Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sometimes my Promises Outrun my Preparation

I will be the first to admit that my management style goes something like this:
  1. Decide what we want to do.
  2. Do the necessary research.
  3. Make a plan.
  4. Jump in with both feet.
I find that you never really know how to organize a system efficiently until some degree of chaos is involved. When chaos ensues, which it almost certainly will with any new endeavor,  keep calm and look for weak points. Then you know where to focus your attention.

A couple of years ago I decided that pigs would be the area that we would expand next. We had always had a few pigs to process, but it was the occasional 2-3 only a few times per year. One problem was that good baby pigs are hard to find. I knew that to have a good consistent product we would have to breed the sows and grow off the babies that we produce here on the farm.  So I designed and built some Pasture Based Farrowing Houses (birthing houses). Then I bought 12 good sows (mama pigs), and a boar (daddy pig). Well, standing here 2 years later, I can say that we are really good at making baby pigs. Where my plan was flawed and Chaos ensued was when all of those babies were growing up all at one time, but all different ages and sizes. I did build a grow out barn with pasture access and that works well for about 50-60 pigs. The problem is what now do I do with the other 60 small but growing piglets. Yes, that's right. We have around 120 pigs now from 10lb-200lb. Did i mention that we are really good at making baby pigs. So yesterday was the day I had to stay calm and try to study the chaos. We worked, organized and sorted all, yes all, of the pigs yesterday. The problem is that because they are raised outside, they grow out quite a bit slower than the book says (i guess the book assumes a industrial model). So the solution is going to be a couple of additional grow out barns. That will allow us to wean the babies and put them in a barn with other piglets of similar size. By the time we fill the third barn the pigs in the first one will be fully grown. 

I guess now we should grab our hammers and get to work.