We got our first group of guilts and barrows in the spring of 2015. We fatten the barrows and bred the guilts. Both of Jake’s Grandparents raised pigs, however, he did not grow up around pigs on his parent’s farm. Jake has always been fond of pigs starting with his first pet pig when he was eight. This made choosing pigs to diversify our farm operation a no brainer.
In 2021 we changed our operation from a farrow-to-finish operation to just finishing pigs. Although we enjoyed working with the sows and having baby pigs running around, they were a large time commitment. Now that we have two young kids of our own to raise we decided buying feeder pigs and finishing them would free up some time for family duties. We will have Hereford sows back on the farm some day when the kids are old enough to help with chores and taking care of piglets.
We have been fortune to be able to purchase feeder pigs from a organic farmer in western Iowa. They are about 6-7 weeks old when we get them and go right into our “make shift” finishing pens. Jake was able to convert the old government grain bins on the farm into pig finishing units with outdoor padocks. The pigs are able to get plenty of fresh air and have mud to roll around in as they grow. It takes approximate 6 months for the pigs to get to mature harvest size. Our pigs are fed an all vegetarian diet that consist of Non-GMO corn that we grow, soybean meal and supplemental minerals/vitamins that are purchased. Our pigs also NEVER received hormones or growth promoting antibiotics. We are learning a lot about raising pigs, but in general they do a pretty good job of taking care of themselves
We sell our pork by the whole or half. The more you buy the more savings you get.
Bigelow Family Farm’s traditionally raised pork is close to the same price as purchasing the same “non-verified” pork cuts from the super market. Table 2 shows the various pork cuts received from a hog, the pounds of each cut, and the total cost (Bigelow Family Farms + Butcher cost) when purchasing a 172 lb dressed weight pig. The table also shows the price if you were to purchase the same weight of each cut at the local super market. Although the difference in price is negligible, what you will be getting is top quality tasting pork that is traditionally raised without hormones and growth promoting antibiotics.