Monday, October 22, 2012

Feeding Pigs + a Giveaway!

My boyfriend, who recently said I could put him on my blog, happens to be the largest hog producer in western South Dakota. Now, you may be thinking that it probably doesn't take much to acquire that title in that part of the state, and you would be correct. But, he does markets several hundred hogs a year, and uses them as a means of diversifying his operation. He describes them as an FFA project gone mad.
They are not in a confined, super disinfected building, but are instead housed in an open-faced shed that provide shade and protection from the wind, with pens that run out into the sunshine. When sows get close to farrowing, they are put inside a specially designed building, into a farrowing crate, where they remain until their piglets are weaned. Then they return to the open faced shed pens until they farrow again.
I love them, in a "I do not deal with them on a daily basis, nor am I responsible for their continual care, feeding, or upkeep of their facilities" kind of way. He thought I was crazy for taking such a liking to them, then he met a few of my friends, who REALLY like hogs, and I'm sure he now wonders what is up with these Wyoming girls and their interest in loud, smelly pigs.

One thing about his operation is he has to feed his breeding sows every single day. Pigs mean chores, and lots of them. He, has calculated numerous rations based on what he grows on his farm/ranch, and what is most affordable and available to buy each year. We're talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 possible rations he has figured out, stowed in a 3-ring binder one of his tractors.
Every week or so he grinds another batch of feed for the breeding sows, adding various grains, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals to ensure their dietary and health needs are met. He puts the ground mixture into the above grain bins, which are miserable to operate alone (more on that later). Each morning he fills a specific number of buckets for each pen and farrowing crate, and each night he returns to feed the sows in farrowing crates a second time. 

His sows and boars are nice to be around. I know this because I cannot toss the grain 6 feet across the pen, and must climb over the fence and wade through the masses to deliver the feed to the various pans in each pen. He also currently waters each pen twice a day with a garden hose, as this setup is relatively new and the automatic waterers are not set up yet.

Here's what greats him most mornings. It's an eccentric crowd, but nevertheless happy to see him coming with his bucket of grain.
Now for the giveaway part! Enter your best caption for the above photo of the pigs and horse for a chance to win a photo cutting board or 11x14 Double H Photography print of your choice! My boyfriend and/or father, neither of whom spend a lot of time on the Internet, will be the judges. I will anonymously read them each entry, and they will select a winner. You must be a follower of my blog, and can enter in the comments section of this post. If you like my Double H Photography Facebook page, you can also enter there for a second chance to win. The contest will close at midnight on Nov. 1, and I'll get a winner selected as soon as possible after that date.
Good luck, can't wait to read what you come up with!


  1. I love these photos! As a hog producer, his setup is super interesting to me. How do they fair during the winters though being outside? I'm from Missouri and I can't imagine having hogs outside in our winters, and I'm sure yours are worse.

  2. This is what the Hamp hog is saying..."Hey, I hate to squeal on him...but, are ya lookin at the horse over here? He's stealing our grain."

    Oh ya, sounds like you have a keeper...Blessings from Wisconsin.

  3. Heather - this is how my family raised hogs!! All of our building were open on one side and we had a farrowing house.
    My uncles (the only independent hog producers left in our county) still do it this way!!! I was so excited to read this post!!! I'm gonna have to think of a caption!

  4. Here is my caption entry!

    The Hog Family Portrait - and wouldn't you know there's one in every family... (referring to the horses a$$) ;)

  5. "Girls, get your hooves up here with me! It's time for our morning calisthenics."