Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thrift: Pig Goodies

Pig feed is a significant expense. Our pigs' diets consist primarily of whole corn and ground corn feed. The feed is specially mixed for us and sold to us for bulk pricing, which gives us superior feed at half the price of the feed store. We are able to save even more on feed by supplementing with food scraps that would normally be waste. I call them treats or goodies.

We keep an empty coffee can on the kitchen counter for all non-meat kitchen scraps. Lettuce and cabbage hearts, coffee grounds, tomato and sweet pepper tops, bread ends, egg shells, and all manner of other goodies are put aside for pig consumption. Sometimes we mix them into the slop. Other times, we just give the treats separate from regular feed.

When we got our first pigs a few years back, our partner was a man who, like Mr. Farmer, longed for farm life in spite of living so close to town. He was a youth director for a large catholic church. That youth group had dinners nearly every weekend, and so nearly every Monday or Tuesday he would clean out the fridge. He brought bags of salad and veggies. He brought stale bread. Sometimes he even brought not-so-fresh fruit. The piggies were happy.

He has since moved on, but it didn't take long to find a new benefactor. Many of our neighbors despise waste, and one in particular knows someone who works at the local grocery store. Bakery goods like doughnuts and loaves of bread are hauled to my home instead of put in the dumpster. Fruits and vegetables that would normally rot in a landfill are instead heartily enjoyed by my happy hoard. We have even been given some vegan meat and cheese substitutes that were not purchased by their expiration dates. Such spoiled pigs!

As a rule of thumb, pigs do not seem to enjoy things that grow under ground. This surprised us, since they enjoy digging so much. Just the same, many potatoes, onions, and carrots (and their peelings) have been left to rot on the ground when offered. Those scraps end up in the mulch pile instead.

If Young Master Farmer were to caption this photo, he would call it,
"Two Black Pigs Nomming."
Om Nom Nom

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