Hi. I have just discovered your site and am amazed by all the information I have already gleaned from it!
I live in Derbyshire, on the edge of the Peak District, with my husband and two girls - aged 8 and 10. Hubby and I are both 42.
We are never going to be self sufficient but are doing our bit. We currently have 4 pigs (2 x Tamworth, 1 Gloucs Old Spot Berks X and 1 Middle White). This is our first venture into pig keeping and we are loving it. We have had them since April and they will be going off to slaughter at the beginning of October, all being well. We are intending on keeping some of the meat for ourselves and selling the rest. We have enjoyed it so much that we are intending on having more next year, although we are thinking about getting them straight after these go rather than having a break over the winter as we originally planned.
We also have 4 chickens which are for eggs - they are the children's domain. They let them out and feed them and collect eggs. The adult part of the job is the locking them up again (kids in bed by the time the chickens need to go to bed) and the cleaning out. We are thinking of getting some more for meat but haven't decided about that yet!
We also have an allotment - this is our second full year of allotmenting and we love it. We had a very successful year last year and although this year hasn't been as good (I think we became complacent in our own success) we have had and still are reaping lots of rewards from our hard work. We are intending on buying a small polytunnel for next year to have in the garden so that we can start more things from seed and grow our own tomatoes and melons. I am also hoping to plant a few fruit trees at the top of the garden too.
Am looking forward to getting to know everyone on here.
and welcome , sounds as if you could tell us a thing or two ,you seem to have it sorted in the animal division please let us know the details of your adventures into a self suficient lifestyle , and if there is anything you need to know just shout ,someone usualy knows or finds out on here, we are an aproachable lot ,if a bit mad .MOS.xx
sit down with a cupa and the urge will subside
Hi and welcome to the site. I have the hens and ducks, and the polytunnel, but I am so so jealous of your pigs. I would love to keep them here, but my landlords are not so keen! I would be pleased to hear more about them as there is a slight possibility of going into the pig business with some others on a very good site. ( next best thing )
At the moment I have 8 hens, one cockerel and 8 chicks, two drakes and four Khaki Campbell ducks.
Looking forward to hearing more from you.
Old teachers never die, they just lose their class
Thank you for your welcome.
We have found the pigs so very easy. The hardest part has been dealing with Defra to get the holding number, etc in place. In fact, we still havent got all the relevant paperwork that we will need when they go to slaughter - I ring them on a weekly basis to chase them up.
We keep the pigs on some land that belongs to our friends - last year they brought some land on the opposite hillside to us (only a ten minute walk away) which they are building a house on and we have our four pigs along with their four (all Tamworths). They have also ventured into turkeys - they had six delivered at the weekend but I havent been over to see them yet. We are hoping to go into a joint bee venture with them next year.
We were lucky to be given two old pig arcs from a farmer who was retiring - they are very expensive to buy. We use one large one at the moment for the 8 pigs to live in and they all get on together well. They are contained only by electric fencing - which was rather nerve racking at first but they have never tried to escape - in fact, when we extended the fencing a couple of months ago it took them a good couple of hours to venture past where the fencing used to be.
They have lots of roots to be going on at and are doing a fantastic job of clearing the ground and we also feed them on pig nuts. You are not supposed to give them any food that has been in the kitchen because of cross contamination - which means no veg peelings, bread, cake, etc - which of course we don't . They get all the old plants from the allotment and I visit two fruit and veg wholesalers once a week to collect any old fruit and veg that they are throwing away. The pigs adore bananas!!!!
Next time we are intending on having between 12 and 20 pigs (between ourselves and our friends) and keeping two sows for breeding. We havent decided which breed yet - the taste test will help us make that decision.
Hi, Debih, and thank you very much for joining in. Sounds like you are miles ahead of most of us in the self-sufficiency stakes and top marks for your forward thinking plans for more pigs and bees. We love our bees. Can be a palaver and we seem to lose at least one colony every winter.
How big is your plot around the house? Or do you keep the pigs elsewhere? I suppose DEFRA (UK Dept for Agriculture) control is a necessary evil in this day and age. It's amazing to read your account of the level of bureaucracy involved to keep just four pigs.
Our local organic butcher confirmed that free range pork (happy pigs as we call them) is the most striking improvement in flavour of all free range meat compared with non-free-range. It's strange to think that when I was growing up, all our meat was free range.
Looking forward to reading more from you. As TA said, the Peak District is a gorgeous part of the world, even when it is deep under snow.
Never knowingly underfed
Hi Debbie, Welcome! I used to live in Derbyshire in Barlow but have moved around a bit in the last 8 years but now live in Latvia. We have always tried to grow our own veg wherever we are and always found the first year is good and the second not so good but if you add all that lovely chicken poo to the compost heap you will have lots of great compost for the garden and that will improve it no end. We are hoping to have bees next year and chickens too. Building arks for the chickens will be a must as I saw a Marsh Harrier flying over our land today and our neighbour said an eagle took one of her chickens the other day. Now pigs! Hmm! Worth a thought but we have the problem of the wild kind and apparently amorous wild pigs and domesticated pigs don't make for a good combination, wire fencing or no wire fencing - well so I'm told.
hello Debih, thanks for joining in. Please do keep us posted with your adventures, especially when you start bee keeping. Hope your allotment does better next year " I'm sure there are umpteen folks here who will be willing to offer advice, should you want it*
*then again, maybe even if you don't really want it too 🙂
Life is uncertain ………… eat dessert first!
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