Remember the two pigs that were purchased to put meat on the table
for the children? Those two pigs not only started the Butcher Shop, but also introduced the Livestock Programme to St.
In the early days, we simply fed the animals until they grew, and
took care of the piglets, feeding them and keeping them in an enclosed area so that they would not be stolen or roam all over
the property. As the number of animals increased, we added on to the existing building to accommodate the growth.
In addition to the physical increase of the animals, there was also the problem of disposal
of waste, flies, and general sanitation. Several visitors mentioned the possibility of utilizing the waste material
in a bio-gas digester, and this would enable us to use the methane gas from the digester in the kitchen. So, with the
guidance of the Scientific Research Council, our first bio-gas digester was set up.
When our pig population grew to the 200's, and we were knee-deep in muck and mud, and quickly
out-growing the bio-gas capability, Sister Susan Frazer (the resident dreamer) had another 'dream'. A modern, efficient piggery
- built to withstand the inclement weather and flooding, and housing healthy, 'happy' pigs that would provide the Butcher
Shop with enough meat to keep us in business.
After writing grant application after grant application, Sister Susan finally put together
enough funding to start construction of her dream piggery in 1999.
|Moving Day - February 2000
In February 2000, after 10 years of dreaming and planning, 500 pigs moved into their new home.
Installation of equipment was supervised by Dr. Greg Smith, a volunteer veterinarian from New Zealand and a team of volunteers
Mr. Carl Albers, a semi-retired pig farmer from Ohio had been working closely with Sister Susan,
Dr. Smith, Mr. Sydney Brown, and other members of staff, to improve the genetics of the herd. This team was also
able to improve the quality of the feed used for the pigs.
Today the herd is close to 700, and the mortality rate is down. At long last, the dream
has come true!