Juggling some of 800 Pounds of Butter
Showing off with sticks of butter. The local business who gives us their whey had a bad batch of butter. They make a lot of butter and these things happen with any production process. But what is not quite up to par for people is delicious for the pigs. Rather than throwing it away they gave us a call to see if we wanted it for the pigs. It’s great stuff, very high in lysine which is a protein and calories – both of which are lacking in our pig’s pasture diet. It is wonderful to have them keeping good stuff like this out of the waste stream and the pigs thank them from the bottoms of their tummies!
Most of our pig’s diet is pasture in the warm months replaced by hay in the winter months when we’re on snow pack. For details about what they eat and how we raise pigs see the Pig Page, read the paragraph about diet and follow the feeding links for more details.
Unloading 30,000 of Cottage Cheese
Earlier this winter we got a load of 30,000 lbs of premium Cabot cottage cheese. This is the good stuff, the cottage cheese I love. Cabot’s another dairy company just a bit north of us and they too have a long standing relationship with area pig farmers keeping good organics out of the waste stream.
How much is 30,000 pounds of cottage cheese? It was about 40 of those pallets you see there in the photo on the tractor forks. Fortunately most of it was in the larger 5 lb containers. It takes a lot of time getting them out into buckets but it is a most excellent food for piglets as they wean and begin their big growth spurt. (Thanks, Ed!)
How much of our pigs diet does this make up? Not a huge amount. About 80% to 90% of our pigs’s diet is pasture/hay. About 7% is dairy of which almost all of that is whey. Occasionally we luck into a windfall like this cheese or butter, probably once a year for the smaller 1,000 lb amount and once every few years for the larger amounts. The result is this represents about 2 ounces (0.13 lbs) per pig per day which isn’t very much. The actual math varies year to year depending on how lucky we get and how many pigs we have that year as well as what time of year we get it – things like this store all winter but not so long in the heat of summer. I wish it were more often and the cheese and butter maker wishes it was less often since the reason we get it is they had a problem like when a batch froze on a truck. Fortunately the pigs are eager to help with the problem when they can be of assistance.
Ferret Proof Pipe
This past week Ben ferret proofed the cottage and moved the ferrets up here from the old house where they had still been staying in the shed room. Here’s a wire mesh grating he made to keep the ferrets from weaseling their way through the air ventilation pipes. Our new house, the cottage, is actually so tight we don’t get mice. I’ve never lived in a mouse-less house before. An advantage of new construction and of stone/concrete.
Ben, Kavi and Fred Ferret
Kavi, the dog, is absolutely devoted to the ferrets. They have been his pets from day one when they arrived. He is quite possessive of them, not wanting Lili, Cinnamon or other dogs to play with the ferrets. Being able to come into the house and play with them once a day is something he looks forward to. He’ll stand up on his hind legs looking up towards the loft where their cage is asking “ferrets, ferrets, play, please” over and over. It is quite fascinating how these levels of relationships work out.
Head on over and check out Ben’s blog for more about the ferret’s new digs.
Outdoors: 50°F/44°F Rain
Farm House: 50°F/49°F
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/60°F