Here at Benjamin Family Farms we strive to blend the best of old and new to achieve a balanced pork production. The blend we choose to use allows us to minimize the negatives and accentuate the positives seen at both ends of the pork production spectrum. We strive to keep all hogs in a safe environment that allows for natural behaviors while using advancements in production technology that limit disease, competition and death loss.
Our Berkshire sows are kept in group housing allowing them to socialize. When they are approximately a week away from their due date they are moved to individual pens within our farrowing house. When the sow shows signs that she will soon give birth; usually 2-4 days prior to delivery, she is moved to a farrowing crate* where she will stay until her litter is 3 to 7 days old. At 2 to 3 days old the piglets are given an iron shot, marked for identification and they are closely examined for any notation that we may wish to make about the individual or litter as a whole. At 3 to 7 days old, depending on the strength of the piglets in the litter, the litter and sow are placed in an individual pen where the sow and pigs can interact in a more natural environment. They are given straw to nest in, play with and consume. The mother and piglets will stay together in this pen until weaning. Whenever possible the sows will be let out to interact with each other and have a moment of rest from their litters. This also provides the litters a moment to play without supervision from their mom, and they usually take full advantage.
After weaning the sows go back to group housing to re-acclimate to their life without a litter before being re-bred. Meanwhile, the piglets join the other litters that are near their age in a nursery setting before being moved to the pasture where they will stay until they are mature.
We feed a balanced grain based diet.
We feed no animal byproducts.
We are Antibiotic Free**
If you are interested in purchasing papered Berkshire stock
email us or call 309/825-7315.
Feeder Pigs $75 & up
Mature Open Gilts $400 & up
Bred Gilts $650 & up
Bred Sows negotiable
*Farrowing crates have been made controversial due to their over use in large scale operations. Farrowing crates restrict the movement of a sow so as to protect the small piglet, such restriction has been proven statistically to significantly increase the odds of survivability among piglets over pasture or pen farrowing. This is most important in the first few days of life for a piglet. We here at Benjamin Family Farms believe it is more cruel to allow for a higher death loss of piglets than it is to restrict the movement of the sow for a period of time. For this reason we limit the time in the crate to the most vital time in a piglets life, the first few days. A good way to think of it is a mother on bed rest for a day or two prior to giving birth and for a few days after giving birth.
**We at Benjamin Family Farms utilize a natural production practice that eliminates the need for preventative medications commonly used in confinement systems. In individual cases to prevent animals from death or suffering we do allow for limited spot treatments of medication. In such cases the prescribed withdrawal period is doubled before the animal is processed.