Scratch n sniff

I used to use phrases such as Eat like a hog, This place looks and smells like a pigsty, and What a hog. Having raised hogs I now take exception to such sayings, because they are untrue; at the very least, the equation of hogs with filth is unfair. The animals shown below were born in early February and arrived at the farm in the middle of March; they will be moved to pasture shortly. The 15 X 15′ pen is in the undercroft of the barn – does it look dirty to you? Do the hogs look dirty? These are very clean animals indeed because hogs are in fact quite fastidious, if given the chance.

Let’s be plain, animals make mess … you and I make mess, and messes need to be dealt with (let us all thank those who, over the millenia, devised technologies which lead to the flush toilet). If you don’t clean animal pens regularly, or you choose to allow manure to accumulate – you’re going to have a nasty, smelly, mess on your hands. If given the opportunity, and a large enough pen, pigs will select and use a particular area of that space as a latrine. It is a simple matter to scoop the latrine once or twice each day and doing so renders the pen clean and relatively oder free. Raising animals on a small scale allows one to keep up. CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations, which may house as many as 2500 hogs in a single structure) are  notorious for their stench and for emitting noxious gasses including hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and methane. Small, sustainable, hog operations make good sense. Here’s to a new view on the humane care of hogs and of porcine hygiene. As a final note, well composted hog manure makes exceptionally rich fertilizer for the garden.

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