A pig weigher is well beyond our means at £400 plus for a good, used one, so how do we weigh our pigs? With this — a weighing band. It’s a tape measure with a weight scale that can be used to determine the live weight of cattle or the likely dead weight of pigs (although you measure the pig when it’s alive).
In theory, measuring the pig is simple. You simply pass the tape under the pig’s belly, move it up to just behind the forelegs and then read off the weight at the point where the end of the tape meets itself. In practice, it’s rather more difficult unless you’ve prepared the pigs in advance.
I start the weighing process about four weeks before I intend to the do the first measurement—about eight weeks before slaughter. I touch the pigs each time I feed them, talk to them, stroke them and gradually build up to running a hand right around their sides and under them. Eventually, they allow me to do this without a shiver or a step away, which means they’re ready to be measured. Although even then, they do like to jump now and again. For the record, Dolly and Grolly should produce carcasses weighing 63kg and 70kg respectively. We aim for 80kg so they’ll be with us for another few weeks yet, although they may have to be separated if the weight difference doesn’t narrow.