Rettland Farm

Rettland Farm

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hog Heaven

I'll let the pictures do most of the talking this time. I started grazing a group of pigs in a standing cornfield this week, and the results have been amazing, more than I ever expected. This exceedingly simple method of feeding these incredibly adaptable creatures has proven to be very rewarding, for both farmer and beast.

Do the pigs from which your pork is derived live this well?

Cornfield, Pre-Pig Pillage

The pigs, just tearing into a new strip of corn. A little spooky, if you didn't know the pigs...

The pigs arrange themselves by pecking order--the boss pigs get their choice of feeding locations. This guy must be low man on the totem pole.

The pigs grab the stalk, and snap it off to get the ear...

...Because the ears are the first to go, cob and all.

Berkshire X Tamworth Crossbred pigs. The mud is their cooling mechanism--I purposely provide wallows for them to keep themselves cool in. An overheated pig is a dead pig.

The corn leaves are also highly desirable to the pigs, as long as they are still green.

'Nuther pig.

If you look very closely, you can see a very thin orange wire horizontally across the picture--this is electrified, and it is usually all that's necessary to keep the pigs where they are supposed to be. (Unless it's Labor Day, at about 8:00 pm, and you are a half hour away at a picnic--yep, except for then...)

Finally, this is what the corn looks like after the pigs have had access to it for 24 hours. Maybe not quite as clean as harvesting with a machine, but orders of magnitude more efficient.
So, hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into a day in the life of a pig at Rettland Farm. If you ever need a little therapy, come on out and just sit and watch them in person--you'd be amazed at how good you feel afterwards.


  1. Here's what I want to know, Ramsburg: does it ever get heavy? You know, CONSTANTLY RAISING THE BAR. Does it ever get heavy?????? I cant' wait to check these pigs out!!!! Congrats. How do I spell innovation? R-A-M-S-B-U-R-G.

  2. Well, I'd like to claim to be the best thing to happen to the pig business since bacon was invented, but I can't.

    When I was in college, I distinctly remember coming home and excitedly explaining to my grandfather about everything I was learning about rotational grazing. After hearing all I had to say, my grandfather, with 70 years of farming under his belt, said "Beau, I hate to tell you this, but that ain't no new idea!" He went on to explain that pasturing animals had been the norm for most of his life, and that confinement production was a relatively new method. I was aware of neither of these facts at that time.

    Putting pigs in cornfields "ain't no new idea" either. But it sure isn't the norm, and I think that it should be.

    And yes, the taste of these critters should be tantric...You'll be the first to know, Little.