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May 14, 2017


Pastured Pork Pros and Cons

The Top 5 Things I Have Learned Since I’ve Started Homesteading


This is the World Organic News for the week ending 15th of May 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!

We begin this week with a post from the blog The Intrepid Homestead entitled: Pastured Pork Pros and Cons.

A whole new skill set is required for pastured anything. Pigs being pigs and innately intelligent bring their own issues.

The right breed is essential. Thankfully there were far sighted people who didn’t follow the Danish landrace highway to factory farmed pork. No these people kept alive the old breeds, not all of them but enough for pastured pork to be a thing. The old breeds like Gloucester Old Spot, Wessex Saddleback, Berkshire and Tamworth.

Three of the pros discussed are as follows:


Your pigs will taste better than the average pig (assuming you feed them good food). Remember, you are what you eat and you are what you eat eats!

They’ll clear your land of more or less all vegetation minus large trees.

They’ll fertilize your land and any land downstream from your land

End Quote

Taste in meat is personal thing. The point is all pigs were one raised on “mast” which I believe is counted in the Domesday Book. Mast refers to things like acorns, beechnuts, hazelnuts and so on. It is possible to raise pigs on these resources now if you have them or access to them. Back in episode 22 the interview episode, Llew from the North Island of New Zealand told us about her pigs and how they were supposed to clean up the Macadamia windfalls. Unfortunately her pigs were standing on their hind legs to eat the low hanging nuts straight from the tree. Pigs are useful, all useful things have their limits.

John Seymour, of The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency fame recommended pigs as having a plough at the front end and manure spreader at the back. To his  mind they were for cleaning land as well as fertilising. So putting them in after your potato harvest and they will clear any you missed. They’ll turn old pasture into a ploughed field as near as ready for sowing as you could ask.

There is also an established if small market for this type of pork which is good and means you shouldn’t have to eat nothing but pork three meals a day.

There is, therefore much to recommend pigs of pasture.

Now to the cons.

Longish Quote:

If you raise pigs in a field, forest, meadow, or pasture, that is where they’ll most likely be when you go to round them up for slaughter. This is NOT an easy task in many cases. Many YouTubers, movies, and bloggers have idyllic photos and videos of homesteaders and farmers frolicking with their pigs. That may be true for about 5 minutes, or on days when you and they have nowhere special to be. As soon as you roll up with a trailer and they see you salivating at the thought of eating them as ham and bacon – you’ll soon find out how belligerent a pig can be!

A pig is a like an impetuous 300lb bodybuilding two-year-old. Catching them requires work and ingenuity. It might also take some nerves. A caught pig makes a lot of unsettling noise. If you have to deliver a live animal to the butcher, it’s going to take some effort. On average, it takes us 70 minutes per pig to gather and place in a trailer. Oh, and that is for 4-5 strong and fit men.

End Quote

There are any number of stories from the Middle Ages of Royalty and Nobility being killed off early in boar hunts. Now a domesticated pig is not a wild boar but the point is well made. 300 pounds, or 140 kgs of annoyed pig can make quite a difficult proposition but others can do it so I guess we all can, if we want.

To quote again:

All in all, raising pigs has been a great experience – one that we intend to keep doing. However, it’s not without its challenges and knowing these beforehand can be helpful.

End Quote

And now from Little Redhead Homestead comes the post: The Top 5 Things I Have Learned Since I’ve Started Homesteading

Let’s get into them

1  It does NOT look like it does in the movies!!

2  All hands on deck!

3 Things really don’t go as planned

4 You will wake up sometimes and wonder what the point is.

5  It’s a slow process

I just have to quote from #1 It does NOT look like it does in the movies!!


..the ugly truth of homesteading isn’t meant for the movies.

It can be beautiful and fun and romantic and whatever else you fantasize about, but there is another side to every coin and it involves poop, blood, death, cold, heat, splinters, animal bites and scratches, loose animals, plant diseases, smells, rain, wind that blows your sheet off your clothesline and smothers nearby seedlings (it’s happened!), aphids, rabbits eating half the strawberry patch you’ve waited all winter for (happened last week), being too sick to feed yourself, but still having to go out and feed animals. I could go on, but you get the picture!

End Quote

Naturally, the real world has little to do with tinsel town but the just quoted words sums up life in more of its red in tooth and claw reality than a comfortable city life can ever be. Don’t forget the start of that quote: beautiful, fun and romantic. In my experience these are just magnified because of their juxtaposition with the other things going on.

All of that being so I can understand point #4 You will wake up sometimes and wonder what the point is.


When you were up all night with sick kids, you’re pregnant, you’re hungry and you’re too cold to get out of bed, you are going to start thinking of reasons to quit and be normal. After all, it’s not like you can vent to many people about how hard it is. It’s not something many seem to empathize with these days. Just try to remember that it’s all worth the trouble and that being normal is for schmucks!!

End Quote.

And there is one thing in this life of which I am certain: Anyone who listens to this podcast is definitely not a Schmuck!

And on that happy thought we will end this week’s episode.

If you’ve liked what you heard, please tell everyone you know any way you can! I’d also really appreciate a review on iTunes. This may or may not help others to find us but it gives this podcaster an enormous thrill! Thanks in advance!

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Thank you for listening and I'll be back in a week.



Pastured Pork Pros and Cons

The Top 5 Things I Have Learned Since I’ve Started Homesteading