amazing!!! Good for Frying, baking, soap products, moisturizers... Even makes excellent confectionaries like truffles, fudge and whipped icing... If it's of high quality from a good lard hog.
So much can be made from this one animal!!
The pig...
It's for all this I 'allow' the raising of pigs here.. Though I've never liked them being here...
They are just crazy useful to a subsistence farmer... They need minimal shelters and do fine on Marginal land . They are hardy and don't need constant worming like ruminants. 
But ... Most breeds are also highly distructive , fence challenging , very dangerous and just all out annoying!
The AGH and KuneKune aren't fence challenging or especially dangerous .. Not 'as' destructive..they do root some.. They will root a lot if in a small area though. And They are annoying. 

In comes Meishan... They are none of those things ... No,, not even annoying!
I hold geese as the number one low input  (depending on breed some are more input) animal we raise. Low input with a high output is such a rare thing in livestock.
American Guinea hogs were number two here because of all their meat and fat can be used for .. And because they aren't near as destructive or dangerous as other pigs... 
But, I think the meishans might actually tie for one with the geese... They are just so.... Easy!
It's like they aren't even real hogs...
I admit , I'm totally fascinated by them..
Below in the middle is a kune that has been bred to a Meishan boar.. She's the squealing , rooting , annoying pig I was talking about.. But in with meishans her temperament has actually improved! 
We've ' heard say' that 50% meishans have the same temperaments as pure.. So we'll see about that..,I think kune kune pigs are cute, they are more docile than AGH .. They are supposed to root even less than Guinea hogs but I've not seen that with the ones we have had...
Livestock experiments .. Gotta try or ya never know!

Just lovely meishans pigs grazing pasture .., most pigs will eat some grass. Especially if you cut back their grain and make them.
The meishans eat grass, leaves and straw because they want to. We read in one of the many studies done on them that they can handle A higher forage/roughage diet than other pigs.. Makes them more economical if you have land enough for them to utilize. 
Be prepared to add hay to their shelters on a regular basis because the really do love hay and straw! We've had pigs nose through and pick out some seeds here and there but these guys eat it and like it! 
These pigs are the same size or bigger (depending on the line we will be breeding for the larger Meishan) than the American Guinea hogs but do seem to eat less. Maybe due to the fact that they love their roughage so much! 
When I feed scraps and extra garden produce to the new momma Meishan up by the house she ignores her usual fermented grains. 

I love raising pigs ... Without having to deal with 'raising pigs' !!!
..,for that reason alone I do think the Meishan pigs are the best livestock animal we've added to the farm since the geese.
I'm all about that low input-high output livestock! After dealing with a lot of high input animals in our first few years of farming there's just such a relief when you find the low inputs that will work for your farm. 
We are very blessed to have been able to get these hogs here! 

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