Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pig Visit

Zuzi and I visited the Herbfarm's Mangalitsa pigs today. Before we could reach the pigs, we saw the sign above. We didn't want to trespass, so before going any further, we found Bill Vingelen, The Herbfarm's Head Gardener, and arranged for an official tour.

Bill escorted us to the pigs, explaining that anyone who wants to visit with the pigs is advised to show up late Saturday morning or early Saturday afternoon - he wants to structure visits and reduce his workload. He's usually reachable at 425-485-5300 x124.

Bill Vingelen shows Zuzana Putnam The Herbfarm's Mangalitsa pigs.

Bill loves the pigs. Although he's very busy with the garden, he spends enough time with the pigs that they are very attached to him, and very relaxed around him. When he scratches one pig, the others want attention:



Since we last visited, Bill's put in a pole, so that they can scratch themselves. We got to watch some pigs use it, which was fun. Pigs don't have hands, so they can't easily scratch themselves. They like to scratch on things like trees and boulders. The pole is visible in front of the pigs' hut, in the picture below.


The Herbfarm's pigs are becoming very at home in their new surroundings. Even the little pigs are getting less skittsh. They looked bigger. They spent nearly all our visit rooting, which they are good at:


The pigs have so much food! Besides their feeder, they've got grass, herbs and beets. They were barely interested in our pig treats. Some of them were very curious about us. We petted and scratched the ones that came close to us.

I scratched one Mangalitsa, but another one (apparently jealous) came over and flopped on his side, demanding I scratch his belly. As I scratched him, one of the little pigs came over to see what was going on:


It was a ridiculously pleasant visit. The pigs seem happier than they were last week. They are giving so much personal attention to these 6 market hogs. Our breeding stock doesn't even get this much personal time.

It was great to meet Bill and see how much the pigs love to be around him, and how much he loves the pigs.

5 comments:

ahmad wiyono said...

Great blog! Keep up the good work

matt wright said...

I am really happy for you guys with Herbfarm getting some of your pigs! Things look like they are just going up and up for you.

Out of interest, how much is the taste of the meat effected by what the pig eats? I wonder if you would notice a difference in meat taste between those kept at Herbfarm, and those from your own farm.

Heath said...

Matt,

The general idea is that the factors that matter, in order of importance, are:

breed
feed
method of keeping (e.g. free range)
age at slaughter
pre-slaughter stress

The Herbfarm's pigs will probably taste different, because besides the breed, everything else will be different.

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