7 Important Grilling Tips Big John and I have 7 very important grilling tips to
Winter Farrowing at Circle B Ranch
When we first started our farm, our mission was to keep as close to nature as possible; to let our heritage hogs do what nature intended! Here at Circle B Ranch we farrow all year long because of that we do not control when a sow decides to give birth. Tuesday night it was 15 degrees and one of our Red Wattle sow had 10 piglets, all healthy and squirming like a box of worms! It was her first time being bred with a Berkshire boar and with 10 piglets both boar and sow did a great job ! All of our sow have the choice of nesting in the woods or using a farrowing hut to have their piglets. Having the choice eliminates a lot of stress for the sow and it is about a 50/50 chance where they will farrow. Once the sow comes off the nest to feed, we will move the litter to a hut, which is the second or third day. This is done for ease of collecting the piglets for their health assessment and sexing. After a week the piglets become very wary, very speedy and can avoid capture by scattering and hiding under leaves. Better to get them acclimated to a hut before that happens.
We do not provide heated barns or heat lamps, so the piglets depend on the sow and each other for warmth. This ensures that the sow is doing a good job and that we have hardy stock! The use of farrowing huts originated in Europe and have gained popularity through out the United States. We insulated ours so they keep pigs warm in winter and cool in the summer. They also have an inspection hatch that allows us access and assess the sow and piglets and is used t0 vent off heat in the summer. Even on these frigid days the huts are comfortable and warm due to the sow’s body heat. For example a couple of days ago it was 4 degrees at night and the hut was toasty warm with all piglets thriving. Its common sense, a barn is hard to heat and less efficient, especially for only a few hogs; heat lamps and space heaters just don’t work in a barn. The little farrow hut is heated off of the sow’s body heat and stays warm even when she goes to feed. As you can see the sow built a tight nest in the hut to keep the piglets from wandering away from the heat of her body and to keep them tightly nested when she leaves to feed.
We firmly believe that pork quality depends on genetics, fresh water and feed, and an environment as close to nature as possible. A hardy stock left to do what hogs do naturally produces a healthy hardy animal which translates into the most nutritious and best tasting product for our customers.
“You are what you eat”!