Mark to Market – End of Runt Tail

Today we took Mark to market. He was a runt from one of last February’s litters and has been mentioned here and there on the blog. This was his first and last car ride.

People often ask if a runt would stay small enough to make a good pet. Maybe, if you consider 200 to 300 lbs small. You can’t count on them staying that way though and pigs grow to 700, 800 and even 1,500 lbs. Mark was a year old and still growing. Using the tape method I estimated is weight around 220 lbs. He certainly did grow more slowly than his litter mates, some of whom are now 350 lb sows like his sister Sharley, but eventually he did make it to market weight.

On a factory farm or feedlot they would have culled him very early – this is the source of many piglets for sale at auction – because he would not have been profitable where the feed is all of the commercial variety. Time is money and feed costs. Because our pigs are out on pasture this isn’t such a big issue and Mark got the time he needed to grow to size. One of the little differences between a farm and a factory. In the end he is a pork chop but the path to get there was very different and I like to think he was happier.

Outdoors: 20°F/-3°F Sunny blue skies
Farm House: 64°F/47°F four logs
Tiny Cottage: 50°F/43°F no work – market day

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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2 Responses to Mark to Market – End of Runt Tail

  1. Walter –
    How did you ever get him into the back of a car?
    When our pigs go to auction it’s all we can do to get them on the truck – and that’s with THEM following the feed bucket!

    I have no doubt Mark had a good life.
    In a world of Factory Farms that’s some pretty good Pig Karma.
    Granny Miller

  2. We built a ramp of pallets covered with a piece of plywood (the back door of the box), put hay in the back of the van in the pig transport box and hay on the pallets and then led the pig to the van using bread and using a hinged pair of pieces of plywood behind to prevent back tracking. It went fairly smooth. Sorting and loading is our weakest link and something we’re pondering how to improve. I have designs but it is winter and probably won’t build permanent sorting/loading spaces until warm weather.

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