Flat Aggie made her way To Jennifer's family farm in Indiana. Jennifer had this to say about the adventure:
I was so excited to have Flat Aggie come visit me in central Indiana – we had a very busy day but she was a trooper and kept up with me all day!
The first thing I made Flat Aggie do was a little homework – we live on a farrow-to-finish confinement hog operation and I wanted her to read a few of my blog posts to better understand what she was going to see down at the hog barns!
Farrow-to-finish means that we have sows (the momma pigs) who give birth on our farm and we raise those piglets all the way to market weight or finish weight as well. Confinement means that all our hogs are in barns (indoors) and not outside.
She read about our gestation barn and how it helps keep our sows healthy and how it helps the piglets as well. She also read about selling the finish hogs and then she was ready to help me work!
We went out to the cattle barn to feed the 4-H calves -
she learned that they are on a very strict diet of ground corn, soybean meal, cottonseed hulls, Baby Beef (a mineral protein supplement) and that we have to weigh the feed every time so that they get the right amount.
She made fast friends with Bandit however the other 7 calves preferred that she stay out of the bunk while they ate!
Then we headed down to the hog barns – I let her drive my truck, she did a great job!
Of course just like all kids the first thing she wanted to see was the baby’s – so we started in the farrowing barn – where the sows (momma pigs) give birth.
At first the piglets seemed a little skiddish of Flat Aggie -
but then they got a little nosy -
and decided to check her out!
Then she asked if she could get in with them -
she seemed a little scared stiff at first
but then she relaxed a little and made friends with the piglets! The piglets stay with the sows for 4weeks and then we wean (take them off their mothers milk) them and put them in the nursery barn on full feed.
So that is where we headed next to one of the nursery’s.
The pigs were a little scared of her at first but pigs are really nosy and they had to see what she was doing!
The piglets go into the nursery at 4 weeks of age, weighing 12-15 pounds, they stay in here for 9 weeks.
Then we move them to a finishing barn-
when we bring them into the finisher they are 13 weeks old and weigh about 80 pounds – they will stay here for 14 more weeks – by then they will be 27 weeks old, weigh about 280 pounds and be ready to ship to market! After learning about the hogs Flat Aggie and I had to plant soybeans -
here she is helping my Father In Law fill the planter with seed -
then she helped me fill the tractor with fuel -
then we were off to plant, Flat Aggie did a great job helping me watch the monitor that told me the speed I was going, the population of the seed being planted, the acres that I planted and that all the rows were putting out seed -
I also taught her how to check to make sure the seed was planted properly and at the right depth.
She was an absolute joy to have in the cab with me all day – she didn’t complain once about being bored, she didn’t mess with the radio stations and never once complained about my singing!
Later that day when Cole got home from school he wanted to take her with him for a ride in the corn planter -
he also showed her all the monitors that we use when planting corn -
we told her she could read more about planting corn and the monitors on my blog.
Well after a day like that I took Flat Aggie out to my front porch (my favorite place) where we just sat and relaxed – I was tired and she was just flat exhausted after our day!
To learn more about Jennifer's farm please check out her blog, From My Front Porch, follow her on twitter, or find her on facebook. Thank you for an amazing adventure!