Literally Bacon & Eggs...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We all like it for breakfast don't we ~ the iconic bacon & eggs!
Here at Sunnyside we have it as a treat on a Saturday morning & it's a confirmed favourite!  

But lately we've been having a problem around here that seems to put this breakfast pleasure onto another level... well I'd better go back to the beginning...

Last year was a wonderful growing time for my 'Chook Nook'.  I'd generally had a pretty steady mid-teen number of hens with one ugly rooster ( Zai's silky) strutting around as 'lord of the henhouse'.  Then a friend from church decided to close down his free-range egg farm & was selling his laying hens really cheaply... so Dave decided to purchase 20!  I was just so excited to have such a wonderfully stocked coop & we were delighting in numerous eggs &  the ability of keeping precious friend well supplied as well!

As you know, we free-range our hens.  That's right ~ we just open the door of the morning & close it at night & they spend the day delighting in finding tasty, nutritious morsels amongst the pastures of the farmyard ( oh, yeah & my garden, but that's another story...).  
We began to notice that the number of hens was dwindling.  Slowly & surely we were loosing hens.  It wasn't very many at a time so we noted it & kept our eyes out for foxes that enjoy absconding with random members of the fowl community never to be seen again.  It seemed that no matter what we did other than locking them in permanently ( which forfeits the purpose of happy hens which lay nutritious, delicious eggs) we couldn't stop this decline in numbers.  

Our pigs were also delighting in the free range life & while we had them in the front paddock all was fine, but then we separated the piglets from their parents & then the parents decided to take a well-earned vacation &  visit a neighbour for an extended stay.  Once one particular piglet found he could handle the shock of the electric fence (he must have had his brain fried early on as it stops the other piglets in their tracks) he frequently squeezed his ever-growing body under the fences & extended his roaming territory to wherever he pleased which included all over the farmyard.  

As our chicken numbers dwindled, our piglet kept growing & we never, ever put two & two together until one fateful night.  
Dave went down to lock up the chickens as is part of the summer evening routine at Sunnyside  when he found to his horror this escapee piglet feasting on a freshly killed chicken dinner!

(We have been so very strict with our pig's diet always making sure any kitchen scraps given to them were devoid of meats & oils & always ensuring they had a good supply of grain in addition to anything they grazed on.  So you can imagine how we felt to know that he was eating not only our egg suppliers, but meat as well.)

These are obviously not the escapee piglet & yes, this is what pigs do to a pigpen ~ very quickly!
Unfortunately no matter what we did that rascally piglet continued to get out of the enclosures we would put him in ( & yes, we had to put the pigs into a smaller area this summer as we needed the feed for the sheep due to a severe lack of water & pasture all over the farm).    It seems he also introduced his family to the delight of 'poulet' as should any chicken meander into the pigs pens they were swiftly consumed.  

So we are counting down the days until the end of this month when the butcher comes & those naughty piglets become our breakfast ( & dinner)....Chicken flavoured pork anyone???  And then & only then will I restock my very small chicken flock to hopefully ensure at least some eggs come spring!

Meanwhile we are expecting another batch of piglets any day ( Delores is waiting in the farrowing area as we speak).  I have been inspecting another shed that will be alright as either a pig pen or a chicken coop with only a few minor repairs, but I'm sure in another month or so once the grass has regenerated itself the pig family will be able to range further afield (within the confines of a good fence line) & won't enjoy the sport of chicken catching quite as much.
Image Source: HERE
Life on a farm....never, ever dull that's for sure!!!

Who knew ~ bacon & eggs before the bacon & eggs...hmmmm...
(And after talking to more experienced pig farmers apparently this is not unusual)

Hope this hasn't put you off your breakfast!

Have fun

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monday's homestead barn hop
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