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family smiling in Arizona desert

Sarah Withers is the mama behind Nest In The West and as the name hints, lives with her husband and three children on a two acre homestead beneath the mountains in the far west valley of greater Phoenix, AZ; a beautiful backdrop for her dreamy photos! The following is an excerpt of a previous Instagram takeover.

Do you have a favorite animal on the farm? It’s honestly hard for me to decide, but I do know that I never want to not have pigs. Our pigs are Kune Kunes, a smaller breed of lard pig, which means they offer both high quality meat as well as high quality fat to be rendered into lard.

 

We chose this breed because we wanted to be able to butcher pigs ourselves easily without heavy equipment, and because they are more of a specialty breed so selling extra piglets won’t be hard. Kune Kunes also eat grass and don’t root as much as other pigs, so these guys are great on a small acreage like ours.

We decided to add pigs to our homestead after our cows freshened and we found ourselves with an overabundance of milk to deal with. Pigs LOVE milk. In fact, we don’t buy any feed for our pigs at all! Between eating our year-round pasture, food scraps from the house, and excess dairy (skim milk, whey, and clabber), our pigs are well-fed. The trick with Kune Kunes is to keep them from getting too fat (they’re lard pigs, after all!). By feeding primarily milk and grass, we’ve managed to strike a good balance.

 

Our pig mentors agree, but the real test will be when we finally butcher our first pig in the Fall. We just have three pigs right now. Petunia is our gilt, Wendell Berry is our young boar, and Piggy Smalls is bacon. We are hoping for Petunia and Wendell to make some babies here really soon and then to keep a steady stream of pigs ready to process every six months or so, and sell the rest of the piglets. I can’t wait, because if you’ve ever seen a tiny piglet you know they’re pretty much the cutest!

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