Welcome to Sugar Mountain Farm

This past week Saddle Pig had ten healthy piglets. Eight of them are pure white. Two have spots like dominoes. One snake eyes and one seven spot. Cute as buttons. These ones are almost sold out and will wean the end of September and be ready to go to new homes. Saddle Pig birthed her piglets out in the brush in the lower end of the South Field and then brought them home on Monday when they were about three days old.

A little bit about the mother (sow) Saddle Pig: She is currently about 500 lbs and two and a quarter years old. Saddle pig is so named because she has a grouping of black marks on her skin along the saddle of her back. Her hairs are white and the coloration on her back is solely in her skin. She is a white Yorkshire pig (Large White) with a medium dish snout, long bodied and big hammed. Saddle is an excellent mother. She is truely an impressive looking pig who has thrown many excellent piglets. She, along with her sisters Little Pig (about 450 lbs) and Big Pig (about 600 lbs) are the founding sows in our herd.

The father of this litter is Archimedes. He is the third boar we have had here. He came from Archie’s farm a bit north of us. Archimedes is also a Yorkshire style white pig but has slightly forward pointing ears as opposed to the sows’ large upright ears. He is a real gentleman who is good with us, the sows and piglets who can often be found crawling over him or playing between his legs.

All of our pigs are out on pasture where they get a healthy diet of grasses, brush and other plants as well as grubs and earthworms. We also provide them with milk, cheese, cottage cheese and the occasional snack of bread when available. In the late summer and fall their diet is supplemented with garden gleanings, squashes, pumpkins, turnips and corn we grow on our farm. The pigs spend their winters in garden corrals, cleaning up the gardens, tilling and fertilizing them. During the winter the pigs have free access to hay which they eat to the tune of about four to ten pounds a day each depending on size.

We use no antibiotics feeds, hormones, pesticides, herbicides or other nasty chemicals on our farm. Parasites are controlled through intensive rotational grazing, resting the fields, natural controls like pine, garlic and hot peppers in the livestock diets. The pigs share their pasture with sheep, chickens, ducks, guineas and a goose who thinks he is a pig. All of the livestock and our children are guarded by our Guardian Obedience Dogs who have been working on our farm for four generations.

This is what works for us. Every farm will be different, adapting to the local conditions, soils, climates and other resources. Welcome to our home and our farm!

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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11 Responses to Welcome to Sugar Mountain Farm

  1. Hobble Cat says:

    Wow! Cool pigs! How much meat is there on a pig ready for slaughter and how much do they cost? Do you do the slaughtering and butchering?

  2. We can raise pigs to what ever size you need. For example, for a small pig roast you might want one that dresses out to be between 20 and 40 lbs. For larger pig roasts people do up to about 150 lbs which means a 200 lb pig (live weight). The rough estimate is there is about 60% to 70% food (meat and bones in cuts) on a pig. So a 225 lb pig at slaughter yields about 140 lbs of cuts for the freezer.

    We sell pigs at a variety of sizes all as live animals. You can currently get piglets for $65, whole pigs for $350 and half pigs for $225. The whole and half pig prices include delivery to the butcher. If you are buying piglets to raise yourself then be sure to specify if you would like a particular sex (males=boar, females=guilts) and if you would like the boars castrated (cut) thus making them barrows.

    We do not do slaughtering or butchering for customers but rather deliver to a professional licensed inspected butcher who has the facilities and equipment to do the job properly. The slaughtering and butchering cost is based on the hanging weight and typically comes to about $120 on top of the price of pig. You can also get the meat smoked and sliced for a small additional cost.

    Update: In 2015 we opened our own Vermont state inspected on-farm Butcher Shop here at Sugar Mountain Farm.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do these pigs make good pets?

  4. You can keep them as pets, some people do, but these are really farm pigs and they can grow to over 1,000 lbs and can live into their teens. Yorkshire (Large White) pigs can be quite friendly but they are big animals and they have teeth so be cautious with them. I would not suggest hand feeding them but rather drop the treats onto the ground for them to pickup so they don’t associate your fingers with food. The pigs enjoy back and side scratches as well as getting rubbed behind their ears.

    If you want to keep one as a pet I would suggest having a minimum of an acre of land for them to roam and graze upon. Food, water, a mud hole, a simple shelter with plenty of hay are their basic needs. They are social animals so they enjoy company of other pigs. The above holds whether you are keeping them for meat or as pets.

  5. Jessie says:

    How do you keep your pigs in the fields? I thought pigs were very good at getting out of fences and really great escape artists?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I would like to raise pigs for meat for my family. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while. Is it hard to do??? How much space do they need? Do they have to have pasture or can I just keep them in a pen? How bad do they smell??

  7. We use electric fencing, woven wire mesh fencing and simply stone walls along some sides of the fields but some sides are open. The pigs tend to stay in the fields rather than going into the woods which are along the ends and back of the fields. The pigs generally just keep to the fields as long as everything they want is there with them (food, water, shade, bath, friends, etc). Part of that is also the stone walls, part is the familiarity and part is safety. The woods contain coyotes, bear, etc.

    The dogs help. We have four adult livestock guardian dogs who protect the pigs and other livestock from predators. We also have four puppies in training – fourth generation LGD’s here on our farm. The dogs like the animals to stay home in the fields. Watching them work can be quite amazing. The 500 lb pigs very willingly obey the (relatively) small (90 lb) dogs. But then the pigs and sheep grew up with the dogs and have always been cared for them.

    Along the road side of the fields we have electric fencing and the pigs are trained to stay back from it. Eventually we plan to fence all around the fields both to protect the animals and to keep them from going on the occasional walkabouts down the logging roads from where they can get to the road. That’s on the “To-Do” list and you can imagine what the list looks like – Never a dull moment! :) If you have neighbors closer than we do (about 1 kilometer) then you would want to have better fencing. This is especially the case if you have heavy predator pressure and didn’t have guardian dogs to protect the livestock.

    Around gardens we have both strong fences of electric and woven wire with stone walls at the bottom to keep all of the livestock out of the during the growing season. These same fences keep the animals in the gardens during the winter when we use these spaces as corrals when the snows get deep.

  8. Oh, one additional type of fencing that I forgot to mention is poultry netting. This is a closely spaced soft netting of wires that is small enough to keep in chickens, and incidentally little piglets who are able to easly slip through most other types of fencing. Normally the piglets are quite content to stay with the sows but come weaning time we have to separate them from the sows so it becomes an issue. One way we’ve done it is to put the piglets into an area of pasture fenced off with poultry netting. Then after about a week to ten days the sows have dried up and the piglets can rejoin the herd.

  9. Cabarat C. says:

    What a lovely farm lovely family and lovely blog. You are doing things right! Keep it up!

  10. Sam says:

    Love your blog! Love your farm! Love how you share your knowledge! Keep doing all the good that you do!

  11. Great! That was really interesting. I would like to learn this interesting things which will help me in pig farming. I love the things you mentioned about their diet. Many people makes use of growth hormones to raise their pigs, I think they should be raised without antibiotics, and only medicated and supplemented when required for their health.

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