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  #1  
Old 06/11/11, 02:47 PM
aka RamblinRoseRanc :)
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Morristown, TN
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Pigs for dummies 101

We're thinking about getting pigs. Of course we're gonna eat 'em, lol. What advice would you give a newbie? Buy and breed and sell the babies to recoup some cost or just buy and grow one out once or twice a year?

There used to be an old pigpen on this property, but by the time we bought, it was a pile of rotted lumber and that's all. What would be the cheapest, safest, most effective fencing/housing for pigs?

We're planning on getting a cow as well, so there could be excess milk that could be fed. Thoughts?

Anything I've forgotten or just didn't know to ask, please feel free to educate me

Thank you.

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  #2  
Old 06/11/11, 02:58 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Idaho
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Buy two little ones now and raise them. This fall, kill them and butcher. See if you like raising hogs and like the smell and like the butchering. Then you can decide if it is your life's calling.

Combination cattle panels and T posts will make a secure short term pen. Some people are happy with hog panels, but once in a while you get a climber or jumper, so I go with the extra height.

They drink milk and smile.

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Old 06/11/11, 03:20 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: VA
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I would pasture raise them. A 3 sided shelter works fine and we like water nipples for water and several black rubber tubs for feed.

We use electric. Buy ours in the SPring and butcher in the fall. We smoke our own bacon.

Plant extra veggies in the garden for them, especially things like squash as they love them.

You need to train them to electric so a small pen with electric run inside for a week will do the trick. Make sure it is grounded well and hot enough.

Put hay in their shelter as they love it.

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Last edited by Our Little Farm; 06/11/11 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 06/11/11, 03:21 PM
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Shade is important!

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  #5  
Old 06/11/11, 04:31 PM
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We raise pigs on pasture. We supplement with dairy (mostly whey) which provides lysine and extra calories.

A good book is "Small Scale Pig Raising" by Dirk van Loon. An oldie but goldie.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop

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  #6  
Old 06/11/11, 05:43 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 673

They're pretty easy and fun. It's a fun quest to try to find free sources of quality food. Milk-fed pork is delicious; a pig will easily drink 2-3 gallons per day if they have it. They have personalities and can be comical to watch. My butcher has a rule of quarters. Whatever you grow, sell 3/4 of it and the 1/4 you keep is free. He's about dead-on. Simple A-frame of plywood with hay is good. Don't really need the hay if it's warm. 3-strands of electric works great and is cheap. Train them to it in a small pen and give them time to get used to you so they don't bolt from you. They don't see the wire very well and blow through it if they're scared and don't know where it is. Use a good charger. Give them as much space as you have available. They love to travel around and forage.

If you can't find free sources of food, the economics of it stink. You won't save any money. But, if you can find some free food and they can eat pasture and some milk, the cost will be reasonable and the pork will be so much better. If you can find some people who see the value in home-raised, humane meat and are willing to pay a bit more for it, you have a good market to make a few bucks. It's amazing what word of mouth will do.

I'm on my fourth batch of pigs and it's been really fun. Enjoy and remember Craigslist is your friend.

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Old 06/11/11, 07:21 PM
aka RamblinRoseRanc :)
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Morristown, TN
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Thanks, guys.

Using electric really surprises me. For some reason I assumed it would have to be a very sturdy wooden fence. We've always marked new fencelines for the horses by tying something on the wire- would that work for pigs (during and after training)?

My husband currently brings home fruits and veggies for the chickens, so I don't see why some can't go to a pig as well.

Squash, hmm? Massive producing plant for little money. Good idea.

Great tips!

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  #8  
Old 06/12/11, 11:27 AM
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"We've always marked new fencelines for the horses by tying something on the wire"

This is important for horses as they have problems distinguishing some colors. They also tend to run across open spaces and won't see the wire in time to put on the brakes.

Hogs don't have those problems.

Unless you can find lots of cheap feed, even if you have lots of pasture, you probably won't make any money selling piglets unless they are from rare breeds that are in high demand. There is a reason there aren't many independent hog farmers these days. So either raise a few for yourself or invest in breeds that other people want.

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  #9  
Old 06/12/11, 09:33 PM
aka RamblinRoseRanc :)
 
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Okay, so general consensus is buy what I need for my family and save both time and money over trying to recoup some of a purchase price by selling extras? Gotcha.

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  #10  
Old 06/12/11, 09:37 PM
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I always get people asking if we are selling. So if you can sell and get enough profit to offset the cost of raising them, then all is good. BUT you do get some people who have no idea at how much it costs to raise a pig, and think they can buy it cheap.

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  #11  
Old 06/12/11, 10:44 PM
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Location: Minnesota
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For your first time, buy some young feeders and feed them out to butcher. As someone already said, this is how/when you find out if you really like having hogs or not; how they fit in to your farm and family.

If you can feed them cheap enough, there's nothing wrong with breeding and raising your own and selling the few extra to try and cover some of the costs. You don't always make a profit on everything you try and do, but reducing the loss is also valuable if it's an animal that you plan to keep anyway.

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  #12  
Old 06/14/11, 01:44 PM
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Just an idea...I've heard of people raising pot bellied pigs rather than the larger breed of hogs. How many would you have to raise to get the same amount of meat as a larger breed? I see those for sale on CL periodically, so it might be an idea to consider.

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  #13  
Old 06/14/11, 07:25 PM
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we have butchered our potbellies for meat a lot. There are VERY fatty compared to a standard pig. And the amount of meat you get pales in comparison. Also, the time it takes to grow a potbelly to butcher weight is the same time it takes to grow a standard pig to butcher weight. The standards will just eat a lot more. It is very tasty, but IMO, no comparison for substitution, unless SHTF and you need small, and hidden.

ALso, keep in mind, potbellys are born wild and you have to put forth effort to tame them. Not so with standard pigs.

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