TFWF#39: a look back at 2014

We dont always have the time to look back at our lives, and even if we do have the time we often don’t have the inclination. However as its the end of our first year farming I thought I should look back and see what, if anything, I have achieved.

Of course its easy to say that in a year when achievements have been coming from every direction, a new country, a career change, a marriage, a baby and so on (not all of that happened in 2014 but most of it did). The problem is that it has been a frantic whirlwind of events and activity and I am running the risk of not appreciating the memories and learnings.

Its been just over a year since we moved to the farm and after a short time as bare land owners we received our first livestock on the 11th December 2014. The nine piglets from Wanganui did us well and got us through the first few farmers markets and indeed one lucky Sow (now named Ruth, after Ruth Pretty the chef) became the first pig to be mated and have a litter on the farm.

Me inspecting the herd on day one.

Me inspecting the herd on day one.

When I look back at the pictures of me surrounded by those motley coloured pigs, pink buckets in hand and a small pile of feed bags I am amazed by the growth that has happened. If we just look at the numbers on the 11th December 2013 we had a total of nine piglets on the farm, as of today, 11th January 2015, we now have a herd consisting of:

  • 3 Boars
  • 8 Sows
  • 7 Gilts (young sows)
  • 40 Growers
  • 34 Piglets

The infrastructure in December 2014 was basically two large fields with perimeter fencing only and one small transit paddock. A year on and we have 18 four line electric fenced paddocks with detailed maps of the farm in order to ensure the pigs are tracked and accounted for, the water pipes are easy to find and the electric fence on/off switches are everywhere. Not only has it been a great deal of hard work and time it has also cost a great deal of money, the steel fence posts are $7 each and I would estimate we have used at least 200 posts alone, not to mention the gates, the gate posts, the wire (thousands of meters), the insulators and the tools required to do all this work.

The breeding herd paddock after 1 year of farming

A panoramic photo of the breeding herd paddock after 1 year of farming. At roughly 12 acres the herd have about 1 acre per paddock and normally house two Sows per paddock

After a few months of breeding herd preparations and feeding the ‘bought in’ growers we were greeted by a barrage of piglets in May, starting with Paula on the 1st May, then Marigold, then Jennifer and finally Clarissa squeezing into the month on the 31st May. The following month the month important of our litters was born, our first son, Fred. The numbers on the farm were building quickly.

That same month was our first time at the Farmers Markets. My fear of meeting customers and selling on the street was eclipsed by my fear of driving, parking and reversing with a chiller trailer attached. I had never towed a trailer before and had never been to either of the markets to scope out the trailer driving skills needed. It seems like such a funny thing to have been worried so about now that I look back, but at the time it kept me awake at night.

Our first market day. Both Claire and I manning the stand

Our first market day. Both Claire and I manning the stand

The markets went well. I enjoyed them on that first day and I still enjoy them just as much after neary a year. I like meeting the people that eat and enjoy our meat and I also like to be able to talk about our farm and why we do what we do. The markets were also our greatest marketing venues, we met restaurant owners, chefs, foodies, blog writers and eventually in the middle of the year a producer from the iconic TVNZ Country Calendar.

As the year went on I scoured the country looking for breeding stock. We had pigs arrive on the farm from Gore, Masterton, Featherston, Feilding, Levin and the Hawkes Bay. By the time the Country Calendar cameras arrived we had become a fully fledged (but still small scale) pig farm. The show explored our reasons for the farm, our plans for the future and ourselves. It was a most enjoyable experience.

Feeding pigs brewers grain whilst standing on the back of a ute with a camera crew.

Feeding pigs brewers grain whilst standing on the back of a ute with a camera crew, just another day…

As the year came to a close the focus switched entirely to the production and supply of the Christmas hams. With such a large amount of produce being sold in one month it very quickly became apparent that the Christmas hams are actually the make or break of a pig farmer and no mistakes could be made. Not wanting to let anyone down we launched the sale of hams on our website, pay a deposit and secure your ham. Within just two days 80% of our hams were sold. What followed was a frantic plethora of spreadsheets with names and collection points, final prices and preferences for sizes. It was our first year and we had a lot to organise and learn. We bought boxes, labels, sticker and bags and I spent a great deal of time trying to get it 100%. Of course I didn’t manage to achieve 100% satisfaction but we were pretty close and we learnt from our mistakes, bring on next year.

Twenty Fourteen was a year of arrivals, markets, deaths, piglets, births, trips to the abattoir, fencing, water reticulation, weddings, family, Woody catching his first rat, Fred eating his first meal, damaging cars, fixing cars, floods, cameras, building houses, meeting customers and much, much more.

I wonder what Twenty Fifteen will bring?

TFWF#38: shooting on the farm and Christmas (ham) is coming

Another month or so has passed and once again, it’s been a busy one. Ruth’s piglets, the newly titled Berkshire Blacks, have now been weaned and they are in their new home on the other side of the farm in the grower paddock. At just over eight weeks old they are already showing signs of great muscle (meat) structure and are proving to be very fast growing. They are also the first of the growers to be fed from birth on the high protein new grain diet (in addition to their mothers milk).

The weaning was pretty straight forward as I use a crate to feed them in for a few days before weaning and once they are all comfortable in there I close the door and lift them from the crate to my trailer for transportation across the river to the new paddock and home. Ruth seemed initially quite please to see them go and was happy to engorge herself on the piglet food left behind.

Meanwhile in the grower paddock the purebred Berkshires have, at last, reached weight and yesterday I took the last four to the works. These pigs took a month longer than we expected to get to weight, they should take six months but the winter extended this to seven. Apart from the added feed cost that this incurs it also means that the meat can be a little fattier as the animals build fat to stay warm. This is the primary reason why most pig farms are indoors in order to regulate the temperature and climate, of course the problem with this is that the animals do not get to forage (which makes the meat far higher in nutrients), build good muscle structure and most importantly they don’t get to live naturally, as a pig should.

Now that all the Berkshires have been taken to the abattoir our butcher has been busy making our usual bacon, sausages and cuts but he has also begun the process of curing, cooking and smoking the Xmas hams. This year we had a very limited stock of hams so it is most definitely a first come, first served process. To ensure that we didn’t double up and that everyone had a fair chance to place an order we set up our online shop so that customers could place a deposit on a ham and pick a time and place to collect. I sent my first email to those that had asked about the Xmas hams at the markets and followed it up with a more general newsletter. The response has been excellent and as I write this we only have a few left online, click on this LINK if you want to see if we have any available and if we are sold out please sign up to our newsletter in order to get a pre-notice next year, you can do that by clicking HERE

While 8 week olds were being weaned and 7 month olds were taking a trip to the works our cutest Berkshire, Delia, who came from Gore many months ago on the livestock road-train, was nearing her first litter. On the 25th November Delia went into labour and with a short dinner break in between farrowing she managed to give birth to a very healthy litter of six piglets. Whilst we always hope for ten piglets per litter it was her first farrowing and six healthy piglets is a great result. Pigs will often lose a piglet or two during the process (it is estimated to be about 10% of the litter will not make it) and Gilts (first time mothers) are more likely than Sows to have problems so for Delia to have managed so well without any help or intervention is a great sign that she will have a life on the farm as part of the breeding herd for many years to come.

Our big news over the last two months is even more exciting that our growing herd of cute little piglets. A number of months ago I was approached at the Hill St Farmers Market by a tall stranger who was purporting to be a producer from the TVNZ show Country Calendar and that he would like to do a show on our farm. Naturally I was suspicious and being so new to farming I was convinced that we didn’t have enough to talk about or that I would end up looking like the novice that I am.

A few months passed and whilst Claire and I hoped the show might happen we kept a healthy scepticism as to whether or not it would truly eventuate. Suddenly I received an email and before we knew it dates had been planned, forms had been signed and we received an outline of what the show would include.

On the 21st September a film crew of three turned up at the farm and a completely new experience was thrust upon us. What was very interesting to me was the way life on camera is no longer linear, things do not happen in true time order and answers are given before questions are asked. In order to make the most of each location on the farm (or off the farm, more of that to come) we would film sections which would later be placed in chronological order. We also had to film the answers from different points of view and camera angles so I found myself trying to repeat what I had just said having completely forgot what it was in the first place. All the time we continued with our lives as best we could. Claire has a business to run, I have pigs to feed and Fred simply wants to eat, sleep and make loud noises.

The filming was surprisingly tiring but a lot of fun, the crew were very professional, courteous and really helped to put us at ease. The programme is not just about pig farming the free range way, it is also about how we came from the city, started the farm, started a new life and the trials and tribulations along the way. I am hoping that it doesn’t make me look too inexperienced. After a few days on the farm we headed into Wellington to complete the story with some cameo’s from the people we work with and who have helped us along the way.  Our first stop was at The Garage Project, I have mentioned these guys before because they supply us with spent barley from the brewing process to give to the pigs. This was my first experience of being filmed in public and the embarrassment factor was high, we filmed the drive in, the drive out and the bit in between. Following this was a trip to Big Bad Wolf who are making some new products for us including pork scratchings and Pancetta. Gabriel proved to be a natural on the camera and we breezed through the same conversation about the process of making Pancetta from four different angles, Adam the chef also proving to be excellent at walking, four or five times, from the kitchen to the table with a plate of Pancetta.

After the excitement had died down and the crew had left the farm I had just enough time to relax and catch a terrible case of tonsillitis. Its only when you get ill that you realise how hands on my chosen career is. As a farmer I can’t just stay in bed because i’m sick, the animals still need food and water. After a few days of shivering with fever as I wandered around the farm with buckets of feed I sent a desperate message to Reuben…”can you please feed the pigs..,’ as always he was quick to help and I spent the next four days in bed whilst he kept the livestock happy.

The sickness came and went, much like the film crew. On the 13th November at 6:30am they were back and this time we were travelling together up to Wanganui and the abattoir. Taking pigs to the abattoir is never a nice experience, the stress of loading them, the journey and the arrival at the place with all the animal noises. I made it clear to the team that we would not be taking hours of footage of the pigs being loaded and offloaded, the trip was to be as stress free as possible for the pigs. Arriving at the abattoir we had to wait for two big trucks of steroid filled pigs and fear filled sheep to be offloaded and then we backed up the trailer and gently coaxed our five off the trailer and into the abattoir. Its was a simple process and painless to all involved. The crew fully understood the emotion of the moment and we respectfully said goodbye to those five Berkshires.

Having taken the crew to meet Shane our butcher at Otaki Meats and watch him skillfully tie sausages like a long forgotten skill, the only filming left to do was at the markets, and the date and venue were set for 22nd November at Hill Street Market in Wellington. Customers had been warned about the presence of the crew and a fair few turned up late in the day hoping not to be caught on camera. However a fair few also got their fifteen minutes of fame as the camera and sound boom floated above our heads on what was an extremely wet and windy day.

I will end this exciting chapter with a big thankyou to everyone that appeared, willingly or not, in the filming of our episode of Country Calendar. Afterall, it is because of all of you that I can do what I do. Thank you so much and I hope that you enjoy the programme when it airs in March/April next year (2015)

 

Death on the farm (warning graphic images)

At the end of last week we had some horrendous weather and the rain coming off the hills behind the house flooded the river so that the level rose by over a meter and this in turn stopped me from driving across the river ford. Being new to this piece of land I was watching with interest to see if the water was going to reach the paddocks where the pigs live. Luckily the river stayed a good 50cm below the river bank and disaster was averted. I do have an emergency flood plan in mind and would be able to get the pigs to higher ground but just the thought of moving the pigs back and forward are enough to make me sweat.

On Monday morning after the river had subsided I decided to cross over the river and build a waterproof house for the three goats that we inherited. They live wild in the 12 acre paddock at the top of the hill and, apart from a bit of foot rot, they seem very healthy and happy. I have been planning to move them over to the house side of the river so they can help me get rid of some of the weeds in the river flat but, without a trailer, it was looking like an impossible job. I digress. I built a house out of seven pallets and some old carpet type material just in time for the rain to come back again on Monday night. The rain subsided again and on Wednesday morning I headed over the river in Landy, I drove up the hill to the paddock and was pleased to see the goats around the new goat house. As I got closer it was apparent that one of the goats, generally the most skittish one, was not running away or moving at all. I pulled aside the carpet door and sadly found him motionless and recently dead. With no signs of illness or injury I am not sure of what killed him but the simple fact of the matter was that one of our animals had passed away.

Not something I wanted to deal with on the farm at such an early stage.

Not something I wanted to deal with on the farm at such an early stage.

Not knowing if the death was suspicious or not I called the Vet for advice, the receptionist told me that I should cover him up and the vet will call me back. Given that he was on the other side of the river and at some stage had to be moved anyway Claire and I decided to get him onto the Landy and cover him there till the vet gave us advice. Firstly, this is not a small goat, probably around 70kg, and the back of the Landy is a good meter off the floor so it took the two of us (Claire seemingly trying to imaging the goat was just a sack of harmless potatoes) to get him into the back of the truck. Having accomplished the deed with as much dignity as possible we headed back to wait for the call from the vet. When the call came it was just to tell us that it didn’t look concerning and the only thing left to do was to bury him. Damn, I knew I should have bought a tractor.

Two hours later I was standing by the Landy at the very back of the property having just dug a big hole out of clay soil and singlehandedly moved the goat from the truck into the grave. His last resting place.

It might seem odd to write a blog, one so graphic, about the loss of an animal but this was another seminal moment for me as I become a farmer. I have never had to deal with death like this before and needed to know I could, I also needed to know that I could do it with dignity and afford ANY animal the life and death that they deserved.

Rest in Peace white goat, your friends will miss you.

Rest in Peace white goat, your friends will miss you.

Our white goat is now at rest and for company he will have the sound of the stream and the beautiful Kiwi bush for his view:

IMG_1333

Land(ing) in all kinds of trouble.

As a Christmas special today you get two blogs, enjoy!

The last week has been a week of much disappointment and sadness for Landy. A few weeks ago I decided to get him serviced and called up the local mechanic in Ohau. Having been assured by the mechanic that he knew the car from its previous owners and that I was allowed to drive the Landy on the road without tax or insurance I set off on the 5 min journey to the mechanic, Claire following closely behind in the Colorado.

Almost three weeks later, two deliveries of parts from the UK and many follow up calls to the mechanic I was at last told she was ready to be collected. Dreaming of a car that started straight away, stopped when you pressed the brakes and no longer smoked like an old woman sitting in a rocking chair in Cuba, we set off to pick up the car. And this is when the story starts to turn sour.

I was prepared for the bill to go from the $390 mark mentioned the last time I talked to the mechanic to more like $690 (he had replaced the brake master cylinder and rear brake cylinders with parts I had bought from the UK) but I was not prepared for the slightly nonchalant way the mechanic informed me the cost was actually $1600. Lets put this in perspective, the car drives ok and is great on the farm but it is not roadworthy and therefore probably not even worth $1600, so what on gods earth made him think he could try and charge $1600 for work that he had not even discussed with me? After a lengthy conversation he agreed to reduce the cost to $1000 and by then I had had enough of the conversation and Claire was calling me from the Colorado to ask if she could leave the forecourt where she was waiting.

I took the keys, reminded the mechanic that I was not happy and set off to the petrol station to fill up before heading back to the farm (having been told there was enough petrol for the 4 min drive). As I drove off the forecourt, with Claire heading in the opposite direction, I immediately noticed that the brakes were still VERY spongy and the speedo no longer worked. Then I got an even greater surprise, the choke handle had been moved, I do remember the mechanic had called me a few weeks ago to say the choke was tough to pull because it was caught on something, he had decided to reroute it, I thought he meant behind the scenes in the engine bay but what he actually did was drill a hole in the dashboard on the other side of the steering wheel and put the handle through the new hole, worse still it was no longer connected to the engine at all and does nothing.

Reeling in shock about the lack of improvements for $1000 I carried on along the road for 3 mins until with a splutter and a cough she ran out of fuel (within view of the petrol station). Having been forced to buy another fuel tank and $10 worth of fuel for $30 I filled her up and drove the 50m or so to the station. Landy hasn’t had a good drink in a while and so I was not surprised she was thirsty, but as the pump racked up $120 – $130 – $140 I was getting a little ashen faced. She took a total of $156 worth of fuel to fill and when I got back in the car I  was excited to find the petrol gauge seemed to work (it had not done so before). I headed back home thinking that I would never run out of petrol again now that the gauge worked, how wrong I was. As I pulled in to our bumpy house drive the fuel gauge wavered wildly from left to right with the flow of the fuel in the tank and as I stopped I noticed that the strong smell of petrol had followed me  from the petrol station and was infact emanating from a leak in the petrol tank where the fuel gauge sender unit went into the tank and had not been sealed properly…

The next day.

Rueben and I decided to drive the large field over the river and draw up a plan for the paddocks where I would house the breeding sows and boars. As we circled the field, taking GPS readings, we came up to the swampy section at the back and decided to see just how swampy it was, here is the answer:

Land Rover, farm

Landy, bogged down by earthly problems.

So as Reuben and I sat in the Land Rover, slowly sinking to the bottom of the earth, I called Claire on the (very newly replaced – thanks Uniden) UHF radio:

“Um…are you busy?”
“I’m working, why?”
“Um, cos we need you to come over the river and rescue us…”

Like an angelic Ginger version of Lara Croft, Claire jumped in the Colorado, forded the river and arrived like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark at the gate of the paddock. Within about 10 mins we had managed to free Landy from his resting place and everyone set off in their respective cars, my brakes seeming to get softer and softer as I came down the hill to the river. A quick inspection under the car and I found the source of the problem, whilst trying to get out of the bog I had managed to wind a good percentage of the field around the drive shaft which in turn had ripped the brake pipe from its location and twisted it around the shaft until it had snapped.

In summary, after spending $1000 I now have a car with no brakes, a leaky petrol tank, a wildly over excited fuel gauge and a choke that doesn’t work sticking out of a new hole in the middle of my dashboard. Bringing me neatly to this weeks Farm School Detention which is: if you really want something done, get on the internet, buy a book and do it yourself. I am now researching for a brake pipe plan/design for a 1987 110 Land Rover and I will be fitting it myself, no more Mr Mechanic for me.

And finally I would like to wish you all, your families and friends, a very Merry Christmas from us all here at Woody’s Farm. May your stockings be full of presents and your supermarket bought Christmas hams be unfulfilling (because next year I hope they will all be from Woody’s Farm….)

Don’t fence me in.

Just two weeks away from the arrival of the pigs and the fencing has begun. Now, to most people, fencing is neither glamorous nor exciting so I thought I would give you something to listen too while I tell you about the trials and tribulations of waratahs, electric insulators and high tensile wire, click on the video below and carry on reading:

Now that you are suitably amused by the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby it’s time for a little lesson in pig enclosures. The first thing to know about pigs is that they make Harry Houdini look like a man with three thumbs, pigs are the real escape artists and unless you make your fields pig proof you are likely to lose a few, or worse, all of them. A couple up the road who make apple cider vinegar (more later about them) lost a pet Kune Kune to an incident with a neighbours market garden and a shotgun, another reason to ensure they don’t get out.

Last monday myself and my trusty advisor Reuben (more about him later too) started work on the fencing. Initially I was hoping to get away with using electric fencing tape to mark out the individual paddocks in the field but apparently that would just end up as a ball of fencing tape tied to a pig as he happily trotted across the to the neighbours. The fear I had was having to dig tens of deep post holes into some of the rockiest ground in NZ , an ancient river bed covers the whole farm, but the answer was the simple metal waratah.

A line of steel waratahs.

A line of steel waratahs.

Metal waratahs are Y shaped fence posts that you hammer into the ground about every 6 meters. Sounds easy but trying to get these things straight and facing the right direction whilst aiming to miss the football sized rocks proved a complete challenge. Add to this the unbelievable noise of metal on metal as you hammer down the post and you are in for a night of aches and pains and ringing ears. Twenty waratahs later and we had the outline of paddock number one and time for the wire.

After much careful placement and confused looks the poles were in and it was time to learn the skillful art of bending, twisting, threading and cutting high tensile fence wire. I have seen many farmers and workers on TV tieing fences and they make it seem like the wire is as flexible as string, the reality is that unless you are Uri Gellar metal actually doesn’t want to bend and especially doesn’t want to be tied to a post.

Just as we were finding pliers to tie the difficult bits and pulling bits of wire out of our exposed skin a friendly local farmer popped around to say hello. Andrew Martin lives up the road and his family were one of the founding families of the area, festooned in his farming overals and ‘cowboy’ style hat he drove one of the largest tractors I have ever seen all the way through the farm to the back paddock where the pigs will be kept. Stopping for a chat he saw the mess of the wire we were making and offered to show us a tip or two. Without further ado he grabbed a piece of wire, fashioned it into a handle, twisted a perfect knot and snapped (yes, snapped) the end off the wire, it was a piece of farming art.

The high tensile wire is connected to the waratah via an insulator, this stops the electric fence from being earthed.

The high tensile wire is connected to the waratah via an insulator, this stops the electric fence from being earthed.

I am pleased to say that I can now tell you that the fencing for paddock number 1 (River Field #3) has been completed and the place is really taking shape in time for the arrival of the nine large black pigs due to be delivered in two weeks time. It never ceases to amaze me all the things I am learning and the amount of improvisation that farming is. In addition to the fences this week I have built a gate from scratch, plumbed in 200m of plastic piping and a push button drinking fountain, run out of petrol, hit my foot with a pick axe and driven over my UHF radio.

Which neatly brings me to this weeks Farm School Detention. This week is all about remembering where you put things. Having spent 30 mins searching for some tools in the paddock grass, which is up to my hip, I proceeded to reverse the Land Rover over my two week old UHF radio, which I had taken out my pocket and placed (carefully) on the bonnet of the car. When you live in an appartment its not a major issue that you lost the remote down the back of the sofa or placed the keys in the fridge, when you are working in a 5 acre field its easy to lose almost anything in the grass, even the Land Rover.

Finally for those who follow the trials and tribulations of the Land Rover, this week she was taken to the ‘doctors.’ After I ran out of petrol on the farm (the gauge is not working) she started to paint the floor black with the exhaust fumes so I bit the bullet and drove ten minutes up the road (at no more than 70kph) to the mechanics, it was one of the scariest things I have ever done and Claire, who was following in the Holden, tells me the fumes were reminiscent of Apocalypse Now. Turns out one of the rear brake cylinders was seized and the two front calipers were worn out. She is due back mid next week and then I am going to work on the door latches so I don’t have to wind the window down every time I want to get out the car….don’t ask.

Life on the farm!

On Friday the 1st November Claire and I moved onto the farm on North Manakau road. Since then it has been a complete blur of moving in, getting settled, meeting people, buying screws, poles and washing machines and touring the farm in our newly inherited 1987 Land Rover 110.

Land Rover, Farm, Dog

Woody pretends to drive the Land Rover, he hasn’t worked out the steering wheel is on the other side.

Already the house is looking and feeling great and Claire has taken to being a domestic goddess like a duck to water but there is work to be done on the farm, lots of it. I have given myself the goal of making an income from the livestock by February 2014 and this means the grower pigs need to be six months old by then, simple maths will tell you that I need to buy the two month old weaners right now. So the search for the pigs has already began.

Pigs in the saleyards at Rongatoa, check out the sunburn on those ears.

Pigs in the saleyards at Rongatoa, check out the sunburn on those ears.

True free range Large Black (Devon) pigs in Wanganui

True free range Large Black (Devon) pigs on a small farm just outside Wanganui

The livestock auction at Rongotea.

The livestock auction at Rongotea.

Three days ago I went to my first livestock sale yard and auction in a small rural town called Rongatoa, about an hour north of the farm. As with most farming in New Zealand and Australia the focus is mostly on cattle and sheep but they had a few pigs up for sale, set well away from the rest of the stock and looking very forlorn. Now I don’t know much about pigs, yet, but I can tell you that these pigs didn’t look happy, there were 5 white pigs (presumedly from a larger litter) and if you look at their ears in the photo I took (above left) you will see they are quite badly sunburnt and overall looked scrawny and dirty, they sold for $101 a piece. In contrast, today I drove over 200km to visit a true free range farm just north of Wanganui where I met the very gracious Gill and her husband. Whilst scoffing two homemade savoury scones, washed down with a good ole cup of tea we discussed the pitfalls and merits of pig farming. After this we went for the obligatory farm tour to see all the pigs, the boar, the sows and the piglets.

This is Jack the Large Black (Devon) Boar, the big Daddy at over 300kg.

This is Jack the Large Black (Devon) Boar, the big Daddy at over 300kg.

They all looked very happy and enjoyed the freedom of walking around the whole paddock. The 9 piglets they had for sale were all 100% Large Blacks (Devon) piglets and generally seemed in good shape, five sows and four boars. So I bought them all for $75 each and they will arrive in the first week of December, just in time for me to have completed the work on the farm.

So the pigs are coming but I don’t have fencing, water troughs or feed set up. I have chosen the best paddock to start off the pig project but I need to get it prepared and only have three weeks to do it. I will be installing electric fencing (the property is already electrified so I just need to structure the fence lines), dropping a water line from the high paddocks on the other side of the fence and buying an auto feeder. All in a days/weeks work.