On a farm, there is nothing cuter than baby animals. So when they arrive, we like to tell the world about them! Let me introduce you to the newest members of our farm family: 35 Berkshire piglets. Last week, three sows (female mother pigs) gave birth within a few days of each other. They are now beginning to ease their way out of their huts and explore the area around them.
At Stone Barns Center, our pigs are rotated through our woodland habitat because this is the environment in which they evolved naturally and are most comfortable. The piglets will nurse from their mothers for about eight weeks, but all along they are watching and mimicking their mother’s behaviors so when they are weaned, they know exactly how to find food.
In the woodlands, pigs forage for roots, nuts and ground shrubs. Their noses are perfectly shaped to dig and disrupt the ground. In fact, they are such good tillers that sometimes the farmers move the pigs to areas that have invasive species or other plants that need to be dug up. The pigs make fast work of what otherwise would be backbreaking for a farmer or a job that only a machine could do.
In the fall, the trees offer a real treat for pigs – ACORNS! They are a prized snack and at Stone Barns Center, we often allow visitors to feed extra acorns to our pig groups.
Fall is a wonderful season for farm festivals because it is nearing the end of the major growing period during which the farmer has little time to rest. The days get shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, signaling a slow-down in the growth. Fall is a time for celebration and appreciation.
Farmers work incredibly hard to grow the food that eventually makes it to our plates. They are definitely #kindawesome. Hope you can find a harvest fest in your community. Go out and celebrate farms and farmers – and hopefully you’ll see some piglets too!