TK Ranch is keenly aware of current factory agricultural methods for raising pigs and feel they are not humane. Pigs are extremely intelligent, very aware and like to make eye contact with their handlers. They are quick to show their emotions and it is very easy to tell when they are both happy and unhappy. After raising pigs we can't imagine how unhappy a pig would be if they could not root around in the soil as this appears to be their favourite pastime. This past spring we put our sows into our garden to root up the grass that was taking over. They did such a good job removing the rhizomes (roots) of the grass that we will do it next year too.
Our pigs are ethically raised with a focus on animal welfare. We have 7 Berkshire sows (Emily, Jill, Frida, Mimsy, Sylvia, Katie and Evelyn) and bred them to our Duroc boars (Bob and Jimmy). Both Berkshire and Duroc pigs are heritage breeds that are designed for being raised outside. In the summer they have access to large outdoor pens and pasture. We farrow our sows with their piglets — we DO NOT use gestation or farrowing crates. Our sows are given large nest-boxes to have their babies in that also have free access to the outdoors and other sows for socializing. Our piglets this year were a multitude of colours and have been very entertaining — a picture of some of them is below. The picture below that is of Spud, one of our "runts" that is the smallest of the litters. He is a real baby and loves to be cuddled.
In the winter our pigs are loose housed in a large building that has been filled with clean straw to keep them warm. They have free access to the outdoors where they have free-choice feed (can eat as much as they want) and access to clean fresh water. Fresh air and sunshine helps to keep them healthy, happy and content. Throughout their lifetime our pigs never receive antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, animal by-products or insecticides.