May 9, 2016
Of Decisions, Priorities, and Pigs
One of the lessons learned from homesteading with animals is to not get too attached to them. For one thing we just don't have the room to keep them all, and for another, they die. We've sold and traded plenty and had losses from diseases, accidents, predators, and old age. In the beginning it was hard not to be in love with having critters, if not the critters themselves. Even so we've known from the beginning that we have to love the land more. As the humans on the place, it's our job to serve both livestock and land and keep a balance that will meet the needs of both.
The goat barn represents a huge project, because it's means more than just building a building. It means we have to analyze it how it fits into the whole of the homestead. The goats, pasture, pasture rotation, field crops, the other critters, browse and forage areas, as well as the barn are part of the big picture. That meant rethinking fence lines, gates, traffic flow, how we're currently using our fenced areas, and future goals. To have working room to construct the barn we have to re-do all that temporarily, shuffle some critters around, and then put it back together in a new pattern suited to the new set-up. We also need to do fence repair from those fallen trees and general wear-and-tear.
We got out our Master Plan in order to discuss and visualize options. Because of the fencing situation, we couldn't see any way around confining the pigs while construction and fence rebuilding were going on, but we really didn't want to do that. In the end we decided it would be best to sell the pigs. I had just finished selling Polly's nine piglets, the freezer was full of pork, and if we could sell Waldo and Polly as a pair, we could replace them later when everything was back in order.
I priced them well and by the end of the day they were on their way to a new home. Our partnership with them was a good one and we learned a lot (which I'll share in an upcoming post.)
It seems strange not to have pig chores and hear pig grunts in the background all day long, but it was the best decision for them and us for the time being.