Posted on | June 9, 2013 | 1 Comment
It’s the little things that you appreciate about heritage breeds.
Like a piglet with enough hair to keep herself warm in the winter with just a doghouse and a pile of straw.
Instead of a piglet that needs a heat lamp and some coddling.
A pig that makes use of the food available.
Versus a pig that keeps the feed store in business.
But sometimes it’s not the practical reasons that make you really admire the heritage breeds. Sometimes it’s the thing that makes you laugh out loud. The thing that gives your heart the warm fuzzies. The thing that makes you smile every time your American guinea pig strolls past.
You see, Papa Noel, came to us with his tail clipped.
After all, commercial breeds of pigs are usually penned together in large numbers and small lots and they often bite each other’s tails. So the breeders cut the tails to prevent injuries. Which meant our first experience raising a pig was missing something. A little something. A little something that I didn’t even realize was so important or enjoyable until I was down with the pigs and suddenly noticed it.
That’s right, Pushy and Penny are grown enough now that they have developed curly tails.
….delightful curly tails.
Oh, I’m pretty sure I know how it happened. Once the pigs finished tilling the garden, they were moved to the pond. The dirty, dried up, desolate pond that they have been charged with sealing so that it can recover.
Since the rich forage that they had in the garden is no longer available, we’ve been feeding them with farm scraps. You know what I mean—the extras, the cast offs, the garbage of the farm. Like the last of the frozen squash and zucchini that we don’t need now that we’ve got fresh veggies coming out of the garden.
Creamy raw goat milk and free range eggs from the farm fridge that is overflowing with the abundance from the hens and goats.
The carcasses of older free range ducks from several years ago. We’ve been saving them to cut off the breast meat as the rest was probably too tough to eat.
But we don’t need them now that we’ve got fresh young duck breast on the ground.
And to top all that off, the pigs get the bread heels and the extra salad greens, too.
I believe those kind of scraps are what they mean when they say you’re eating high on the hog. I think. Probably. Maybe.
And if that kind of diet isn’t enough to put the curl in your pig’s tail, then I don’t know what is.
But I do know that pigs with curly tails are, well,…pretty terrific.