Raising Hogs, worth it?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by PhilJohnson, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. PhilJohnson

    PhilJohnson Cactus Farmer/Cat Rancher

    Messages:
    1,974
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Location:
    Central Wisconsin
    I was thinking of raising some hogs to make some extra money this year. I was curious what other people's experiences have been raising pigs for profit.
     
  2. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,049
    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    Location:
    Ouachitas, AR
    We have been kicking around the idea too so I am interested in the responses to this one. :)
     

  3. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,532
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    We make money at it. Realize it took a while to work out the systems and market. If you feed commercial hog feed or other grains it really bites into your margin. Look at what you're going to pay for feed as that is by far the biggest cost. The cost of feed has risen dramatically in the last few years. Can you pasture? More learning curve. Next look at what you'll need for infrastructure - e.g., fencing, etc. If you already have it this helps.

    See:

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2005/08/keeping-pig-for-meat.html

    and

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2006/07/what-is-half-pig-share.html

    Which will give you some numbers but realize that costs and prices vary tremendously with where you are located. If you're in high hog production areas then it may be hard to sell niche pork. Be prepared to market. What are you going to do that makes it better to buy from you rather than the "manager's special" at the super market.

    If you want piglets for this summer you best get a deposit in now with a breeder. We already have reserves out into May and generally sell out through August or even September. Don't wait for the last minute to get your weaner pigs.

    Have fun and good luck!

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    Save 30% off Pastured Pork with free processing: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
    Read about our on-farm butcher shop project: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
     
  4. karenbrat1

    karenbrat1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    I think it really depends on your area and possible clientele. In a poor area or one where lots of pigs are raised you may have trouble getting your money out of them. In a wealthy area where people are willing to pay for humanely/locally raised food you can do quite well.

    As a starter if you already know you have a market for a few of them to friends, get 5-6 weaners and just charge enough for them to where you get the one you put in YOUR freezer for free. A friend of mine does that every year along with several beeves. She could sell 2-3x as many because word of mouth has spread about how good her meat tastes, but she doesn't want to do any more than that. I raised three last year and sold the extra two to friends, who now say I have to raise them one EVERY year :)
     
  5. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,049
    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    Location:
    Ouachitas, AR
    We have raised our own from piglets for years and did just that sold them to cover our feed and processing costs. That has done well. We are thinking about going the next step and actually keeping a sow and raising a litter or 2. I am wondering how the costs of having your own piglets vs. buying them works out.
     
  6. Feathers-N-Fur

    Feathers-N-Fur Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    474
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    Whether it is worth it to breed your own litters will depend a great deal on your feed costs. Our breaking even point for a litter of 8 piglets is $65. We can easily get $100-$125 for spring piglets. Fall piglets, we are very happy if we can get $50. Auction ones only get about $30. That is paying $250 per ton for feed. Is it profitable, NO. We do it because we want to. Now we are looking at changing our program to herritage pigs. We are selling all of our Yorks and Hamps and going to Berks and 1 Spot and 1 Duroc with a Berk boar. We'll see in time if that is the right thing to do.
     
  7. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,532
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    When you're figuring this out, make a spreadsheet, put in all the numbers, figure it out in great detail as to what your costs will be in terms of time and money. Do the math. Figure it for one pig vs 4 pigs too. Then realize that no matter how good you are you'll get it wrong. That's just life. Reality happens. But the penciling it out is good exercise.

    Keep track of it all and after you've done it for a a batch of pigs go back and see how it compared with how you thought things would be. Run a new set of numbers.

    Rinse & repeat.

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    Save 30% off Pastured Pork with free processing: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
    Read about our on-farm butcher shop project: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
     
  8. ursula66

    ursula66 Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Location:
    NE
    Do you mean $100-125 per piglet, or for the whole lot?
     
  9. karenbrat1

    karenbrat1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    I am sure they mean per piglet. It's the same in my area (northern Idaho). Spring piglets -- crossbreds usually York/Hamp -- are never under $100 because they are in high demand for fair pigs. Late summer/fall piglets run $50-65 each because the demand is much less, the fair is over and people don't want to raise pigs over the winter.
     
  10. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,532
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    I would suspect they meant per piglet. We get $125 as our low price which is for feeder weaners. Goes up to $230 for select piglets. Spring is the high demand time for piglets. We have reserves out through May already and each year are sold out through August or even September. I used to drop the price more in the fall but don't now. I can get $630 after raising them up to finishers as meat so I don't cut prices by very much in the fall, better to just raise them up over the winter.
     
  11. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,292
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    N.E. OK
    Wow in Ok fall pigs are about $30 and spring is about $50. large almost grown pigs are going for about $100 with papers $200

    I did 3 pigs one year and just loved it. The meat for our own use was well worth it. We moved so we are not set up anymore. :Bawling:
     
  12. linn

    linn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,441
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2005
    We sell ours as feeder pigs at about 8 weeks. We don't raise our own feed so, feeding out hogs is not feasible for us, unless we just feed one or two for our own use. I sold my feeder pigs for $18 each last fall. Prices around here have gone down in the last couple of years.
     
  13. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

    Messages:
    1,955
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Indiana - North Central
    Define "worth it" btw.

    It depends on your personal beliefs and such too...

    For me, specifically, I want to know my dinner was fed nutritionally, loved, and killed humanely. Yes, I still buy Grocery Meat.

    And although I buy Grocery Meat, I'm also quite proud of the fact that I know where, when, how and why my animal was killed and processed when I butcher my animals for the table/freezer.

    And I can say I'm not adding to the tankage and such that become a problem when there are MILLIONS of animals processed. Not that they aren't dealt with humanely specifically, of course... ...and that I can feed myself and KNOW where porkchops are on a pig. And where skirt steak comes from. And what part chicken tenders come from...


    Anyway. Just be aware that MY definition of worth is not necessarily your definition. And that your definition may change for you over time. Enjoy your pigs, enjoy your knowledge. It's your knowledge and no one can take it away from you. Unless we're talking Alzheimers... sad to say...
     
  14. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,049
    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    Location:
    Ouachitas, AR
    Wow! I can't believe the prices some of y'all get for feeder piglets. :) Here in Arkansas it averages $30 per piglet.

    We have raised an average of 4 hogs a year for the last 8 years. We put 2 in our freezer and sell 2 to cover our costs. Ours have always been outside with sheds for weather and on at least some grass but we have gradually moved to all pasture now that the cows are all gone. We have a really nice mixed breed sow that we have raised from 6 weeks old. She is very friendly and so we are kicking around the idea of keeping her and raising a litter of piglets this year.

    What I am wondering is how much will we have to increase our infrastructure as the pig gets bigger and what is the real cost of keeping that mother pig while she is pregnant and over the whole year vs. just paying for 4 piglets every year? I am guessing it's probably cheaper to just buy the piglets so I was just wondering how it had worked out for others.
     
  15. wally

    wally Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,050
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Location:
    NC Kansas
    Here in NC Kansas you can not raise a market hog and make any money in fact you will lose money..I can go to the sale barn every week and buy a 250 lb fat hog for less than 80.00 bring it home and feed it for 14 days to be sure the system is clean then take to the processor..the pork market here is terrible thanks to the mega pork growers
     
  16. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,532
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    If you can get piglets for $30 each then that is a better price than you'll likely to do having a sow.
     
  17. AnnieinBC

    AnnieinBC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,090
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    At the very least, you should be able to end up with enough pork for your family for free. We have been doing this for several years, and word of mouth is all we do. All piggys are spoken for really quickly.

    I agree with Walter, if you want them, you should reserve them now and not wait. We have to reserve ours right after Christmas - they are usually ready for us to pick up the weaner pigs mid-March.
     
  18. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,437
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    Hoosier transplant to cheese country
    you can get butcher hogs at the auction all day long here for 20 or 30$, however you'll pay $1.00-1.50 per pound for feeders.
     
  19. bruceki

    bruceki Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    339
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    In western washington commercial feed is $280/ton, and it takes 1,000lbs of feed to bring a pig to market. Weaner pigs have a low price of around $50 in november, and a high of $125 in march.

    So the economics around here for a winter farrowing are approximately 300 in feed + housing + labor yields you 8-10 piglets that sell for $50, say $500 if you manage to wean 10. So you can make a small profit. Born in early january and sold in march, the math looks better -- 300 in feed + housing + labor yields you $1250 assuming a weaning of 10.

    Highlands quotes prices he's selling pigs for that are higher than any other I've seen for non-purebred weaner pigs; as with any claim on the internet take it with a grain of salt. His math is the same as mine about keeping pigs during the winter, however. I don't sell pigs in the winter; I raise them and sell them as finished pigs in the spring and summer. I do sell pigs in the spring to take advantage of the better prices.

    Pigs are traditionally known as mortgage lifters -- you can make a dependable profit off of them if things go as they should. But with any new venture, you should expect to have some learning to do, which means that for the first few years you may not be as efficient as you hope. (=lower weaned pig count per litter born, etc)


    Pig husbandry is a fairly low overhead operation that can be used as a teaching tool for children, as additional income, or as a relatively easy form of self-raised meat. I'd rate pig husbandry as being the next step up from chickens. The daily work is similar -- check the food and water, fill the feeder, scratch their ears, toss them a treat now and then, and call the farm kill guy in october.

    Entries from my blog:
    Pigs and profits

    cost of raising pigs (2008 version)


    Bruce / ebeyfarm.blogspot.com
     
  20. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,437
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    Hoosier transplant to cheese country
    we try real hard to keep our feed costs down. we spend a fair amount of time gleaning and picking up what ever we can get for free or next to nothing. we wont buy in commercial feed. not worth it, and I want to know what my pigs are eating. today, it was apples, rice, baked potatoes, melon rinds, and deer carcass. they eat the bones like potato chips. it was all free + gas money and time.