This is going to be the start of a new series- because reading is FUNdamental and I really like to share my love of it and the books that inspire or teach me. Also I was that kid in grade school that handed in 10 page book reviews, so it kinda makes sense that this would be a thing on this site.
After thorough and lengthy discussion between MrGillis and I, we have decided to raise our own meat pigs. This is for many different reasons, all of which I discussed in this previous post.
I have to admit, I picked this book up randomly from a TSC book bin on sale for $8 because the tagline lassoed me in- MrGillis and I have wanted to raise meat animals for years because we believe that the industrial meat industry is problematic for many reasons.
This book drew me in right from the very beginning by explaining how our relationship with these amazing animals started. It gave a fantastic historical background – to reveal to much would be a disservice to you. Just trust me when I say that the first chapter really gave me keen insight as to why pigs are such interesting creatures, and its not just bacon.
After that the author gets into the nitty gritty of it, how to raise meat hogs. She covers it all – shelter, catching a loose pig, giving shots, manure management, fencing, breeds, how to breed, when to slaughter, processing, meat cuts, etc.
I’d say my favorite part of the book was the pig breed section – wonderful photos and descriptions of several heritage breeds ranging from old dot to mangalica(the super cute curly haired hogs of spain).
It was also quite the education to finally understand which cuts of meat came from which parts of the pig. She explains everything from hanging weight vs cut weight all the way back to how to decide how many hogs to raise to get how much meat.
She spends time explaining how to be a good pig keeper without getting to attached- the older and heavier a pig, the more fat you’re going to end up in the end product. We decided to take her advice and only keep them for 6 months in order to have lean meat and also not deal with overwintering them in our rather harsh climate. Also, not going to lie, I am a teensy bit afraid that I will get attached to the little porkers- I have ALWAYS liked pigs because of their intelligent eyes, soft oinking and generally happy dispositions.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is thinking about raising their own meat pigs. I feel that it was educational, fair, and also easy to read. For some, this kind of subject matter can be either dry or gross, but the author presented the information in a way that I literally could not stop reading.
Until next time, have a wicked good day.