Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pigs and Cows

The pasture-raised pigs and cows were shifted to some of our fields this week. Farmer Mark, affiliated with Brookfield Farm, tends the animals. Spring through fall he moves them from field to field as they eat through the forage.

The cows shift every four days or so. By then they have eaten all their favorite clover and look longingly at the next pasture over. This cow looks serenely at Bella as she rushes about barking.

These Dexter cows are gentle and on the smaller side as breeds go. This morning as Bella and I stopped by to say hi, they wandered over to the watering trough. Maybe they know Mark is coming by today to move them over to the next pasture - they can smell the fresh clover.

The water comes from our pond (Winterberry Pond) via a sturdy pump and fire hoses.

How many pigs are there in this little pig house where they spend the night? Apparently pigs like to be warm.

Now that the sun is up the ten (!) young pigs are frolicking about in their expansive pasture. The electric fence is only a foot high. Pig noses are sensitive so the fence meets them at nose height. These are Heritage pigs, an assortment of breeds, that many small-scale farmers raise. Heritage pigs do well on pasture, being thrifty and hardy, compared to the breeds raised by large commercial "operators." Those pigs, unfortunately, are used to a different sort of life.

Bella stays well away from the pigs and the pig fence. Last summer she ran barking into the pig pasture (the low fence perfect for frisky and foolish little dogs). The pigs were good sized by then and started chasing Bella. She flew back across the fence, but caught one paw. Ouch. Bella paws are sensitive too!

So, the pigs and cows seem to be content with fresh, green plants to eat, clean water and great views. Though even here, you can still get that sweet pig smell!

1 comment:

  1. I Pature raise pigs and cattle, word to the wise some cows don't like the pigs too close. My pig "Penny" had a run in with a new mom cow. They ended up in the same pasture at the same time. Anyhow good thing I was close to break up the fight. Amazingly enough the pig would not back down from a full grown Simmental/Shorthorn cow.

    Very nice to see someone else raising animals on pasture, especially the pigs.