Crystal and Dan Nells (C & D) were married in 1992.
Throughout the first 15 years of marriage we were electrical contractors and landlords in the City of Chicago. In 2005 Dan decided he no longer wanted to live in Chicago. In April of 2006 we moved to 15 wooded acres in Knox Indiana. At first we had fun hobby farming, we bought3 goats, 2 miniature horses and a miniature donkey. It didn’t take long before we
decided we wanted to earn a living on our property.
We looked into different animals. We considered goats, sheep, cows and pigs. We bought 4 pigs and a cow. Dan saw an ad in the Farmer’s Exchange for a Hog Confinement business. We went and looked at the operation with all the barns packed with scared pigs in absolute filth. The conditions were so deplorable. The smell was so bad that when we got back into our car we had to take everything off. That was where we decided pigs were the direction we wanted to go.
Dan asked Howard Parrish, “What happens when you become attached to them?”
We did a lot of research on raising hogs. We read books, met with other hog farmers and talked with our vet. We were determined that we were going to raise pigs outside in their natural environment. We found Parrish Farms, a breeder of breeding stock. We purchased 6 Duroc and 6 Yorkshire gilts (females that have never been bred) and one Duroc boar (an unneutered male). The first sign that this may not have been the right “business” for us was when Dan asked Howard Parrish, “What happens when you become attached to them?” Howard, a fifth generation hog farmer, didn’t understand this at all. The second sign that maybe we hadn’t done enough research was when Dan asked Howard if we could take the hogs home in our cargo van. We had no clue exactly how big these animals were or how big they could get.
Our mothers “group farrow” which means they have their babies in an area together.
We were now off to the races. In a few short months we had so many piglets. We learned how to ear notch, cut needle teeth and vaccinate. It only took us two sets of litters to learn that we didn’t believe in cutting needle teeth. Within two years we had stopped ear notching and eventually stopped vaccinating. No one understood our true goal, raise them completely natural. Let them do what they would do in the wild with only minimal help from us. Our mothers “group farrow” which means they have their babies in an area together. One mother will stay with the piglets while the others go out to forage. We don’t take the babies away from the mothers to wean them, we let
the mothers wean them. In confinement operations piglets are weaned in two to three weeks. Our mothers generally wean between eight and twelve weeks.
From the beginning if there was a sick or injured piglet we would bring them into our home. We had losses and successes. Some of our successes are still here as pets.
We truly love these animals.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR FARM:
Happy Hogs Mean Great Pork!
C & D Family Farms is a small family farm dedicated to raising hogs in their natural environment. Our happy hogs are raised on pasture and in wooded areas where they can root and play and just be hogs. They graze on pasture designed for them or eat leaves, weeds, berries and acorns from their large wooded pens. Hogs are very social animals and are kept in droves so they can socialize and prosper.
What Makes Our Hogs Natural
Here at C&D Family Farms, we use a special feed blend by Hubbard Feeds from their Homestead line that does not contain sub-therapeutic antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids or animal by-products so none of this is passed on to our consumers. We focus our efforts on raising healthy, natural, and happy hogs.