Happy Pigs Taste Better: A Complete Guide to Organic and Humane Pasture-Based Pork Production


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Happy Pigs Taste Better: A Complete Guide to Organic and Humane Pasture-Based Pork Production Author: Format: Paperback / softback First Published: Published By: Chelsea Green Publishing Co
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Pages: 272 Illustrations and other contents: Black-and-white illustrations throughout, 8-page color insert Language: English ISBN: 9781603587914 Categories: ,

What does it take to raise a happy pig? Armed with experience from running the largest organic hog operation in Maine, author Alice Percy is well equipped to answer this question. Pigs are much closer to their cousin, the wild boar, than other domesticated animals. Ethically managing pigs requires an understanding of their natural mannerisms, including factors such as social grouping, mating, territory, housing, and, of course, their love of wallowing in the mud. In Happy Pigs Taste Better Percy offers a comprehensive look at raising organic, pasture-fed, gourmet meat. She advises readers on pasturing and feeding hogs organically, as well as managing the breeding herd and administering effective natural healthcare. In addition, she provides an overview of marketing and distribution for those looking to turn their hog farming operation into a lucrative business. This book is the first of its kind to offer an in-depth approach to organic, high-welfare commercial production, including information on: – Designing a hog business from the ground up – Housing pigs, including benefits and drawbacks of various housing systems – Evaluating the nutritional content of common organic feedstuffs – Butchering humanely and economically – Recordkeeping, with templates for financial tracking Whether you’re looking to convert a conventional operation to organic, grow your backyard hog operation into a viable business, or start from scratch, this comprehensive book has got you covered, nose to tail.

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“Searching for a thorough, research-backed book on pasture-raising pigs and the business of selling pork? Then look no further because Alice Percy has produced the most comprehensive guide on the subject to date. Covering all the basics, with special attention to the unique behavior of swine and the importance of preventative practices to keep them in optimal health, farmers will be able to produce healthier animals and tastier pork if they follow her advice.”—Rebecca Thistlethwaite, author of The New Livestock Farmer and Farms with a Future “At Rodale Institute we believe we can humanely raise animals, out on pasture, in a way that supports both soil health and the farmer’s bottom line. Alice Percy’s Happy Pigs Taste Better is the book I wish I’d had when I first started raising pastured, organic pigs. It’s an excellent resource for getting started, or advancing and improving your operation.”—Shelby Dukes, animal husbandry specialist, Rodale Institute “There’s a wealth of helpful information in this beautifully produced handbook which should get first-time, small-scale pig producers off to a great start. Alice Percy makes it abundantly clear that keeping pigs on pasture has huge welfare benefits, but also that they are not ruminants and need high-quality supplemental feed in order to thrive. While most of the information is relevant wherever you are in the world, readers should check their domestic regulations, as what may be legal in the United States (for example nose ringing and castration) may not be permitted in other countries. In the EU, conversely, antibiotics may be used if required to prevent poor welfare. Even experienced pig keepers will find tips of interest in the rearing of that wonderful species, the pig!”—Helen Browning, chief executive, Soil Association (UK) “More than simply a gastronomic argument for humane pork production, this volume will inspire the reader to contemplate that next step: rearing pigs. Even if, for whatever reason, one feels unable to take on that responsibility, this book will leave the reader with an enriched understanding of a pig’s life and a concomitant sense of injustice at their commodification and suffering at the hands of mass producers.”—Jamie Berger, restaurateur and cofounder, Pitt Cue (London) “Having known Alice Percy for nearly twenty years, I can say with conviction that the welfare of the pigs is her first priority on a farm or homestead. Alice has always been very thorough in her research on the science behind the methods and materials she uses in raising pigs. By including information on the economics necessary for the success of the farm, she also considers the welfare of the farm and the farmer.”—Diane Schivera, organic livestock specialist, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Author Biography

For ten years Alice Percy operated a commercial hog operation on her farm in Whitefield, Maine, becoming the largest certified hog producer in the state. Percy has mentored hog farming startups through the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), and helped to develop the association’s Raising Organic Pigs fact sheet. She has presented workshops on organic hog husbandry at MOFGA events and the annual NOFA Summer Conference. She served on the MOFGA board from 2011 to 2018, including two years as board chair. Percy currently works as the manager of the Organic Growers Supply division at Fedco Seeds.