A gilt is a female pig who has not yet had a baby (like a heifer in the cow world). Tina is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a male suitor and will be bred within the month. Pig gestation is three months, three weeks, three days. When Tina has her babies (which will be very, very cute), she will be called a sow which is the name for a mother pig. We have selected Tina to be breeding stock because she has a very sweet temperament (she rolls over to have her belly scratched), she is a mix of two heritage breeds that produce flavorful, well marbled meat (the fat is throughout the meat, not just on the outside of the pig, as in conventional pork), and she has 14 teats (pig breasts), which is a couple more than the average pig has and will enable her to nurse more piglets. Tina will be getting a best friend (or a few) soon. The female pigs will keep each other company while they are separated from the herd raising their babies.
Until now we have been buying in piglets from other farms. While this has worked well for us, because we haven't been set-up for farrowing, it isn't ideal. One of our goals is to have our farm be Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), and in order to get this accreditation every farm that we source piglets from also needs to be AWA. While we don't buy in piglets from sketchy farms, most farms don't go to the trouble of becoming AWA, because it is a lengthy process. Farrowing our own piglets will help us become Animal Welfare Approved, which is important to us.
Photos of adorable piglets to come.
Learn more about Animal Welfare Approved at:
Photo of Tina by my wonderful sister-in-law, Tracy Churchman. Check out her blog at: