We have been on our homestead a little over a year and a half now and have been able to do A LOT in our short amount of time here. One of the most debated decisions that we have made thus far, is the addition of pigs to our farm.
We have wanted to move to providing as much of our own food as possible and with as much as we enjoy pork, it was a bit of a no brainer in the end.
Some of our hang-ups were:
-Pigs stink, like really bad stink.
-Pigs are messy
-Pigs are BIIIIIGGGGG
-Pigs are strong and can be hard to handle
-Pigs can be mean
-Pigs tear up your ground and wallow everywhere
As I got researching more about swine in general I started coming across more information on slow growing heritage pork. My interest was piqued and I dug a little deeper.
As it turned out there were pigs out there that fit exactly what we wanted! Who knew!?!
Smaller, friendly, pasture raised mainly (meaning not stinky), short snouts so they don't root much, and really really good meat quality (supposedly)
Of course it was a breed that was still relatively rare in the US, meaning it would be an investment to breed and raise this breed, purchasing the best breeding stock that we could.
I didn't feel comfortable diving in that deep without even knowing if we would enjoy the taste of the meat itself. That was kind of the point of this adventure, so we wanted to be sure.
I was looking around our local classifieds and happened upon an ad for Kune x AGH (american guinea hog) crossed piglets for ridiculously cheap. We decided to buy three, raise them for slaughter, THEN move forward with breeding stock if we liked the pork.
Not the fastest course of action, but one that we felt was the smartest for us. One BAD thing about the Kune kune as a breed is that they are very slow growing compared to your usual market hog. It takes at least 12 months to grow out with many people waiting until almost 18 months before slaughtering.
We opted to go closer to the 12 month mark and each of the girls ended up weighing right around 150 lbs. live weight. When we tried the meat for the first time we were floored. It was by far the best pork we had ever eaten! To say we were onboard is an understatement!! We will easily go through all 3 pigs in a year as a family of six. But mainly because we could eat it for every meal. Yum!
We bought a breeding pair to get started as well as two barrows (castrated males) that will be raised for pork. Unfortunately both ended up having the same sire when we got DNA results back with the AKKPR paperwork. The breeder was so apologetic and offered us a free replacement gilt from her next litter. We are waiting impatiently as there should be a few litters born at their farm in the next week or two. Fingers crossed for a beautiful girl to add to our farm.
We made the decision to buy and additional Kune kune breeding pair from another farm to be able to offer breeding pairs to others that want to start their own breeding programs to provide meat for their own families. We will also offer pigs that are finished and ready for slaughter for those unable or that simply don't want to raise their own pigs.
You can see our breeding stock as we bring them home and they grow, on OUR PIGS page online. You can see their pictures, descriptions, and bloodlines there as well.
If you are thinking of adding pigs to your homestead, I would highly recommend looking into Kune kunes!