Monday 10th July 2017
The pigs are happy chappies, the rains at the end of June made their paddock a little easier to dig and they have been making the most of it ever since. Not that you can tell from this photo: there does seem to be rather a lot of grass in view to be sure. In fact we (David) had to strim all the way round under the electric fencing as the grass was touching the wire in so many places and so making the fence less effective.
As the photo also shows, the size difference between the two is still quite marked. The larger one is definitely the greedier of the two and we always have to make sure we spread the food out so that there is enough space for them both to eat. We wonder whether the whole 'lying down' behaviour is such that our bigger pig can get more of the pellets into his mouth quicker!!!
These two are now 20 weeks old, almost five months and in theory they could be ready to go to the abattoir in a month. Ideally they should be around 55kg to 60kg before they go which with the average pig usually is around the six-month mark. We obviously are going to have a bit of a difference in weights between these two but are current thinking is that we will wait for the smaller one to get to the optimum weight because the older one will then give us a bigger carcass that can then be used to provide some bacon. Bacon is usually produced from slightly older (by a couple of months) pigs and therefore heavier animals, as they will have a bit more fat on them and fat is what is needed to give bacon its flavour.
There is a way of calculating a pig's weight without using scales and we plan to do this soon. You firstly measure the girth (in metres) and then you times it by itself to get the 'heart girth'. Next you measure from head to tail (along the pig's back) and times by the 'heart girth'. Finally you times this total by 69.3 to get the weight of the pig in kilos. We have done this before with pigs and it is pretty accurate.
Of course you need the pigs to be reasonably still to take the measurements which usually means when they are eating and even then, you have to be quick...