Week 28: Piglets, Martha and Marketing

The Large Black piglets are now nine weeks old and making a total mess of their farrowing paddock. Digging and rooting is a normal activity for pigs, they obtain nutrients from the grass, the bugs and even the soil. An adult pig will plough into the soil and leave big ruts whereas the piglets will just turn over the whole paddock, leaving the soil aerated and flattened. Traditionally farmers would use pigs to turn over the soil ready for a new crop and now that I see what the piglets can do to the land I intend to do the same. At nine weeks old the piglets need to be weaned from the mothers and moved to their ‘grower’ paddock, the mothers (Sows) will then be moved into a new farrowing paddock and I will be planting a foraging crop in the old paddock, maybe peas. But first I need to fence out another grower paddock, build a new pig arc and catch the piglets.


Large black piglets ready for weaning at 8 to 10 weeks old

Staying with the Large Black pigs my latest concern is Martha. Martha is my oldest lady at 3 years and 7 months old, she joined us on the farm at the end of March and was supposedly ‘in pig’ at that time. Pig breeding is very date specific, they come on heat every 21 days, after that the gestation period is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. With a little bit of maths and a lot of help from an Excel spreadsheet I can tell that the last date she will farrow is the 27th July and if that doesn’t happen then she most definitely is not pregnant (when she first moved onto the farm she had already been living with Jimmy for two months). So I have to start asking the question of myself, “what do I do with a pig who is not getting pregnant” after all it is a business? Obviously the first step will be to tell if she is still coming into heat and then I will introduce her to another Boar (sorry Jimmy) and take it from there. But if all else fails it will be time to consider what to do with her, but for now lets all just think positive thoughts.

Martha, the old lady of the herd.

Martha, the old lady of the herd.

Due to a lack of stock, a lack of sleep (thanks to Fred) and a need to recharge the batteries I did not attend any of the farmers markets this week (sorry to my regulars). This gave me time to get stuck into the marketing of the business. I have always said that the business can be split into three jobs:

  1. Farming
  2. Produce (inventory and selling)
  3. Marketing

Marketing for me is the easiest part of the job, I have been marketing products, brands and companies for 17 years, so it tends to get relegated to the bottom of the pile of jobs. This week, with time on my hands, I managed to get some artwork done for business cards and even a hoodie to wear at the markets (and try to keep warm)

Yummy warm Woody's hoodie

Yummy warm Woody’s hoodie

Hopefully my hoodie will arrive soon and maybe, in the future, I will sell them to help with the running of the farm, I think its pretty cool.


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