American Guinea Hogs

About a month ago we purchased five castrated American Guinea Hogs. AGHs are a lard type pig. They enjoy long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners of pasture grass, acorns, small amounts of grain, and veggie scraps. They dislike being held, green beans and yellow squash.

Their names are Tamale(pictures above), Tortilla,  Frijoles, Taco and Burrito. They are lard pigs so they were given names from lard infused Mexican food. Some people think it is weird to name animals that are destined for the freezer. I think it is weird NOT to. I find that naming animals, no matter what their future may hold, creates an atmosphere of respect. Individuals are treated kindly instead of being viewed as a means to an end.  When animals are just nameless faces those animals become an IT. They become objects to be used. My animals are not objects, they are individuals, and they deserve respect.

I have read that pigs and sheep represent the two different ways of living in an agricultural society. Sheep represent nomadic life. In many countries sheep still graze endless hillsides and valleys, moving daily to fresh pasture, and following the seasons. The shepherds provide them with protection, shelter and forage. The sheep provide them with wool, milk and meat.

Pigs on the other hand are products of sedentary agriculture. Pigs were domesticated to eat the leftovers of society. Pigs are excellent at eating food that others can’t, at tilling the earth for crops and for being smart enough to co-exist with humans.

Industrial pork production is some of the most inhumane farming you can imagine. Pregnant/lactating sows are kept in gestation crates for almost their entire lives. They can barely move.  They are not allowed the joy of fresh pasture, of wallowing, or rooting. They are not allowed to be pigs.  They are objects for humans to use up. They are products. They are dinner.

Modern sow farmers will tell you the gestational crates are necessary because otherwise the sows will sit on their young. Although this is a very real problem, instead of choosing to breed sows that are good mothers they choose to confine them in boxes…It is upsetting to say the least!

I am a pork lover, and I am excited to be able to eat humanely raised pork. I am also excited to make the lard into tamales(my grandma’s recipe), soap and maybe even candles.

The dirt on their noses is from rooting around in the soil, looking for grubs, worms and roots.


7 responses to “American Guinea Hogs

  1. You continue to be the cleverest animal namer ever. Mexican food infused with lard for a lard pig? I love it 🙂

  2. This is my favorite post from you! I always wondered why you named the animals and now I understand. I hope you invite us to sample the tamales!!!

  3. Wonderful post! We may be getting one guinea hog through a trade with another farm, and he will be a personal-eating-lard-experimenting pig and hopefully a little farm mascot if we can get him socialized enough. I love your names, I will have to think of a good one for our little dude if we end up getting him.

    Also I totally agree with your naming for the exact same reasons you stated. It’s a respect thing, and it also just makes me happy knowing they have names. Plus it makes record keeping easier to keep track of… Was Tamale or Tortilla seen by the vet? compared to 001 or 002.

    • Thank you! And yes, I agree about the record keeping as well. And of course our registered animals do have numbers associated with them but its not ever how I think of them, just like you said.

      Good luck with getting the Guinea. I like them so far a lot. Where did you get your Red Wattles? I have heard nice things about them. I like the Guineas cause they stay so small…the boars of typical breeds are just so huge and intimidating!

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