3 Reasons Heritage Hogs Are Just Plain Better Than Commercial Hogs

Click here to view the original post.
3 Reasons Heritage Hogs Are Just Plain Better Than Commercial Hogs

Guinea Hog. Image source: USDA

If you’re thinking about raising a couple of hogs for your family’s freezer, the first place to start is by deciding on the type of pig you want.

Heritage hogs and commercial meat hogs are distinctly different in many ways. Depending upon your space constraints, budget, timeline and individual beliefs you may find one better than the other. Heritage hogs are more self-sufficient but slower to grow. Meat hogs are fast growers but require more maintenance. And when it comes to the quality of the meat, it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Heritage animals were bred by our colonial forefathers to adapt well to the local environment with little maintenance. In America, common breeds include Choctaw, Guinea Hog, Mulefood, Ossabaw Island and Gloucester Old Spot. These breeds were developed to exhibit better foraging abilities, longevity, maternal instincts, and resistance to disease and parasites when compared to selectively bred commercial breeds.

Here’s four traits of heritage hogs you need to know:

1. Heritage hogs are cheaper to feed (but need more space). You can set a heritage hog loose on acres of pasture and allow it to forage for the bulk of its diet, saving you tons in feed costs. But this means it must have permanent access to pasture. This is the first, and largest, discrepancy between the two types of hogs. How much space are you willing to dedicate as “hog land?” Heritage hogs were developed to fend for themselves on open land.

Diatomaceous Earth: The All-Natural Livestock De-Wormer!

For a small farm without an acre to spare for hog pasture, heritage breeds may not be the right choice. Commercial hogs that were developed to thrive in very small spaces get by perfectly well on as little as 20 square feet of space per hog. These breeds include Duroc, Hampshire, Yorkshire and Landraces. They will do just fine on dirt; however, these types of hogs need access to commercial hog feed 24/7 to meet their growing potential.

2. Heritage hogs are heartier. Not only are heritage breeds raised more humanely than your standard commercial CAFO pig, but they are also much more hearty. Thanks to their DNA, heritage breeds are naturally resistant to a variety of diseases and parasites. They are able to adapt to their environment without any help from you. You won’t ever have to juice up your Old Spots with antibiotics or growth hormones. Nor will you have to give them regular de-wormer. While commercial-breed hogs may not specifically require antibiotics or other medications, they are more susceptible to disease and parasites than heritage hogs. They also don’t deal as well with extreme weather conditions.

3 Reasons Heritage Hogs Are Just Plain Better Than Commercial Hogs

Guinea Hog. Image source: USDA

3. Heritage pork is more flavorful. When you think about the pork you will get as a reward in the end, a big factor is the taste you want. Commercial-type hogs have a leaner carcass, producing a light pink meat and little lard. This is the classic “supermarket” pork taste that so many people are accustomed to and may prefer. However, darker heritage pork has a more full, complex flavor; it is well-marbled with fat, meaning it is more juicy and tender. Like all grass-fed meat, heritage pork is also healthier for you. It is higher in good fatty acids, beta carotene, and vitamins D and E.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

Of course, not everything about heritage hogs is great. Let’s examine the one negative.

Caveat: They’re Slow Growers

Though the cost of feeding commercial hogs might seem daunting, remember that you will only be feeding them for a matter of months. Commercial hogs are bred for fast growth and good feed efficiency. A 50-pound feeder hog can reach market weight in as little as 100 days. If you are looking for some farm-raised meat and needing it fast, commercial hogs are the way to go. This is especially beneficial if you don’t like having hogs around full-time. Raise a couple of Hampshire-Durocs from August to November and have a pork-filled freezer and pig-free yard until next summer.

Though some heritage breeds mature faster, most take over a year to reach a weight worth taking to the butcher, some even longer. This is due in part to their genetics makeup and in part to their diet. If you are supplementing your heritage hogs with commercial feed, you may be feeding them more than a commercial hog in the long run.

As far as temperament goes, it can be a toss-up. Both types have more docile and more aggressive breeds. If you are looking for a pig with personality, Guinea Hogs can be real sweethearts. However, you may find raising pigs you’ve bonded with a big drawback when it’s time to hit the butcher’s block. Ultimately, if you want some quick, low-cost pork you raised yourself, then crossbreed commercial hogs are the way to go. If you want to preserve an environmentally sustainable breed that practically cares for itself, get a heritage hog.

What is your favorite type of hog? Share your advice in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

Lard: Your Great-Grandmother’s Secret To Better Skin, Naturally

Click here to view the original post.
Lard: Your Great-Grandmother’s Secret To Better Skin, Naturally

Image source: Epic Provisions

 

Before the birth of the industrial cosmetic industry, people found other ways to improve their skin. Perhaps they realized that after continually handling meat in the kitchen, the skin on their hands was softer and smoother. Or perhaps they were just feeling adventurous with the leftover biscuit grease.

Either way, people for centuries – especially women — have been using lard as a facial cream. Lard is pork fat that has been rendered down to a liquid. Not only does it act as an exceptional barrier for locking in moisture, but it is also high in the vitamins that help keep skin healthy.

While the idea of rubbing pork fat on your cheeks might seem off-putting, think about this: Nearly all commercial skincare products are already made with some sort of animal fat. And massaging lard into your skin isn’t the same as rubbing bacon on your face. In fact, lard is incredibly gentle on skin, since it is so close to human skin in its chemical makeup.

The Secret To Making Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

So before you call that 1-800 number to purchase a $50 bottle of Anti-Aging, Acne-Erasing Wonder Cream, give lard a chance. This humble pork product has been proven to:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Tone and firm for a more youthful look.
  • Even out color and reduce redness associated with rosacea.
  • Reduce dryness associated with conditions like eczema (or winter weather).
  • Even out texture for a smoother, softer feel.
  • Improve acne and reduce pores.

If you are truly looking for a healthy and sustainable fix for your skincare woes, lard has the power to do everything that bank-breaking bottle of Lancôme does, and for the same price you could buy about 20 gallons of it!

Here’s Why it Works

When it comes to cellular makeup, pig lard is incredibly close to human skin. It has a similar pH and is made up of saturated and monounsaturated fats. One fact that skincare experts know: Oil dissolves oil. Since lard is so similar to our own skin oils, it’s a match made in heaven. As a cleanser, lard is a gentle and natural way to rid your face of that nasty sebum buildup and the daily dirt in your pores.

Pigs are extremely efficient at processing sunlight and storing it as Vitamin D in their fat. Fortunately for us, we get to enjoy our four-footed friends’ hard work when we rub that fat on our faces. Vitamin D helps to minimize dark spots and lines, reduce acne, and promote collagen production. This D-rich lard comes from pastured hogs that have been exposed to sunlight, so be sure to keep this in mind if you purchase your lard. Lard is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and Vitamin A.

There’s only one ingredient in lard: lard. Think about that next time your read your lotion label. If you can’t pronounce the words on the label, then you probably shouldn’t be putting it on or in your body.

Though convenient, most store-bought lard is hydrogenated and may contain preservatives. If you are going for a completely natural lard fix and you can’t render your own lard, then the best place to go is to your local butcher or farmer’s market. And for about $1 you can enjoy healthy, radiant skin for months. I haven’t seen a deal that good on any late-night infomercials.

How to Use it

Night is the time for our bodies to rest and restore. After your nightly washing routine, towel dry your face and dab a tiny bit of lard onto your cheeks and forehead. Massage it in well all over your face and neck. In the morning, wipe it away with a warm cloth.

Though some notice an instant improvement in their skin’s look and feel, for many this isn’t a simple overnight fix. My advice to you: Be patient! Going to bed smelling just a bit like a sausage may be discouraging (unless you really love sausage), but the end result will be well worth it. Those who have taken on the lard challenge have noticed a reduction in the signs of aging, improvement in skin elasticity, more even skin texture and color, fewer occurrences of acne, and softer skin.

If you’re tired of spending an arm and a leg on expensive chemical night creams or if you’ve simply tried everything without positive results, then I encourage you to give this age-old all-natural porcine remedy a try.

Have you ever used lard as a lotion or skin-softener? Share your tips in the section below:  

If You Like All-Natural Home Remedies, You Need To Read Everything That Hydrogen Peroxide Can Do. Find Out More Here.

6 Tricks To Ensure Your Fruit Trees Survive The Winter

Click here to view the original post.
6 Ways To Ensure Your Fruit Trees Survive The Winter

Image source: Pixabay.com

Experienced homesteaders know that just because the trees go dormant, the hens take a break from laying, and the garden goes fallow it doesn’t mean that you can go into hibernation from December to March.

Among the many wintertime tasks on the farm, you can’t forget to include tending to your fruit trees. Proper overwintering of fruit trees helps them to survive the cold months and can get rid of any hidden fungal spores, bacteria, and insect eggs that can wreck havoc come summertime. The three simple steps include: insulation, pruning and spraying.

1. Prioritize autumn clean-up. Start winter preparation by cleaning up your orchard during autumn. Remove fallen, rotting fruit from the ground and rake up fallen leaves. This debris can harbor hidden fungal spores, insects and their eggs. Rotting fruit is also an invitation to animal invaders to move in. Be sure also to remove any dead fruit from the tree. After the leaves have fallen, give your fruit trees a thorough inspection for signs of disease or damage. Look for any cracks, discolorations, unusual growths or other signs of damage. Remove or treat any wood that shows signs of disease.

2. Prevent sunscald. Before the cold really sets in is the time to protect your trees from sunscald. Sunscald occurs in the winter when the sunlight heats the bark during the day, waking it from dormancy, and then freezes again at night, causing an open scar. The scar can become an inviting opening for insects and disease. To protect your trees from sunscald you can use a commercial tree wrap — like crinkled paper or spiral plastic wrap — to wrap the trunks of young trees. Older trees can be treated with a 1:1 solution of water and white latex paint.

3. Guard against animal invaders. If you have a busy wildlife presence in your area, you also may need to protect your fruit trees from deer, rabbits, mice and other animals that are looking for an easy wintertime meal.

“The Big Book Of Off The Grid Secrets” — Every Homesteader Needs One!

For trees less than 5-7 years old, use tree wraps or wire mesh to protect trunks from mice and voles, making sure they are partially buried. Though nothing short of an 8-foot fence is guaranteed to keep deer at bay, a barrier of poultry netting or woven wire can help protect your trees. Scent repellants also may work, including liquid repellents like coyote urine or hanging a highly scented bath soap from the tree’s branches.

6 Ways To Ensure Your Fruit Trees Survive The Winter

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Insulate the roots. When it comes to winter prevention, insulating your roots is the most important task. A nice, thick layer of mulch is the best way to keep roots warm. Mulch should be a few inches thick all year long and even thicker in the winter (4-6 inches for young trees). You can use a variety of organic materials as mulch, including bark mulch, leaves, pine straw, wood chips and straw. Snow works, too! For the very best protection, cover your mulch with an insulated barrier like black landscape fabric or a black trash bag.

5. Prune the trees. Prune from December to February when the trees are dormant. Weak branches are an easy target for bacteria or insects to lay eggs, so weed them out now before it’s too late. First remove those dead, dying or diseased branches you noticed back in the fall. For diseased branches, be sure to cut the next juncture down to be sure of removing all the affected wood. Next, remove branches that are rubbing or at risk of growing into one another, branches that grow straight out, and root suckers. When pruning fruit trees be sure to sterilize your shears between cuts to prevent disease transfer. This can be done by rubbing them with denatured alcohol or a 1:99 solution of bleach and water. Tea tree oil is also a natural choice.

6. Wash the trees. The dormant season is prime time to “wash” fruit trees. Washing, or spraying, is the most successful way to kill off any bacteria, fungal spores, insects or insect larvae that may be hiding in your tree. Spraying should only be done in the winter when trees are deeply dormant, before any new buds have begun to show. Dormant oil sprays are available online or in most gardening and home improvement stores. These usually contain some type copper and/or lime, fish oil, or plant-based oil and can be found in organic forms, as well. Do your spraying when temperatures will be consistently above freezing for a few days. Make sure to wet all surfaces thoroughly, especially bark fissures. Since these sprays work as a contact insecticide, getting into all the nooks and crannies — especially around the base of the trunk — they ensure that you will kill off all of those hidden aphids, mites and other harmful bugs.

What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Every Year, Gardeners Make This Stupid Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.