Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Are You My Mother?

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Are You My Mother?

On my rounds the other morning I glanced in one of the stalls and had to rub my eyes and look again!

There perched on top a baby Tamworth pig was one of our 4 day old Freedom Ranger chicks.

How on earth it got all the way from the brooder to the front of the barn where some of our gilts are with their babies is a mystery to me.


I wanted so bad to get the picture a bit later of the baby chick sitting on mommas side while the pigs nursed. But by the time I got the camera it had hopped off.


Just another day here at Spring Hill Farms!

Until next time...

 PS- To learn more about our pastured poultry go here 


 

 
 

Most Tamworth Sows are Great Mothers

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Tamworth Sow and Piglets
Tamworth pigs are the breed I decided to raise for several reasons. One, they have big litters.

They also are typically good mothers.

We farrow our sows outside in the warm months and many times the sow just goes into the brush and builds a nest.


In the winter we use huts or bring them into the barn and put them into a 12 x 12 stall. Contrary to what you may have heard or read, not all Tamworth swine are great mothers. Most of them are, but we breed for sows that will farrow outside with out assistance.

I've had a few since we started breeding Tamworth's that weren't very good mothers. I like a sow that takes her time laying down and "talks" to her pigs as she does to let them know "get out of the way."

If they hear a pig squeal they move or jump up whichever the situation calls for.

I need low maintenance hogs. The Tamworth sows we have are very capable of having their babies and caring for them just like nature intended!


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The Story of Junior: The Kidnapped Pig

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Junior cuddling his foster mom
I was digging through some photos today and came across Junior. Junior was orphaned in the winter of 2006. Actually my wife was outside and heard a piglet squealing as if in distress.

She went to investigate and discovered this little guy had somehow climbed out of the farrowing hut. He couldn't get back in to join all his brothers and sisters not to mention mama who had his food!

Of course the sow was distraught because he was screaming so the Mrs. was afraid to get in the pen and help the poor chap.

In the midst of all the commotion, the sow came tearing out and stepped on Junior's head as he was attempting to climb back in the hut.  The only thing that saved him was the ground was soft enough to cushion the weight of the sow.

Now we had two mom's worked up into a frenzy. The Mrs. weighs a buck ten soaking wet but you get her wound up like that and she is fearless. She sprang into action and attacked the mama sow and grabbed the pig, jumped out of the pen, and dashed for the house.

I wasn't here but it had to look like a UFC heavy weight verses light weight match.

So I guess that means Junior was kidnapped technically. Or would it be pignapped?

Anyway the rescuer, or pignapper however you see it, takes Junior inside to examine his wound.  The situation looked grave. He had a huge lump on the top of his head and was having trouble with his motor functions.

New mama finds a baby bottle and tries to feed him. She finally lays him in a box wrapped in a warm towel.

When I arrive home of course mom and both boys are trying to tell the story all at once. I look at the piglet and after careful study announce that he "wouldn't make it through the night."

We went to bed that night with the somber feeling of having to deal with a dead Junior in the morning.

I was up first the next morning and to my surprise not only was Junior alive he was attempting to climb out of the box!

The moment he realized I was there he started squealing. I grabbed a baby bottle as the rest of the family piled out of bed to see Junior.

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Taking a nap
After a while with everyone of us trying to get him to take the bottle, mom got him settled in with at least a half full tummy. I was off to work and mom was in charge.

Over the next few days Junior became pretty lively and mom was making comments about how cute he was and how could we ever let him outside at that young of an age. This was coming from someone who lets no animals in her house PERIOD.

Junior seemed to figure out mom had a soft spot for him because he was doing his best to be her favorite child. He began following her around the house and begging her to sit down on the floor so he could climb into her lap.

He would lay on a stuffed animal and sleep by the wood stove til it was time to eat.

I reminded the Mrs. he could not stay in the house and she knew it was true so she began bracing herself for the inevitable.

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Favorite stuffed animal

Lucky for her Junior was becoming a spoiled brat. He was demanding full time attention and rooting his feed pan from one corner of the back porch to the other. Of course this meant feed was getting everywhere and I admit I didn't do much to remedy the situation. 

My wife has booted humans from her house for failing to take their shoes off so I knew Junior was on thin ice!

Finally he was eating feed like mad and definitely well enough to head back out to the barn. I slipped him out when the Mrs. was gone for a few hours and even though she was sad she new it was for the best.

Junior never forgot his foster mother. Anytime she would get near the pasture he would come a running. He knew her voice the moment he heard it.

Junior had a destiny though and it wasn't to be in the pasture indefinitely.

So one fine day in June of that year Junior was the guest of honor at a hog roast. And so it is... the life of a pig and a farmer's wife.

Until next time...
 
 

Getting Ready for New Pigs

If I figured right we'll have piglets by the middle of March. Randy and I have been working to get the new barn ready inside for the sows to be brought in.

I'm really hoping for nice size litters. Seems like every year I end up needing more pigs than I have. I hate turning customers away! 

 My average litter size is ten pigs per sow with one having at least twelve every time. It could drop off anytime though, since as pigs get older they tend to have smaller litters. 

She is an excellent mother though and even if she does "slow down" a bit I'll keep her. I tend to keep sows until they pretty much don't get pregnant anymore. A lot of your good genetics are in those old sows.

 My oldest sow is "Droopy." She was nickmamed this as a small feeder pig because her ears drooped forward which really is not a good trait for Tamworth pigs. She is the sow you see on the top of my web page, www.springhillfarms.us.

She may spend all her days here at the farm and be laid to rest down in the bottom under a tree somewhere.

We've never done anything like that, but Ol' Droopy is a special pig.

I'll be sure and post some pictures of these new litters.

 

Until next time....

 


 
 

New Building Framed Up

Our new building is framed up and ready for metal. We'll use this to farrow pigs in the winter and brood chicks when pigs are out on pasture.

 

I try to plan buildings for multiple use. For the first several years the only building we had was a yard barn. As we have grown we have put up some barns for storage and shelter. The pigs are normally in huts that we keep straw in for warmth.

 Tamworth pigs are known for there ability to with stand cold temps but they still need something to protect then from the wind and wetness of Winter and Spring.

 

I'll put the sows in this about a week or so before they pig so they can get used to it and prepare for the little ones.

 

New Building
 

 Here's a shot of the pole building we put up last year. I hope to use it for farm tours etc.

 

Pole Building

Well just a peek at what we're doing.

 

Until next time....

 
 
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