Thursday, January 17, 2008
Scott Eklund, a photographer, visited the farm and took a bunch of photographs for us. To be fair to Scott, he said if I wanted to use some photos, he color-correct them for us, but I was too impatient, so I just used them.
The above is is one of my wife and me, with the first batch of Mangalitsa in the background. And here is my wife with one of our favorites sows, 25.
Sow 25 has been suspect for a long time - the Austrians almost didn't load her when we imported the pigs, because they figured she'd be a bad sow. There are some sows that cycle (estrus) continually, eat a lot of food and don't gain much weight - they may never produce a litter. She seemed to fit the type. She constantly follows humans around, hoping for a treat - which makes her endearing. If you ignore her and are holding food, she'll come up behind and nip you in the elbow, which isn't cute.
Recently she did have some babies - just 3 - but it turns out she's a bad mother. She sleeps with her butt to the door, so the pigs gather at the front of the hut, where they get cold and another sow can come and attack them. She also rejected one of her piglets, which froze to death. She'll probably be the first cull.
One point the Austrians made to us is that the problem animals are the ones the humans deal with, and hence have trouble culling. E.g. a sow that has a bad leg might wind up in a barn, where she'll get fed by humans every day. Once the pig is like a pet, it is hard to cull her.
Posted by Heath Putnam at 10:30 PM