We've had our rare-breed Tamworth Pigs for 6 weeks now and I thought I'd put together a little summary on how it's been, what I've learnt and plans for the future.
Pigs make you Smile
For the most part, the first month has been all joy. I stand by the saying that Pigs are one of the few animals that can bring a smile to your face no matter what.
The Golden Hour
One of my favourite times of the day has become what we call the "Golden Hour" just before the sun's going down over the Vineyard, dowsing the whole area in stunning golden beams. I love to go up to the Pig Paddock next to the Solaris Plantation in the Vineyard and watch them playing happily, chasing each other and digging away, searching for hidden gems. The light catches them and it gives a great sense of happiness to end the day.
What I've learnt over the past 6 weeks .....
First things first, Pigs will dig up anything! What was once a nice piece of land is now completely turfed up. I was amazed at just how quickly they did it. In just 2 weeks the four little weaners had managed to decimate this section of land. The second thing to note, is keeping them contained is an absolute nightmare ....
No matter how much-barbed wire I add to the paddock, they find a way to dig under it or squeeze through it. Pigs are the craftiest of escape artists! They are a completely different kettle of fish to keeping Sheep. In hindsight, using electric fencing would probably be a better solution. Lastly, knowing how much to feed them has been a learning curve. I try to balance their diet as much as I can, but knowing how much they actually need per day has been very much trial and error. To begin with, I found that the '10 minute rule' worked well. I was feeding them once a day with an amount that would take them roughly 10 minutes to eat and that was enough to substitute grazing.
Since then, I've adopted the 1lb per day for each month of their age up to a maximum of 6lbs. So at the moment, I'm feeding them once in the morning and once roughly 12 hours later in the evening to make up around 2lbs of feed each day. They are fed on an amazing mix of dates, prunes, apples from the orchard mixed in a delicious oat mix, leftover grapes from the Vineyard and quince that grows in the Herb Garden as well as your standard compound pig feed for protein.
Looking to the future, obviously, the time is going to come when two of them will be sent off to the slaughterhouse and two will be kept back for breeding. It's very important to me that the slaughterhouse they go to is small, local and as understanding and as caring as possible so that they are put under as little stress as possible. The meat will then be used in a couple of different ways .....
Piggy Cru Porky Hampers
I'm going to start doing delicious Porky Hampers with home-made secret recipe Sauces and Wine from the Vineyard to pair. "Piggy Cru Porky Hampers" will be coming very soon.
LIFESTYLE Recipe Boxes
Secondly, I'm going to be producing Recipe Boxes aimed at making cooking fun, fast and healthy!
The Boxes will contain only local fresh produce straight from Farm to Plate and easily allow you to incorporate the best healthy recipes that I use regularly into your week.
As an avid Rugby player myself, diet and fitness is incredibly important to me and so I'll also be offering weekly workout programmes to help those of you aspiring to become more of an athlete.
The Recipe Boxes will be known as CORE Lifestyle, which is all about educating people to better understand what they put in their body and to enjoy fitness and wellbeing, healthy eating and activity made easy!
What does CORE Lifestyle stand for ....
Challenging yourself each week to improve.
Opportunity to be the best version of yourself.
Re-invent the way you cook, eat & exercise each week.
Energise and enjoy all aspects of your lifestyle.
CORE LIFESTYLE will roll out later this year. If this is something you'd be interested in then please get in touch, I'd love to hear from you. KentonParkEstate@gmail.com
Until next time,