Livestock Agriculture: While Raising Pigs and Guinea Fowl, the Farm Grew Fast

George DeVault shares his misadventures in livestock agriculture trying to raise pigs, goats, sheep and guinea fowl.

| September/October 2006

  • Guineas guard the roost and the homestead as they devour ticks and produce eggs.
    Guineas guard the roost and the homestead as they devour ticks and produce eggs.
    PHOTO: GRIT MAGAZINE STAFF
  • Garbage-fed pigs
    Garbage-fed pigs.
    GRIT MAGAZINE STAFF
  • Those cute little chicks and piglets you bought in the spring will grow at an astounding rate.
    Those cute little chicks and piglets you bought in the spring will grow at an astounding rate.
    GRIT MAGAZINE STAFF
  • Called 'the better dairy animal' because of their manageable size, goats are also some of the most entertaining animals on the farm.
    Called "the better dairy animal" because of their manageable size, goats are also some of the most entertaining animals on the farm.
    RHODA PEACHER
  • A few sheep around the home place say 'farm' to many of us. They may be the only thing to keep the border collie occupied.
    A few sheep around the home place say "farm" to many of us. They may be the only thing to keep the border collie occupied.
    GRIT MAGAZINE STAFF

  • Guineas guard the roost and the homestead as they devour ticks and produce eggs.
  • Garbage-fed pigs
  • Those cute little chicks and piglets you bought in the spring will grow at an astounding rate.
  • Called 'the better dairy animal' because of their manageable size, goats are also some of the most entertaining animals on the farm.
  • A few sheep around the home place say 'farm' to many of us. They may be the only thing to keep the border collie occupied.

One farmer's misadventures in livestock agriculture might be a word to the wise: Be careful what you yearn for. 

Country people have big hearts. A large portion love animals and want to try their hand at livestock agriculture and raising pigs, guinea fowl and a myriad of other animals that typically call a farm home. And some among the country — sharpies, I believe they're called — seldom miss an opportunity to save themselves a little work under the guise of doing a good turn for a neighbor in need.

That lesson came home to roost at our truckpatch in southeastern Pennsylvania one recent summer. A little after sunrise, our three dogs started barking their car-in-the-driveway warning. Curious about all the fuss, I ambled out the backdoor with my first cup of coffee in hand — and bumped into our township manager.

Our daughter, Ruth, was engaged to his nephew, so "Uncle Danny" was hardly a stranger to us. Still, it was more than a little strange to see him skulking about the front of our little red barn at such an early hour, especially with two large cardboard boxes.



"Morning, Dan," I mumbled, taking a sip of coffee. "What’s in the boxes?"

"Uh, guinea hens," came the hesitant reply. Eyeing the distance to his pickup truck, Dan looked like he half expected me to run back into the house to fetch the shotgun.

allranchy
3/9/2009 11:00:10 PM

LOL! I too am........an animal enthusiast! Thanks for the great story. It's nice to know I am not alone :0) There is no better way to learn than to live.







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