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Old 08/25/09, 03:26 PM
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Best pig breed for a pet?

I love pigs they are one of my favorite animals. My mom had one as a pet when she was a child. He was huge, she rode him around and laid beside him in the barn, reading to him for hours.
He died of old age at the age of 16.

I want to get one or two, but not sure what to get. I have no idea what type of pig she had and neither does she. It was a gift from her grandfather.
Does breed really matter anyway?

Can they live in a regular pasture as long as they have shelter and a cooling (wet) area?

Do they get "huge" on their own or is it due to the feeding that market hogs are given?

Sorry for all the questions, but I figure you guys would know the answers. Any other tips would be great.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 08/25/09, 05:38 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Oregon
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Farm pigs will get huge. My 500 lb. sows eat 8 lbs of feed a day to keep them from growing too fast. Our first boar we allowed to live with the sows all year. He would push them away from the feed to get more for himself. At 20 months old he was 720 lbs. The bigger they are, the more they will eat. Think about the cost of feed before deciding to keep one as a pet.

Everyone has their favorite breed. We have several breeds of sows, but the Berkshires are my husbands pets. Others will tell you their favorites too. You can get a sweet pig from any breed, just raise it from a piglet.

If you want a smaller pig there are a couple mini breeds, the pot belly and the Juliani, at 100 - 200 lbs. In the mid size range there are the Guinea Hogs that will grow to a full size of 400 lbs. instead of the 800 - 1000 lbs of a farm pig.

Yes, pigs can be kept on pasture. There are quite a few on here who pasture raise their pigs. Area matters. We put 4 sows on half an acre and they turned it into a drylot, nothing grows, they even killed a couple of the large trees in there. That same area now has 8 sows and we have no hope of anything growing in there, but they have room to run and play.

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Old 08/25/09, 09:12 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Henagar, AL
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The Guinea Hogs are a very friendly little breed. They would make great pets, as long as they were kept outside. Ours always want scratched and petted. You should reseach them a little. The AGHA website and the ALBC have some good information on them.

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Old 08/26/09, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegan-horsegal View Post
Does breed really matter anyway?
Yes, some breeds will grow a lot faster and get a lot bigger. We have three boars over 1,000 lbs. We have many sows over 600 lbs and some over 800 lbs. This is on pasture - e.g., that's not fat. Be very careful not to over feed them or they will get fat. Watch the calories.

Speaking of food, how's your wallet? A pig will eat a lot of food. That can get very expensive. You can do them just on pasture, or ideally pasture plus dairy or something else that will have lysine that is missing from the pasture. But learn about nutrition before designing your own pig diet. See these articles:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2005/09/pet-pigs.html

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2006/01/cute-pet-pigs.html

And speaking of food, what goes in, comes out, for the most part. Have a way to handle the manure year round. We're talking tons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegan-horsegal View Post
Can they live in a regular pasture as long as they have shelter and a cooling (wet) area?
Yes, we raise pigs on pasture for meat. See above note about lysine. Calories are also limited on pasture. Learn about intensive rotational grazing. This is very important to prevent over grazing and destruction of the soil - same as with sheep, horses, goats, cattle, chickens, etc. Here's some of our experiences with pigs on pasture:

http://www.google.com/search?&q=site%3Asugarmtnfarm.com+rotational+grazing
Fencing is an issue. We use high tensile smooth wire electric around the perimeter. If you live in a more urban area, have neighbors, etc you'll want to fence even more tightly. Neighbors don't tend to appreciate having huge pigs on their lawn or in their garden.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegan-horsegal View Post
Do they get "huge" on their own or is it due to the feeding that market hogs are given?
They get huge on their own. Breed matters. Pot Bellied Pigs stay a lot smaller, generally under 300 lbs. Farm breeds like ours which are predominantly Yorkshire get that big in six months and over 1,000 lbs within a few years. This is on a pasture diet. Over feed them the calories, such as corn, and they can put on a lot of fat on top of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegan-horsegal View Post
Sorry for all the questions, but I figure you guys would know the answers. Any other tips would be great. Thanks in advance.
You do understand that pigs are not vegans, right? They eat mice, snakes, worms, grubs and will eat you if you fall down in the field and stop moving for too long. It is their nature. Pigs are omnivores. Do learn about their nutritional needs.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org
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