Originally Posted by simplyflow
We are new to raising pigs and would like to do so. My question is would you get feeder pigs and start them in the fall? We get 250 inches of snow (give or take) and fairly cold temps in the winter. What do pigs need to get through the winter in good shape? We don't have room in our tiny barn for them, but would make what they need if we got them.
Also, I've seen 220 to 250 lbs tossed around as the weight at which to butcher. What's the average it takes to grow a pig that big?
We formerly raised pigs at the northern tip of WI just west of you. We raised them year around. We did not get 250 inches of snow, but we did get a lot of Lake Effect snow and what Earnest Hemingway aptly called "The 3 Day Blow".
We raised pigs in a 3 sided Plywood box with a roof. It was about 6 feet wide and 8 feet long. By Thanksgiving we would stand a small 4X4 round bale of hay on end so as to all but seal off the front open entrance, leaving just wide enough a slot for pigs to enter and exit their house as they pleased. Inside was a dead air space with no drafts or wind.
Then we filled house with old hay about 3 feet deep
Pigs did splendid. When you went to feed them on a cold blustery morning with the windchill nipping at -65F below, you would peer into their house - and NO PIGS!...Rattle the feed bucket and they would emerge from the hay and come running for the feed.
The positives about raising pigs in winter are: No odor, no mud, clean pigs.
The negatives are: Less gain per pound of feed, as more of the energy in a pound of feed is diverted to maintaining body temperature and maintainance, and less to weight gain. Winter pigs may take 2-3 weeks longer to finish than summer pigs in your climate.
In winter watering the pigs will be your biggest inconvenience. The good news is that in winter the pigs' water needs are greatly reduced, and so you will only need to carry a small amount once daily. With your amount of snowfall, it behooves you to position their winter pighouse/pen near your water source, so you are not saddled with excessive time on snow removal to keep a path clear to the pig house. We watered once daily in a 12 gallon Rubbermaid Tub. If any water was leftover and froze, you could simply flip tub, jump on it to remove the ice puck that had formed and refill.
One other consideration: The pig breeds with long hair(red pigs) do better. Duroc or Herford or crosses of those breeds will fare better in cold weather than short haired (white pigs) will.
The "average" hog should grow to butcher weight by 6 months from it's birth. Mileage may vary with feed, weather, breed of hog, jada, jada, jada.
*Not sold in stores, LOL*