I have an opportunity to get 2 pot bellied pigs for free...a boar and a sow, both 1 year old. I was wondering how they would do on pasture? Also, I know pork is pork...but have any other homesteaders looked into raising them as meat or heard of anything that would make this a bad idea? I figure it will be a lot easier than full sized pigs!
Yup, several of us use and raise them for meat. I frequently accept free PBP, and generally they go in the freezer pretty quickly.
I have a litter of PBP X American Guinea Hog (the neighbor's boar came visiting) and they're doing very well. The full AGH litter is a bit bigger, but they're a month older, too.
The PBP barrow I butchered last weekend was huge! Hanging weight (without the head) was over 80 pounds. I'm ashamed to say he had a LOT of fat on him, but we'll use it for sausage when the cows are butchered, so it certainly won't go to waste.
The cheeks and belly make excellent bacon, too. We roll the belly meat so the bacon isn't so thin, and doesn't dry out in the smoker.
Potbellies outlawed in MI?? In the U.S., they're not considered livestock; they're pets. So it's not unusual to see the PBP sitting on the couch watching TV with its owner in the cities.
The pet Potbelly is considered a lard pig. The Potbelly running around outside, being fed like a pig should be, is considered a bacon pig.
Folks who take in pet Pots (and there seems to be plenty of free or cheap ones, usually due to them being a mix and being so large ) keep them outdoors and feed them like a pig should be fed for one or two months. Then they say they taste like they should.
I got the start of my herd from a PBP meat breeder who raises her pigs like I raise all my livestock -- no confinement, just roaming all the acreage inside the perimeter fence.
It's not easy to find PBP meat breeders. They hide to avoid the flack of the pet owners. "You're not going to eat Freddie are you? He's so cute."
I've had folks ask me how I could eat them. I told them I'm not going to eat them; I'm going to eat their children! Heh! heh!
These little guys breed like rabbits! It's like having a bunch of puppies around! The adults stand several inches below my knees.
The true Potbelly adult weighs about 120 pounds and has a straight tail.
When you see 300 - 400 pound "Potbellies," one of their parents was a farm hog.
By the way, meat breeders have gone to calling the PBP - Asian Heritage Hogs. The pet folks won't know they're PBPs....unless they're on a swine site!! I've yet to find someone raising pigs who knows what the AHH is!!
he had a LOT of fat on him, but we'll use it for sausage when the cows are butchered, so it certainly won't go to waste.
Wait wait! What is this? What kind of sausage do you make that combines beef and pork? We just butchered our first steer and pig, so I'd really like to hear more about this. I have gobs of stew beef in the freezer (and we're already tired of stew, lol) and I have a plump little AGHxPBP cross that I'm planning to butcher soon, so I'd love to hear about your beef/pork sausage.
To the op, have you seen this guy's website? He's got a hilarious page of hate mail from pet lovers.
PBPs are great for eating, that's what they were originally bred for before crazy folks decided to make pets of 'em. They may be small, but they're still 100% pure pork. And conveniently packaged in a small take-along size. Easy to herd, easy to pen, cheaper to feed, easy to butcher, easy to process... and did I mention they're 100% pure pork?
People around here have to give them away if they can find anyone to take them.
A few people tried to eat them but they tasted real bad. Guess if you like grease they would be considered good.
Takes so long to get to butchering size that you can raise a regular hog to butchering size in a lot less time and have a lot more meat.
=== People around here have to give them away if they can find anyone to take them.
A few people tried to eat them but they tasted real bad. Guess if you like grease they would be considered good.
Takes so long to get to butchering size that you can raise a regular hog to butchering size in a lot less time and have a lot more meat. ===
Like I said, if they're not fed like pigs should be, they won't taste good. And PBP pets are not fed like pigs should be fed.
Only in the U.S. are they sold as pets. In every other country, they're a meal on the hoof.
If you harvest an adult, you'll get 50 - 60 pounds of meat. The cuts may be smaller, but folks can't tell the difference in taste if the pigs are raised right.
Many folks harvest their little pigs on the tailgate of their truck.
I don't make sausage, but I do make a bit of unseasoned HAMburger that I use for several recipies and season accordingly. I prefer chops, roasts, steaks.
These little guys may not be for everyone, but those of us who raise them are very happy with them.
I've not had any of my meat AHH taste bad unless you are referring to boar taint. I've noticed the boars (for me anyway) have it.
Best sausage, bacon, loin chunks, pork roast I've had. Not "watery" like CAFOs - CAFO meat always has a detectable taste/smell of confinement manure to me.
I've made all kinds of bulk sausage from my AHH - you can do whatever you want because it's smaller batches. I can butcher/process one of these smaller pigs myself in ~4 hours from live to chunked up primals cooling in the kegerator fridge.
They eat much much less, are hardy, personable (most pigs are) and don't have the FRANTIC growth demands like Rock Cornish do. So, less feed. Two adult pigs will get along well with hay, water and a coffee can and a half (large one) slurried with water A DAY. In fact, depending on the breed lines (yes, they have extremely diverse genetics) your pig can get FAT on that much a day. Those aren't my favorite pigs, but I make soap so the lard is perfect. And the "experts" are starting to acknowledge that lard is not horrible for you as we were taught by Big Business (they had an agenda, btw) years ago...
I've been getting free/low cost AHH for some years now. Breeding them takes a bit more depending on the sow of course. Some are cruddy mothers, some are GREAT. Litters of 5-14 depending on the sow.
add: if you are WANTING 200# of meat to deal with in packages, then raise commercial hogs. Or Heritage Hogs (not in Michigan). But if a smaller, more economical, less HUGE amount of meat appeals to you? AHH is your next step. I butchered a barrow last year that had 8# hams. VERY nice roast size. Wonderful flavor. He was HUGE for an AHH as he was older. No bad taste at all. Windridge Farm has been processing AHH for years. Good folks. Great site with good information... Have fun with the genetics! I bought a PotBelly pig (I picked her and her son for my breeding program) and saw her parents. She threw back to a Mong Cai size pig. SHE IS 300#. HUGE slab sides. Do you know what that means? BACON. Homemade bacon is economical ($5lb+ for commercial bacon!) and I'll have ~40# to deal with - besides the jowls. Have fun!!!
Years ago, long before they became a fad, we used to raise guinea hogs. Back then we killed some for lard. The meat wasn't that good but they could be fattened on the free range. We crossed bred some with hamps and sold the weaner pigs. They were a little better but if we waited until they were a little larger the price we got for them dropped like a rock.
When people stop rendering lard there wasn't any use for the guinea hogs anymore. The price was so low that they weren't worth raising. Now that they are a fad bred the price is back up.
What is a feral swine?
A feral swine is a free-ranging pig. Feral swine are considered exotic, nuisance species and cause damage to agricultural lands and the environment. Feral swine can also have negative impacts on wildlife and livestock.
Is it legal to take feral swine?
Yes, if you are legally hunting game during an open season (of any type) and see a feral swine you may pursue that animal if you wish, following all the regulations of the open season which you are hunting. (Please note: There is an open season of some species 365 days of the year.) For open seasons and regulations, please view the most current Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest.
What is the new law, Public Acts 69-71 of 2010?
The new law does not establish a hunting season on feral swine. Public Acts 69-71 of 2010 declare feral swine a nuisance species and allow for the opportunistic take of any free-ranging pig running at large. Under this law, a person with a concealed pistol permit (CPL) or valid hunting license can kill swine running at large on public property; landowners or other authorized persons can kill swine running at large on private property; and local animal control officers and law enforcement can kill swine running at large on either public or private property.
When can I legally shoot a feral swine?
Any time during regular hunting hours and when actively night-hunting raccoon, opossum, fox and coyote. (Please be sure to follow all day and night hunting regulations for the season in which you are hunting game. Refer to the current Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for details.)
What type of hunting license do I need to pursue feral swine?
Any type of valid hunting license or a concealed pistol permit is needed on public property. Possession of either of these allows the holder to be in legal possession of the firearm associated with the license or permit on public land.
If I have a CPL, do I also need a hunting license?
No, you do not need a hunting license in conjunction with the CPL.
Can I shoot feral swine on private property?
If you are the landowner or have permission of the landowner, you may shoot feral swine on private property at any time. It is not necessary to possess a hunting license or CPL to kill feral swine on private land.
Read ANY non-fenced pig is considered feral.
This would include Hamps and Durocs.
I am going to fence in an area and get get some AGH's just to test it......
And yes, I live in Michigan.
Originally Posted by Thomas Gallowglass
Amoung the things I've learned in life are these two tidbits...
1) don't put trust into how politicians explain things
2) you are likely to bleed if you base your actions upon 'hope'...
*mildly amused* Riverdale? I don't remember turning this into a personal attack. But, no, I didn't buy any MREs in preparation for 2000. They aren't my favorite.
Good luck with your raising Guinea Hogs after April 1. The def of feral hogs is anything other than CAFO hogs.
The documentation is out there. It's been in the works, it appears, since 2008. You live in Michigan so you must know that. I live in Indiana and was not aware of it until now.
Again, I'm still horrified that someone paid by the Michigan state government is going to come onto your farm from a neighbor complaining or you buying pig feed, determine your hogs are not CAFO and are subject to this documentation going into effect April 1.
Well, for those of you in Michigan who have to butcher your Heritage pigs this month, here's the Bratwurst recipe from Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas. It has both pork and beef in it. I'm determined to get the brats down pat! We make other sausages and excellent bacon, but I still BUY brats, so I need to fix that as soon as the beef are butchered.
In addition, knockwurst, bologna and frankfurters take both pork and veal or beef. My biggest problem is the texture, which I'm still working on.
Ingredients for 10 pounds:
2 cups whole milk, ice cold
3 whole eggs
2 cups soy protein concentrate (I've read I can use powdered milk instead)
1 Tbsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp mace
1 Teasp ginger
1 Tbsp nutmeg
4 Tbsp salt
2 pounds boneless veal
5 pounds pork shoulder
3 pounds lean pork trimmings
Grind all the meat through a 3/8" grinder plate. Place in a food processor adding all the ingredients until evenly distributed and emulsified. Stuff into 32-35 mm hog casings. Can be used fresh, frozen or smoked @ 130*F for 1 hour with open dampers, then close dampers to 1/4 open, increase temp to 165*F and hold until an internal temp of 152*F is obtained. Remove, place under a cold shower until internal temp is around 110*F. If planning to smoke, add 2 level teaspoons Insta Cure No. 1 during emulsifying step.
We raise potbellies for meat. Our boar runs with the cattle all summer and we never feed him. He grazes. We only have to feed the sow, and the feeders because they are confined.
Because they are so fatty, we always spit roast them in a smoker for a whole day at least, half at a time, in the skin. The average is about 20 pounds of cooked meat per animal. I freeze and can it and it is used for barbeque, shredded pork sandwiches, and in soups and casseroles. It is very good! It has a smokey flavor (due to roasting I am sure) that is unlike our other pork.
Thanks everyone. I do live in Michigan...are they really illegal here? If so....how would anyone know I had them?
There's some confusion out there. I read one long article that said they only banned wild hogs because people were raising them for hunting groups and some were escaping into the wild. They can be very destructive in the wild and hard to eradicate.
It's not a choice. It's a child.
Same as any other pig....except a high fat diet will make them FATTY. I have eaten many fed small grain slop (milk, whey) added. I too eat them same as feeder size pigs. Cut in half and rendered over a fire or whole in the smoke house. They really are not a whole lot different than the old breeds grown for lard. Modern pigs are bacon hogs, long and lean. Cooked right, heritage breeds have a lot more flavor....James
Older post, but here goes:
We are gettng ready to butcher our first pair of AHH. They are 7 months old, I had hoped to wait a bit longer but DH is getting antsy and can't wait for fresh pork. We raised a pair of York crosses last year. One we sold and one we butchered here. I have a hog phobia LOL, so our first pigs (the yorks) were butchered/sold when they were around 200# / 7 months (much bigger and I was going to stop taking care of them).
I keep very detaled records on every expense (and every revenue). Well everything but labor that is. Depending on the amount of meat we get from these two (I have an estimate I've used for my current figures) They have only cost me .14 cents per pound more to raise than the yorks. Of course I have the expenses of purchasing the parents and feeding them figured in there, next litter will only figure in the upkeep of the parents into the final cost per pound. Litter two is already "in the oven" so to speak. I also get the joy of having a pair of pigs all the time (yeah they are fun when they aren't as big as my horse!!) and seeing babies quite frequently. If I decide my freezer is full and I dont want to breed for a little while, I can easily keep Ma and Pa Kettle for a lot cheaper than two full size hogs without them earning their keep. I have yet to taste the meat but will be able to post shortly about my opinion on that!!
They list the characteristics of the feral pigs as being:
Dark Distal Portions,
Hair Solid Black, Red, Brown, Black & White Spotted, Black and Red/Brown Spotted,
Frankly that is BS. Plenty of domestic breeds of pigs have some or all of those characteristics. This is simply a market share grab by the CAFO producers. They want to eliminate their pastured competitors so they got their henchmen in the DNR to write a set of rules and description that describes what the CAFOs don't do and then outlaw that. Malarky.
This list of characteristics is too broad and open to interpretation. They show a photo of one thing but many, many breeds of pigs fit that description. This allows the government to come in and destroy small farms using this as their excuse. Selectively enforced laws are a favorite of tyrants like the DNR.
The reality is that feral pigs are the same species as domestic pigs. The difference is how it is being kept, or not kept. This is not about some rational scientific differentiation but rather economic sabotage by one group, Big Ag, against another group, small pasture based farmers.