Its official! We're getting a pig :)
Our neighbor E, who watches Little M a couple days a week when the Mr & I's work schedules overlap, has a registered Berkshire sow. This is her first litter. In the past, E has raised pigs purchased as piglets from others, and fattened them up and sold halves. Last year we didn't get any, but the year before we got a quarter, and it was just delicious. After that experience, I wanted to raise a piglet to slaughter size ourselves, but last year with adding the chickens we had enough going on. We were undecided until this weekend when I finally managed to convince the Mr about it.
The past couple of months we've been trying to narrow down where we will put our yard fence in, which has led to thinking on what we will have going on on the rest of the irrigated areas. There are some fences already in place that might be useable for other animals, but some aren't in the best locations. Surveying over the weekend helped us see where fences could go vs. where fences already were, and look at the lay of the land without seeing all the trees and other obstacles that could in theory be removed if they weren't in the ideal spot.
We've come to the conclusion that sheep may be our animal of choice (I've always wanted to raise sheep, and do the fleece to knit process all myself!), but a couple of cows or a pig or two might cycle in too. Next year I'm hoping we'll be able to buy a lamb to raise and slaughter, and see how that process goes, which will give us a better sense of whether sheep farming is something we want to get in to. Raising a pig or two a year, or even having a sow and selling piglets occasionally, might be something we would consider down the road too. But for the next couple of years, I suspect raising a piglet or lamb here and there to slaughter will be plenty of additional work on our plates.
In the more near future though, we've got about 5 weeks until our already castrated little male Berkshire piglet is ready to come home. Hopefully that is long enough to get ready! We'll need a nightime secure pen with some shelter from the elements, a larger area for foraging, a feeder, a freeze-safe waterer, a normal waterer for the summer months, and a place to store bulk food for him. And likely some other things that I haven't yet thought of or learned about!
Yay for the next step in our journey on this land!