"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Out with the Old, In With the New (Animals)

Out with the old: The pig is scheduled for slaughter on tuesday. We're going with Keizer meats again. We had actually decided to have our acquaintance Crecencio do it - he's the guy who butchered the goats last fall and he said he knows how to do pigs too - since we are kind of broke and Crecencio would work for meat. I also discovered a place that would cure the hams and bacon for me, so I was pretty happy about that. However, Crecencio isn't answering our phone calls.

Keizer meats has always provided excellent service and a superior product, so it's fine. It's just an outlay we weren't expecting right now. Homero, as usual, argued that the pig wasn't ready yet, but I totally disagree. By the tape measure method, he weighs about 225 pounds. According to the book and also everyone I know who raises pigs, there's no point in letting them get a whole lot bigger because they just start laying on the lard. Unless you really want lots of lard, and old-fashioned fatty meat, you should kill them at a weight between 200 and 250 pounds. I have a gallon of clean rendered lard in the fridge and I expect that to last me a long time. I don't need a whole lot more.

Plus, the pig has to be penned up now, lest he harm the baby goats, and his pen is so disgusting I just can't look at it anymore. He is waist deep in shitty mud day and night. I have to reach in there and get his water bucket every day and clean it with the hose, and it is NO FUN, let me tell you. We are going to let him out in the other pasture for the few days he has left, just to get clean, root around, and enjoy life a little before the end. He's a cute pig, actually. As far as pigs go. But we have been flat out of pork for a month now, and I absolutely refuse to buy supermarket pork products. I am craving some bacon.

In with the new: The baby goatlings are doing just fine, all eight of them. Django's kids, being the oldest, are really starting to leap and run and climb and generally behave like active, healthy little kids. They are definitely the lords of the barnyard at the moment. Iris' kids are not far behind. They jump and run, but stay closer to the barn and look for their mama after just a few minutes. Flopsy's twins are still little bitty babies - they cuddle up and stay in their "nest" while mama goes out to graze and just wait for her to return. The older babies try to play with them, but they haven't quite got the idea yet.

I am bringing all four does and the spotty buckling to the vet to be disbudded. It's expensive to have the vet do it ($30 per head), but it's worth it, in my opinion. Last year I had a goat farmer who came highly recommended do it - she only charged $10 per kid - and all of those kids are growing scurs. Scurs are any growth from areas of the horn bud that didn't get totally destroyed. Scurs can be a minor cosmetic nuisance, or they can be a major headache (no pun intended). Storm Cloud has minor scurs that aren't a problem except for ruining his appearance, but Xana had major scurs that curled back into her skull and needed to be removed once a year or so. None of the goats I've had disbudded at the vet's have scurs, and if they DO start growing scurs, the vet will fix them for no extra charge. Not to mention, the vet uses anaesthesia. I don't consider that absolutely essential, but it sure is nicer. Disbudding involves a red hot iron. 'Nuff said.

My sister is buying the spotty buckling. He really is the prize of the bunch. What a gorgeous boy! The four does I hope to sell as milk goats, which is why I'm having them disbudded. You pretty much can't sell a goat with horns. Not around here, anyway. And the other three boys are meat, so I'm not bothering to disbud them. I can castrate them myself (with a band) and that's all they need.

I love this time of year. I love the baby goats! Baby goats, to tell the truth, are pretty much the whole reason I moved up here and started a farm. I just adore them!

Ivory guards the herd


Jennifer said...

Those are some beautiful baby goats!

Olive said...

Aimee I feel the need to tell you , I DON'T like goats (although yours are just so cute) We have only kept one goat, a give-away to a good home, you know the story. We soon found out why it was given away !! Chain to tether him included with the deal.
THEN....soft hearted me, I didn't like the idea to keep her on a chain for the remainder of her life, and let it off. Biggest mistake I ever made. Having to walk backwards every time I ventured outside, armed with a big stick because she would run up and bunt me in the behind with her enormous horns. Cured me from keeping goats for ever. Can laugh about it now but it wasn't funny then.

~Tonia said...

Those babies are beautiful! I am missing our own pork too. And it wont be anytime soon when we have some... Bummer...

berryvine said...

Mmmmm fresh pork. Meat processors around here are few and far between. You either do it youself or pay the asking price if you can find somone to do it.They won't do goats!Those kids are so cute!

Aimee said...

Olive that is a funny picture! She must have been an especially obnoxious goat.ost goats aren't aggressive except for males in rutting season. But of course mine do t have horns. Some people say. That having hoe
s makes them more aggressive. Berryvone - do you live in an area with a high Hispanic population? Asl a Mexicann!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous kids! By the way, I pay to have the vet do my disbudding too. I have learned through mistakes that this is the best way to go.

polly's path said...

the babies ARE beautiful.

I really like the idea of having someone else process the meat. We will be raising an eating turkey this spring and I am trying to find someone who will do the deed for us. Our meat processor won't-they only do large animals.

polly's path said...

p.s. Our vet(the only one, again, in town who even knows anything about goats, does not disbud. Goat farmers in our area who do this thing for a living disbudded our baby boy and did a fabulous job. $10 is their fee, or they offer to teach you for free. That is something I am not ready to learn yet.

Aimee said...

Polly me neither though my husband is pressuring me.