The time finally came to call our local meat processors and schedule the pigs for execution. These two have been slow growers - probably due to the time of year more than anything else - and just as loud and obnoxious as every other pig we've ever owned, and we are heartily sick of them. Sometimes, pigs actually bowl me over when I head out to feed them. These two haven't actually knocked me down into the mud, but they do chase me, push me with their horrible snouts, and scream. I am not actively frightened of these pigs, but I can't say I enjoy their company either.
Friday, February 10, 2012
There were two reasons for getting two pigs this time around. The first was that pigs are very social, and a pig alone gets lonely - so I've been told - and we thought they would be happier if they had the company of their own kind. The other reason was to bring down the price of our own pork. As I think I have mentioned before (Big Pig, and Big Decision), raising your own pork isn't actually any cheaper than buying it at the store. In fact, it probably costs somewhat more. It's the vastly superior quality of homegrown pork that makes it worth it - plus, of course, the able-to-sleep-at-night factor of not participating in the evil, earth-destroying factory farming industry.
If we raised two pigs, the thought went, we could sell one and recoup some of the costs of feeding both of them, thereby rendering (haha) our own pork somewhat cheaper. I am not at all sure that actually works... that would require about fifteen minutes of math and I don't feel up to it at the moment. However, without doing more than fifteen seconds of math, I can guesstimate that one of the pigs will bring us about $350, which, when you discount the $80 he cost in the first place, is $270... which is probably somewhere close to as much money as we spent on feeding both pigs. So, very broadly speaking, I feel more or less somewhat confident that this scheme actually reduced the price of our own pork by something between five and fifty percent.
There is a totally unrelated reason to sell pork. Our land is classified by the tax man as farmland. We enjoy low property taxes (relatively speaking, of course), but in order to maintain that status we have to be able to show we are reaping actual financial gain from agricultural endeavors on this property, to the tune of $1,500 three years out of every five. So far, we have met that goal... by the skin of our teeth, and by doing some creative accounting as regards barter arrangements. But it is a constant struggle to make good, and $350 bucks or so from a pig goes a fair way towards meeting this year's goal.
I made another $65 today by selling a half a dozen young laying chickens. My chickens have been hiding their eggs quite craftily for the past few weeks and I am getting sick of feeding two dozen chickens and getting bupkes in the way of eggs. Yesterday I put up a Craigslist add offering my 6 month old layers at $10/apiece, with a five dollar discount given for every rooster taken as well. So today, a lady bought seven hens and one rooster: $65. That leaves me with about fifteen hens and three roosters, which seems about right.