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Mo's Diary
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debbie
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Joined: 17 Feb 2007
Posts: 5708


Location: exmoor

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

we tag one ear. The slap markers look a bit brutal to me and with black pigs you cannot see the slap mark clearly until the pig is dressed.  Always get our carcasses back split including the heads - would recognise my pigs without the ear tag anyway - we are just about the only ones that do berkshires around here and the abattoir is so small - the only kill about 40 pigs a week - that its not a problem really.  Like you Mo, we tag the morning they are loads for the abattoir.  have to dsaythe new tags are better than the brass ritchie tags simply because they seem to be sharper.
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Butchery, pig processing, smallholding and pig keeping courses just for you.  nose to tail eating is our thing.
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desperatedan



Joined: 05 Oct 2008
Posts: 450


Location: Derbyshire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slap marks are not as brutal as they look ,quick and easy and less stress on the pig and in my opinion than tagging.a quick slap on the shoulders as the are walking along to be loaded ,no need to hold or restrain the pig .the down side is i would not use on pigs  under 30 kg.
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Mo



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 3273


Location: Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first lot we tagged, Steve went in armed to the teeth - with a dustbin lid of all things.  The pigs never flinched.


http://asmallholding.blogspot.co....and-trailers-and-final-trips.html

Thanks Debbie, at least we now know the new ones are better  
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Mo



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 3273


Location: Cumbria

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cock-a-doodle-doo!
My dame has lost her shoe;
My master's lost his fiddle stick,
And knows not what to do.



Our cockerel has finally found his voice. It is not quite a full-blown crow yet, but it is recognisable. He takes a small, practice crow first as if he is clearing his throat then goes at it full belt.
He is also getting some fancy tail feathers to shake, but you can't see them very well here.

The chicks are 18 weeks old now and approaching sexual maturity. The white Light Sussex is the cockerel and can be called a rooster when he becomes sexually mature. The brown Welsummer is a pullet, or female chicken, and she should start laying eggs soon. She won't be a hen until she's a year old.
To me, they're both still my "likkle chicks".
 
The pups are 4 months old and growing at an alarming rate. As you can see, we have spared no expense on toys for them. An old plant pot can be great fun.

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12Bore



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
Posts: 8153


Location: Paddling in the Mersey

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The pups look great!
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bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32866


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was about to say that.
Unlike most Labradors, they look quite wise in that photo. I like the colour of the yellow labrador, I don't like the really light coloured ones.
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kaz
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Joined: 09 Feb 2007
Posts: 13483


Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the pups that make me smile
Tilly (the lurcher with no brain) used to play with a flower pot until she ran into a sharp bush when she was carrying it so that it completely obscured her vision
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sod
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Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: Masterton New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are tops bet they get on great together
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Mo



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
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Location: Cumbria

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have passed your compliments on to the pups - they want to know if any of you have food?  

Molly most definately does not look wise in real life, she'e quite comical, bless her.
Amber is quite a deep gold, with quite a bit of variation.

They fight like sisters then cuddle up in bed together.
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sod
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Location: Masterton New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sound just like sisters    
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Mo



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
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Location: Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is our second year of butchering our own pigs and this year we had a much better plan.


[British Lop]

Last year, we knew what we wanted to do with the meat but we each butchered a side of pig at the same time and things did get a bit fraught.

This year we decided to deal with one side at a time between us and things went much more smoothly. Added to which, we now have two puppies in the household and we needed to clear down to let them out from time to time during the day.

Jilly has never shown any interest whatsoever in our butchering activities, the only thing that gets her off the sofa is sausage making because she knows that samples will be fried off at regular stages.
Witness two puppies entering the kitchen and searching in bewilderment for the meat they were sure we had in here. Then watch those same two go outside and try to figure out why the pick-up suddenly smells so good.

Our carcasses come home in the pick-up on a clean sheet with a tarpaulin underneath. We create a stash of ice by filling empty plastic milk bottles with water and freezing them and we place these in the back of the pick-up to keep the carcasses cool. Then, we break down each side of pork by removing the legs and shoulders, putting the smaller, more manageable parts in fridges and freezers until we can work on them. Popping large pieces of pork into the freezer is ok, they are not going to freeze, just keep cool until we process them further.

We also made sure that our cures were ready before we started cutting. It is especially useful to have a wet cure ready so that joints can be dropped into the cure as the cutting progresses.

Rather than bore you with a list of everything we have, like we did last year, I'll just give you the highlights.

We used a leg from the Middle White and one from an Oxford Sandy and Black to make air dried ham.
We have four gammons and two picnic hams that went into a wet cure, along with all of the hocks.
We made back bacon from one side of British Lop, one side of Middle White and one side of Oxford Sandy and Black, and we made streaky bacon from one side of British Lop.
Four of the tenderloins were used to make Lonzino.

We made four salamis and six chorizos from the Middle White and British Lop meat and finally, we processed 50lb of pork into sausages. That's a lot of sausages, and that was our plan. As someone we know says "You can never have too many sausages!"
We'll tell you more about what flavourings we gave our sausages in another post.

Of course, we also have joints and ribs and etc. not to mention the wonderful offal and back fat.

Things went better this year, which is as it should be because we are still learning.
We are very happy with the meat that this year's pigs have provided us with.
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Mo



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 3273


Location: Cumbria

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -
November!      
[Thomas Hood]

No feathers!

Mother Nature can be cruel at times and, as the cold November winds started to blow and we had the first frosts, she chose to let one of our hens go into full moult.

Here she is at the beginning of her moult when she still had some dignity, just her back feathers had gone but she quickly came to resemble a plucked chicken.



I have watched her closely but whilst the other hens give her a peck in passing, they have pretty much left her alone.

Thankfully, this is the first chicken we have had that has shown some sense. For the past few days she has stayed in the chicken shed; I have put food and water in there for her and she sleeps in the nest box.

The first morning I noticed she was doing this was when all of the hens came out of the pophole and she went around the back of the shed and back into the pophole once the others had vacated the premises.

It is all natural, of course, and hens usually moult when their feathers have become a bit old and tatty. Feathers don't last forever and need to be replaced. But a moult can happen at any time if the bird is stressed.
Some of the others have had partial moults throughout late summer and autumn, mainly replacing their breast feathers. At one point we had about five hens with no neck feathers, making them look as if someone had tried to wring their necks. I had to giggle because they looked like turkeys.

Happily, this hens feathers are starting to grow back but I imagine that, as well as being a bit chilly,  it is also pretty painful for her to be around the other hens; snuggling up at night will put pressure on the new quills that are slowly starting to sprout feathers. Still, come deep winter she will be fluffy and plump and well protected.

Apparently, such a quick moult indicates that she is a good layer and it is common amongst hybrid birds. I have no idea of the science, but the moult is linked to how well the bird lays. I can't say if this holds true because this is the first hen I have seen go into full moult so quickly, and we have always had hybrids until now.
This information also leaves me wondering when our Light Sussex cockerel will go into moult. All should be revealed over the coming year.
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Mo



Joined: 10 Aug 2010
Posts: 3273


Location: Cumbria

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My! How he has grown!

At hatching in May 2012...



and now...


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bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32866


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He's come out very well marked Mo.
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Digindeep



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
Posts: 7276


Location: Staffordshire

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beatiful markings  


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