TFWF#43: The great sales conundrum.

Its been busy on the farm since the flood. Not only has there been lots on fencing to be done we have also changed our structure for feeding, sorting and weaning the grower pigs, in addition to this we have also had eight litters in two months and increased the breeding herd to 22 sows.

Whilst we have been busy many of you might have also noticed that we have been absent from the markets, the cafes and the restaurants. Our disappearance from the outside world is due to, what I shall now call, the great sales conundrum (or GSC), brought about by a lack of good free range pork producers and a plethora of supportive customers.

The GSC is basically an over demand of product and whilst I know I am lucky to be in that situation I really don’t like letting people down, turning down opportunities or being sporadic in supply. In order to explain my conundrum in more detail I thought I might outline all the potential sales channels that we have, each with their own pros and cons and then I thought it might be nice for you all to give me some advice and feedback, via a comment on here or on Facebook.

Farmers Markets.

When we started the business we always planned to attend farmers markets, we chose Fielding and Thorndon because they appeared to be authentic grower markets. Unfortunately as time went on we found ourselves competing with a butcher from Wellington in Fielding and a general retailer selling meat from the store in Hawkes Bay at the Thorndon market. Despite this I really enjoy the markets, I get to meet a great deal of lovely customers and characters, I get direct feedback and its a great opportunity to grow business opportunities. I have also been able to try lots of different cuts of meat to see what sells best and showcase the quality of the meat. On the downside the markets take three days of valuable time on the farm, a day to prepare and two days at the markets, and the success of the day is very dependant on the weather. Financially the markets work for us because we sell direct to our customers and the only extra costs are the market fees and the fuel.

Hill St Farmers Market (Wellington)

Hill St Farmers Market (Wellington)

Online Sales.

We had always planned to sell product via the website but we never had enough stock to attend the markets and sell online. The flood changed all that when we were unable to get to the markets and had a trailer full of meat to sell. We thought it best to trial online sales and managed to sell out in 49 mins. After that first trial we continued attending the markets and also selling small quantities of meat packs online. In August we took a break from sales to focus on the farm and came back in September with a greater focus on the online side of the business. The packs have been selling very well, I have enjoyed the customer feedback from all over the country and without any middle men we make a full margin (less the costs of sales). Obviously it takes a day to prepare and pack and we worry about the delivery arriving fresh but so far all has gone well and we have successfully delivered over 800 packets of bacon and sausages. I do miss getting to meet my customers face to face but the gain in time on the farm is, at this point, much needed.

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Restaurants and Cafes.

I love working with the owners and chefs of restaurant and cafes. These are the people that challenge the preparation of food and have the experience to truly grade the quality of our meat against others, it is their feedback that helps me to provide better quality product to everyone. I have been lucky to work with some excellent restaurants who have respected the way we grow our meat and promoted Woody’s to their customers. But, with only limited stocks at the moment, we have to manage our profitability and therefore we focus on our direct sales via the markets or online. This means that we are not able to supply the chefs on a regular enough basis, or large enough quality, and will often loose out on opportunities.  My goal is to be able to work regularly with a small number of restaurants around the country as soon as our stock levels rise.

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Speciality retailers.

Without a doubt the best way to promote your product and your brand is to have product in front of customers all the time. Unfortunately markets are only once a week and selling online relies on customers to find you, not the other way around. Putting product on the shelves in speciality stores who promote quality, niche products associates our brand with theirs and  encourages sales on a daily basis. The downside is again that retailers also need to make money, to pay their associated costs, and with limited stock we simply cannot afford to be on too many of those shelves. Additionally, whilst speciality retailers are very good at explaining to their customers about the provenance of the food they sell we, as the grower, do not get to talk direct to our customers, something that I think is very important.

Supermarkets.

In my previous life as a consumer electronics executive I spent a lot of time selling to supermarkets. Unfortunately supermarkets have all of the bad elements of speciality retailers with none of the good elements. They are not willing to take the time to talk about provenance, they do not fairly share profitability and over time they gradually reduce the value of your product in the consumers eyes, normally by heavy and unwarranted discounting. Any farmer who works with the supermarkets knows that the vanity of a high turnover of stock is not a replacement for the low profitability. Of course nationwide exposure and a single point of delivery is attractive to some, but not us.

Having broken down the pros and cons of all our potential retail outlets I am keen to hear what you think we should do, and who we should focus on. At the moment our limited stocks means that we can only afford to concentrate on the markets and online store but we hope to be able to continue supporting the restaurants, cafes and small speciality stores that we currently sell too. Moreover the chiller trailer is currently out of action so we have to concentrate on online sales until some work has been carried out on the trailer, when that is fixed we intend to attend one market a months and sell online twice a month. Maybe one day we will have greater exposure across the country.

TFWF#41: Part 3 – Money

I started Woody’s Free Range Farm with animal husbandry and welfare as my number one concern but after 18 months the reality of farming, just like any industry, is that money comes a very close second. Just like any startup business, we are very reliant on much bigger businesses who will only give us a fair go if we have a good cashflow position and pay our bills regularly, companies like abattoirs, butchers, feed mills and courrier companies.

For every person that dreams of giving up the corporate world and starting a small farm (or even worse a pig farm) there will be many more who tried it and failed when they realised it was eating away at savings and, rather than providing an outdoor lifestyle, it actually tied them to the farm every single day of the year.

Choosing farming as a new career is not an easy path to take and I believe that the key to making it work for me has been a mixture of stubbornness, competitiveness and being a control freak. However all of those ‘admirable’ qualities aside the main reason the farm is still going and the business improving is because of the savings that I had before we started the farm.

Farming is expensive. Aside from the cash flow issues of feeding animals for eight months before being able to take any produce to market there are also the capital costs of simply running a farm. We are lucky enough to have eighty acres of land but with it comes an obligation to look after the land, and with that comes costs. We have to pay the mortgage, rates, earthworks, farm structures, vehicles and water reticulation. All these expenses need to be paid and with only, at this stage, six pigs to sell a month we simply can’t rely on just that income alone.

Our largest ongoing cost is animal feed. In order to ensure the consistent quality of our meat we buy in a special feed formula for our grower pigs and another specific feed for the breeding herd. We do supplement this with used brewers grain which we collect for free from The Garage Project in Wellington but this is just a ‘filler feed’ and does not replace the professionally designed feed formula that the pigs get fed. Each and every day our pigs get fed at least 1kg of feed per animal per meal, and have two meals a day. On average a kilo of feed costs $0.83 per kg, this soon adds up depending on the number of pigs on the farm. At the moment we have 57 growers, 20 sows and 3 boars all eating 2kg of feed per day – thats a total of 160kg of feed or $132.80 per day.

On the other side of the coin our income has, up till now, almost exclusively come from the sale of meat at farmers markets and through restaurants and cafe’s. We are small and can’t meet demand but since the beginning of this year we have taken 32 pigs to the abattoir and sold 2403 packets of meat, this equates to 1239kg of pork including 5425 sausages and 233kg of bacon and ham. We have been lucky in that we have had no problems selling our products but our sales methods are also very time consuming and mean that I get to spend less time on the farm when I need to be at the markets or collecting the meat from the butchers.

Our prices are closely matched to retail prices. We are obviously more expensive that intensively reared meat but I have always tried to keep the prices at a level that most people can afford, if only for a special event. Our bacon is often cheaper that the Free Farmed versions for sale in the supermarket and always cheaper than the products available in high end stores such as Moore Wilson and Commonsence Organics, this is because we are the producer and there are no middle men or retail margins to be paid. Our goal is to be able to supply you with excellent meat products are reasonable prices, and by making a purchase you are 100% supporting us the growers.

Despite all this the reality is that we are currently not growing enough pigs to make enough money to run the business in the black. We simply need to breed more pigs and with this will bring the economies of scale that will make the farm a viable business. I write this blog not to complain or to plead poverty but rather to ensure that anyone with an interest in a similar lifestyle understands that it will take time and during that time you will need savings, a great deal of will power and probably most important…a very supportive partner.

TFWF#41: Part 2 – Sex

In the second part of this farm update I focus on sex. Not the type of sex that gets the heart beating and the mind racing but the type of sex that makes the running of a farm completely dependant upon spreadsheets and calendars.

I have mentioned the maths before but to reiterate a pig comes into heat every 21 days. Once pregnant the gestation is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. After the farrowing occurs the piglets spend 8 weeks with their mother, suckling from her milk and eventually some creep feeding of the grains that the sows eat. Finally, after the 8 weeks, they are collected up and transferred to the grower paddocks where they will live for another five to six months.

Well thats the theory, what about the practice, and more specifically how do we get them pregnant and how do we know they are pregnant. Here on the farm we use natural methods for getting the sows pregnant, better known as Hugh and Gordon. On larger farms they prefer to use artificial insemination as this ensure the sows don’t get hurt by the boar and they can be more certain of the date of impregnation, however we have the space and the time to focus on natural breeding. The sows are put to the boar for a period of 25 days, this ensures the sows will be on heat at least once and normally twice. After this we cycle the sows and move them out to be replaced by the next lot. Sometimes we don’t have another sow to put in with the boars so to ensure the boars don’t get lonely the sows are left in the paddocks for a longer time.

Gordon and his girls

Gordon (at the back getting a scratch) with his girls.

Despite giving the sows at least 25 days with the boars it is still important to be able to tell when the pig comes on heat. There are normally physical signs to help to identify this and most pig farmers will also tell you that if you push the sow from behind and she refuses to move then she is very likely to be on heat. The problem with both of these methods is that they are open to interpretation and can sometimes be unreliable. Unfortunately the cost of an ultrasound machine is simply too much for us to buy so we have to use the old methods of checking for signs of heat and being patient. In most cases I have been lucky and the pigs have all been pregnant first time but as we get busier its more difficult to leave the sows with the boars for longer and not all sows come on heat in the same way, making it difficult to know if they are pregnant or not.

Recently we have had a few failed attempts and this can have a real effect on business plans because we are suddenly ten pigs down on expectations. The first sow to let us down was Martha. Martha is a very Large Black who came as a package deal with two registered rare breed Berkshires, unfortunately, after living with a boar for months, she simply did not come on heat and could not get pregnant. I had two options but given the complications of slaughtering a 250kg sow, the abattoir will not take pigs over 80kg and I cannot sell the meat if we home kill her, she has escaped culling and has become our companion sow who will keep any lonely boar company whilst they are not in service.

Martha, the Large Black  companion pig.

Martha, the Large Black companion pig.

The second sow to fail to get pregnant was more of a surprise to me, she is a registered Berkshire and had originally arrived on the farm already in litter, she was a good mum with 11 piglets but second time around she failed to come on heat and I suspect it was because of a hip/leg injury making her unsuitable for mating. Jennifer is a typical example of an untypical pig. she is difficult to tell when on heat, there are very little outward signs and she is so stubborn she will refuse, when pushed, to move if on heat or not. I waited with in trepidation and baited breath as the 15th May approached and passed, it was obvious that she was not pregnant but being a big pig I still had some hope that she was simply not showing. However its now 20 days after her litter was due and whilst she has proven to be a great companion to Ruth, who had a litter at the beginning of May, she will soon be put back to the boar and I will be watching very closely this time. Its a sad fact of life on the farm that all the animals on the farm need to provide a return, we simply cannot afford to become a rescue home to old animals which continue to cost us $2 per day in feed. Let us all keep our fingers crossed that Jennifer delivers us a litter soon.

After 18 months on the farm I have learnt a lot about pigs but I still need to become better at recognising the pigs heat cycles, planning the mating and ensuring the pigs are pregnant after being moved out from the boars. Its all part of the learning experience and I have quickly learnt, to my detriment, that planning the breeding is the most important part of the business because when I get it wrong it results in a shortage of stock to sell eight months down the line. This is actually the biggest difference between my old career in Consumer Electronics and my new career as a farmer, whereas I used to be able to quickly increase supply by buying more products I now have to plan eights months in advance to meet my customers demands, and if I get it wrong we have nothing to sell.

TFWF#41: Part 1 – Death

As the farm, and the business, gets busier I have realised that my farm updates are getting further and further apart. This means I have a lot more to say in each update and therefore I have cut out the basic humdrum of everyday life on the farm to focus on the really important matters. This post is in three parts and each details the three most important issues on the farm, the issues of death, sex and money.

As I have mentioned in previous posts death is a big part of farming. A part that I thought I had prepared myself for but it never ceases to amaze me how it still affects me. Luckily our breeding stock and grower pigs have been healthy and we have never lost a single pig after weaning. Its a different story at birth and a pig will almost always have at least one death per litter, the stats are on average 10%. Depending on the pig, some have no deaths and some tend to have more than their fare share, this could be due to still births, too many in a litter or the mother accidentally sitting on the piglets in the farrowing hut.

At times we have periods of frequent farrowing and at the start of this year we had four litters in a row, when this happens you also have the chance of more piglet deaths. Two of the pigs had no deaths, resulting in litters of 13 and 9 respectively. The other two were less lucky and they have a history of losing a few piglets per litter. One pig decided to farrow outside by the fence line rather than in a hut, this resulted in her nest being less suitable for the piglets and she squashed two of them, she actually had less space for the piglets to get away than if she had farrowed in the hut. As soon as I found the piglets at the far end of the field I began the process of moving them (two at a time) into the farrowing hut, the mother followed later and luckily we lost no more from that litter. Collecting the dead piglets it is not a nice job and made worse by the work required to dig holes in which to lay them to rest. I have always insisted on treating them respectfully and when the weather allows I normally dig a hole on a hill overlooking the breeding paddock, from there they are able to look down on the rest of the herd, forever a part of the farm.

Of course the most regular cause of death that I have to deal with is when I take the grower pigs to the abattoir for slaughter. Its a part of the job that I don’t often talk openly about because many people don’t like to think about this part of the lifecycle, or find it too upsetting. However I feel that if you eat meat you should know the process involved and therefore I insist on taking the pigs to the abattoir myself.

Its not a pleasant journey, knowing the final destination, but it is made as stressless as possible for the pigs by starting early in the day and getting them on the trailer straight after a good nights sleep. For a few days before the journey the pigs have been relocated into the transit paddock and are trained to eat on the trailer, come the day of the journey they greet me from the trailer, waiting to get fed, snorting with happiness. Without any hassles or stress I slide the door closed, hitch up the trailer to the car and head out on the road.

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Three Large Black pigs getting ready for their journey to the abattoir. Two of them still unaware they are even on a trailer.

 

They have plenty of straw for the journey and after a few mins they settle down for the journey. We never travel if the weather is too bad and I don’t stop on the way, preferring to get to the abattoir as quick as possible. It takes about one and a half hours to get the the abattoir, its a journey that would not be necessary if we were allowed to kill on the farm but under MPI rules the pigs must be slaughtered at a registered works and in the lower north island our closest is in Wanganui.

On arrival at the abattoir the pigs happily alight the trailer, happy to be back on solid ground. I walk them down into a metal holding pen where they are able to drink and are kept cool by a fine water mist (when its hot). On the days that we drop off there are normally a few pens of intensively grown white pigs close by, these pigs are happy to see the light of day and are making happy snorting noises. Within a few hours they have all been stunned and killed. The death is efficient, quick and as humane as possible.

Despite the fact that I know the process is designed to limit any stress and fear I never forget to spend a few minutes on the drive home to think about the pigs, its my way of saying goodbye and to remind myself that they had a good life.

TFWF#34: where we taste fame and suffer famine

Its been a very exciting and full month and we just have to start this post with proof that we are, at last, famous. Following on the heels of my successful little chat on the Radio Live Home and Garden show (at 6:20am) we were on a PR high and the requests for interviews literally came flooding in… from at least one newspaper, the Otaki Mail. I talked about the interview in the last post and one morning, at the beginning of the month, my mate Doug (the Landrover genius) emailed me with a photo:

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My fifteen minutes of local Otaki fame

It you fancy a ‘right good read’ then check out the whole article by clicking on THIS. And I promise you there is more to come as we spread the word of ethical eating.

The winter has really taken its toll over the last month and the pigs are doing what anyone would do, using all their energy to keep warm. The upshot of this is that the growers (the pigs we turn into tasty product) are not getting big enough to take to the market. We try to take pigs to the abattoir at about 60kg, at this size the fat is just about right and the economies work well, the last three were just 50kg each and at the following farmers market we sold out of everything except two lots of sausages and bacon (which I had purposely stocked up on). All of this meant that I had to take the difficult decision to skip a market weekend and give the pigs time to grow bigger. Whilst I hate to let customers down I really had no option and on the flip side it did mean that I got to spend a bit longer with little Fred (who is now ticking on 9 weeks old) and I have been able to do a great deal of planning and farming.

Its been busy on the farm with another pig arc being built, two new paddocks being fenced and a new style of trough being created. You may remember when I first started farming I was keen on trying to build everything out of pallets, the chicken houses, the breeder huts and the feeding platforms. Some worked better than others and whilst the breeder huts have been and all out success, with Reuben and I now able to knock one up in 53 mins, the feeding platforms have not managed well in the mud and constant rain/damp of winter. I realised that in the excitement of being fed the pigs were actually losing quite a lot of food into the mud, it was time for feeding plan B and I already had the perfect solution on the farm, plastic barrels.

As you can see another very simple solution made easy with the help of an old farming book that Reuben lent to me. The open top drums are cut in half with a jigsaw, then bolted together and screwed onto some chunky wooden off cuts (to stop them from rolling around). The key quality is that they waste less food on the ground and can retain the moisture of wet feed, like brewers grain. They are not perfect yet as some of the bigger pigs have already managed to break the wooden feet off but they are far better and more efficient that the wooden version.

This month we also had our first visit from the vet (other than our annual check). Arriving onto the breeding paddock one day it was soon clear something was amiss. The sound of the car signifies food and normally all the pigs come running, this time was different. Lying on the ground in the paddock was Paula, as I drove towards her there was no movement and my heart dropped. The health of my animals is paramount to my whole reason for the farm and it is always a horrible feeling to think that one of my animals might have died on my watch. As I got closer there was no movement until almost upon her she looked up with sad eyes and stared at me from under her long, floppy ears…whew. Paula stood and was able to move but she was hobbling terribly and something was dreadfully wrong, I called the vet. The vet was great, she got to the farm within a few hours and after a good examination she noticed a big scratch across her back which was supported by a large bruise (barely visible on a black pig). She administered a pain-killer and we slowly walked Paula back into her hut.

Paula shortly after farrowing in May

Paula shortly after farrowing in May, looking a lot fatter than she does now.

Paula came good after a few days and in the meantime she got breakfast and dinner brought to her in bed. It’s a mystery what happened to her as there is nothing in the paddock to fall off or bang into. My only thought is that now her and Marigold have been weaned they are starting to go on ‘heat’ and Marigold was having her first heat after weaning. I think that she may have mounted Paula (yes it does happen) and hurt her in the process. As Paula is the dominant female I am sure she will get her own back.

I will leave you this time with a final tale about weaning the Large Black piglets. Reuben and I made our little capture hut out of pallets and plywood and fed them in the hut for a few days. By the time we were ready to transfer them they were happy to walk in the hut but as it was only big enough to get 5 or 6 at a time we had to keep opening and closing it with the piglets slowly becoming reluctant as they realised that their mates were going in but not coming out. After a good amount of squealing, panting and sweating (mostly from me) we managed to pick up the 17 piglets and transfer them from the breeding paddock down to the grower paddock. With the job done I took the following photo, they seemed happy with their new digs, I however ached all over and needed my bed.

The Large Black piglets, now 10 weeks old, are moved into the grower paddock with their fancy new Pig Ark.

The Large Black piglets, now 10 weeks old, are moved into the grower paddock with their fancy new Pig Ark.

 

All pigs are equal…but they are NOT like cattle or sheep!

At the advice of Jeremy from Longbush Pork I attended my very first NZ A&P show. I was quite pleased because my first A&P show was the ROYAL show in Fielding, surely if it had been given the grand name of ROYAL SHOW it was going to be good. I had recollections of the grand East Of England Show that I used to attend with my parents in Peterborough (UK) many years ago, with its massive tractors, trucks, shows, candyfloss and many other events slightly related to agriculture.

I arrived on the first day of the show and it was most definitely not in full swing. Amongst the crowds of stewards were a few visitors hiding away in the tents where an Italian gentleman was showing his new range of cookware and New Zealand’s most famous Port was attracting, literally, crowds of absolutely no one. I circled the show looking for two things, the pigs that I had come for and some food that I had come to need. Food came in the guise of a packet of chips and a bottle of pepsi, I simply couldn’t bring myself to eat another of those hot dogs on a stick. The pigs were elusive, studying a map I could see where they were supposed to be but all I could find were horses and cattle and a few storage buildings. I circled three times before choosing to wander into one of the storage buildings and sure enough, looking very sad, was the greatest and largest of New Zealands pigs just waiting for….anything to happen.

Dont get me wrong its not just a New Zealand thing that pigs are treated like, well, pigs but its always a real disappointment to me that an animal we know has the same intelligence of a three year old child doesn’t get the same treatment, recognition or even humanity that we give to cows and horses. While the horses pranced around inside the dry main arena and the cows enjoyed their own marquee tents the pigs laid on concrete, with no water or feed, in an outbuilding being looked after by a teenager barely capable of lifting a bucket to put water into the empty pigs water troughs (after being ordered to by a passing stranger). Are we ashamed of pigs?

So after driving for a hour to Fielding the Royal show was not the pig buying ground that I had expected, in fact it was not even a place that pigs should be if they are going to be treated like that. No wonder that pig farmers are looked upon with derision and kids don’t know that bacon comes from a pig, pigs are like the child of the 19th century – neither seen nor heard.  In fairness I should say that it was only the first day and if I give them the benefit of the doubt probably the worst day for me to visit (lets hope they had water every other day). The few pigs that were in situ were a good selection of breeds so I took some photos:

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It appears that many do not share my view but I think pigs are beautiful, all of the above breeds are special and should be treated as such. I would like to think that perhaps in some small way I can get New Zealands to start to respect the pig and enjoy them more in both life and death. Perhaps even bring the sexy back to pigs that the horses and cattle still enjoy at the A&P shows around the country. Pigs are not dirty, they are not to be ashamed off, they are to be treated with respect and eaten with relish…

Ruminations on ruminators

The countdown to the farm has started and so have the sleepless nights. With so much to think about I am guessing that my recent sleeplessness will last for a good few weeks to come. Its not so much worry about the crazy journey we are about to undertake but rather the sheer volume of learning that I have ahead of me. I am sure that no one who reads this blog thinks that a farmers life is easy, its full of hard work, long hours and so on. But have you also considered the massive amount of knowledge that goes into farming, a farmer needs to be a chemist, a vet, a soothsayer, a meteorologist, a tradesman, a geologist, a botanist and the list goes on.

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So as I try to learn all that I need to know, and stay awake thinking about all the things that I don’t yet know, I have been reading books and listening to blogs about farming. What I have learnt is that in america there has been a resurgence of people going back to the land and doing exactly what we are doing, so many in fact that they have been given the title of ‘the beginning farmers’. And one beginning farmer has an excellent podcast and blog that has been very useful for my planning.

The first thing I have to do on the farm is prepare it for animals, if we were in an office this would be the equivalent of setting out desks, arranging the water cooler and buying the headed paper. But on a farm its a lot more complicated because mistakes really can cost lives, as well as money, and the equipment I need is extensive (having recently moved to NZ from Australia I don’t even have a hammer). So I turned to The Beginning Farmer Show for some advice and this is a summary of his ‘four great things’ to think about when it comes to purchasing items to help you use your time, energy, and money more wisely:

  1. Buy Nothing and Learn Lots! (buy as little as possible and the slowly figure out what I need).
  2. Buy Equipment That Will Save You Money! 
  3. Buy Equipment That Improves the Life of Your Livestock! 
  4. Buy Equipment That Saves You Time!
So with these simple rules in mind I am about to embrace the world of the Freegan. Sourcing all kinds of materials, tools and even food for the animals from places that no longer need them. Since leaving work in February I have been trying to live as frugally as possible and it has really struck me how little we actually need, how much waste we produce and how I would buy things I didn’t even use. I am not trying to preach to anyone, if anything I am chastising myself for all the money I have wasted in the past and actually I’m looking forward to being more innovative and social in my pursuit of the Freegan lifestyle.
So with that in mind I have made a list of all the things I need and it will be fun seeing just how many I can source for free or make for less than just buying new:

– Pig Ark (Shelter). I am going to need a few of these and I have found some really easy plans for them so job number one is to buy the materials and make 3 or 4 of them. For that I will need wood, electric jigsaw, a hammer and patience.

Pig, Ark, Shelter

Each sow needs one of these to give birth in. I plan to have at least 8 Sows

– Tractor (with a loader). Oh yes a big red tractor, every boys dream until about the age of ten when they turn to Ferrari instead.
– Live stock Trailer. Actually I firstly need to get a tow bar fitted on my car and then learn how to drive with a trailor on the back (especially when going in reverse).
– Ride On Lawn Mower (and petrol strimmer). This is not really a farm purchase but if I don’t get one the 1.5 acres around the house will soon look like a jungle.
– Post Hole Digger. The farm is quite well fenced but I will need to put alot of fence in to make smaller paddocks, I am not looking forward to this as its costly and HARD work.
– Plow, Disk, Harrow, Seeder, Baler. All of these are needed if I am going to start growing crops to feed the animals (and the pigs…)
– Spade, Shovel, Rake, Branch cutters, Axe, Pickaxe, Sledgehammer, Hay Rake and a hundred other hand tools
– Chainsaw. Just so I can scare the neighbours.

Infact the only farm ‘tool’ I have at the moment is a green Land Rover Defender, which comes with the house, whilst it makes me look the part I am not sure its going to help me make money.

OK, I am off to pretend to sleep and ruminate some more.