Paul's pigs are walking around outside, which is nice to watch. More people think that, because the animals attract a lot of attention in Loo in Nistelrode. Many cyclists get off to take a look. "The smaller the piglets are, the more people come and have a look," notes Paul.
Paul doesn't have many pigs. Only one boar, six piglets and two sows. "People are increasingly happy to know where the meat they eat comes from and how the animals are treated. "I've been there from birth. I sell the meat to private individuals. Everything as fresh as possible."
The pigs are kept on a piece of land behind the parental home, which was previously fallow. A sign reads 'Maashorst pig', with the accompanying website. The pigs are named after the popular nature reserve, where the free-range pigs live next door. About five years ago Paul started keeping these pigs.
"When I started I went looking for a pig breed that is hardy. I also thought it was important that they can forage their own food a bit. Then I came across the old English breed Berkshire. These are also quiet from character, my niece can easily reach it. I read well before I started, you must of course be able to recognize a sick pig".
"The best way to promote the Maashorst pig is at the Whitsun parties in Nistelrode. I barbecue there. It's great fun to make people happy with a tasty, well-prepared piece of meat."
Paul has been running a broiler farm with 75,000 broilers in Vinkel and 90,000 in Son for a year and a half. So this is his job. Very different from the pigs he keeps: small scale is the trump card there.
But, actually it was not Paul's intention to start a farm. He has a HBO degree in Applied Natural Sciences. He also did a lot of research and development. "I really enjoy discovering new things. During my internship, for example, I did research into raw materials for dentures. Unfortunately, the financial crisis came in 2007, and research and development are of course the first to be cut."
At that moment I had to do something, and I started working more days at the broiler farmer where I had been working since I was fifteen. I became a manager there. "At a certain point the opportunity came to start my own business, and I certainly took it. I really enjoy being in control myself. In addition, I have all the freedom to manage my own time I also feel good with my chicks, that's a special feeling. It's really a passion, and I'm always ready for my chickens. I really enjoy what I do."
"I often walk in circles to see how my chicks are doing. What a chick really needs to be healthy is good food, water and a healthy climate. That way they can do their thing." Paul makes sure that his chicks are not short of anything.
"I am also working on particulate matter reduction. I made that choice for myself and my chicks. Ionization purifies the air. Due to this physical phenomenon, molecules stick to particulate matter, and so it whirls down. This means that there is visibly less particulate matter in it. the stables. It works really well. It also prepares me for standards in the future."
LED lights replace fluorescent beams. New heating elements instead of hot air guns will provide finer heat. These are investments of many tens of thousands of euros.
He can become extremely angry about Wakker Dier, which in his eyes spreads pertinent inaccuracies about the 'suffering of the floppy chicken'. ,,Come here and have a look in the stable,' I tell people. Small scale has a different price tag. It has to be paid for by the consumer.”
Photo: © Maarten van de Rakt