Monday, 5 October 2015

The Pigs with No Name

We drove to Saddleworth to buy our pigs last Sunday. Peggy and John Stewart have a wonderful free-range piggery that I've mentioned in a previous post.
We buy our pigs in October every year and they are ready for butchering approximately five or six months later. They don't get named because they're destined for the table.
These little ones have settled in well. For the first six days I fed them commercially made "Pig Weaner Pellets" and introduced small amounts of scraps gradually over the past week.
From today they are completely off the pellets and eating only scraps which we collect from two restaurants in the town, 2 kms away. They also get weeds and excess vegetables from the garden and later in the season they will eat lots of fruit that I collect from under the trees in the orchard.
During this past week they have also been introduced gradually to the yogurt and whey that I make in buckets from our excess milk.
A quick refresh about the animal yogurt that I make.
If you have excess milk it is tempting to feed it to the chooks and other animals, ie pigs, BUT do be very careful feeding milk to animals. 
I have known people who have killed their pigs and chooks by feeding them milk.
** Some animals can adapt to milk in their diet, but it should be introduced slowly and carefully.**
As we know, milk is difficult to digest for some people, but fermented milk products are tolerated quite well.
Animals are the same.
It may seem like a lot of bother to make yogurt for your pigs and chooks, but it's really very easy, provided you have access to lots of free or low cost milk.
Put milk into a bucket with a fitting lid and place it where it will get lots of sunlight.
Stir in a cup of yogurt and leave it for a few days until a solid mass forms on the top. During the warmer seasons the activation will only take a few days.
This is the yogurt that I feed to the pigs, mixed in with their scraps.
The chickens (chooks) get it too. Either in a bowl or mixed in with bread and scraps.
Yogurt is very high in protein and the animals love it. Our dogs also get a little each day.
It's so good for our gut because it's fermented which means it's (pre-digested) and it's good for the animals too.
The whey is also good for them but it's very watery so it needs mixing in with other more solid foods. Or you could put a bowl of whey in the animal's yard for them to drink.
** Keep an eye on the bowel movements of the animals and adjust the feeding of milk if diarrhea is apparent.
I put whey into my compost heap to activate it and also tip it onto the garden, fruit trees etc.
Continue to add more excess milk as you use it from the bucket. The yogurt remaining in the bucket, no matter how small, will inoculate the fresh milk and turn it into yogurt in time.
                                       The top yogurt will look like this. Thick and lumpy.

          The yogurt lower in the bucket looks like this. The clear, yellowish liquid is whey.

We are still waiting for some new calves that we have ordered from one of our local dairy farms, so until then we are still milking Daisy twice daily.
What to do with 25 litres of milk each day?
Lots of cheeses of all description.

                               Each of these cheddars is made from eight litres of whole milk.

Brian made this cheese press from pictures we saw on some cheese making sites on line. I made the cheese hoop from a donated plastic container and use a solid plastic lid as a follower. (Inside the hoop).  It doesn't require modern expensive equipment to make cheese if one of you is a bit handy and you know how to be resourceful.
I have since purchased (from an op-shop for $2) another solid plastic round container with straight up and down sides. Brian drilled holes up the sides and in the bottom. It's perfect for my eight litre cheddars and four litre fetta cheeses.
I also bought some butter muslin from Spotlight on one of my recent, and rare, trips to the big smoke.

Half of a four litre Fetta cheese that I took out of the brine today after making it three days ago.
Oh my, it is so delicious.  This section was sold to the lady who called in and purchased all of the butter that I made this morning (six pieces), but the other half is safely tucked in the fridge. Tomorrow there will be a spinach and fetta quiche.

                                             This morning's Butter....Sold thirty minutes later.

I made this cheesecake from some soft cream cheese that I made earlier in the week. It needed to be used up otherwise the dogs or chooks would get it.
The recipe called for a half cup of icing sugar which I duly added.
Later while rummaging about in the pantry I discovered a packet of icing sugar at the back. Upon checking the bag that I had used for the cheesecake I discovered I'd used cornflour instead!
One of those moments when I'm reminded that I'm turning into my Granny.
The cheesecake was slightly grainy in texture and not overly sweet! But dangerously edible.
            Draining another batch of soft cream cheese. The jug is holding some of the whey.

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