Most people buy in the spring and fatten them up until the fall. If you buy now, you will need to have a warm enough place for them so they don't use all their energy trying to keep warm instead of putting on weight.
It just seems to take longer to get them to a good butchering weight when the weather is cold. (Just my opinion )
Now is the time that we are getting feeder pigs. We butcher at home so, we try to raise them so they will be butcher weight when it is cold enough to hang the meat outside to cool. Feeders bought now will be ready to butcher in late Feb.
We find that 3-4 piglets in one building with enough straw for bedding do just fine. We have no problems with them not gaining weight fast enough.
Extra feed may make it cost more (we are planning to get some too also). But if you wait until spring, you wont get pork until fall. If you do it now, you will have pork in late feb (according to all country). And that can last you all summer. We just bought this farm in may, we have 3 steers and are looking to get a few piglets to do that with. 3 steers will last us a while, but I have a realitivly large extended family that wouldnt mind if I brought some. I plan to get them butchered when they seem big enough. It may cost more than spring-fall, but it still should be better/cheaper then a butcher shop.
It doesn't seem to cost enough for extra feed for us to really take notice of.
I am sure that we save the cost of feed and much more by butchering them ourselves-vs- having the locker plant do it.
This summer for the first time since we began raising pigs, we had to pay to have them butchered and processed.(cooler had broke and it was hot out) It cost us $748.00 to have 4 done. In the past it has cost us the price of freezer wrap and freezer bags to do them. We've never spent over $50.00 to do up 4-5 pigs.
I DO NOT like to butcher. It is hard gross work. That said....I would rather do it myself and have it done the way we want and save the money. When we had the last ones done my sister and I thought.....cool, now we get out of all that yucky work. :dance:
Then we got the meat back.
We have been rather spoiled with the way we have gotten used to doing the meat up. We cut all the meat off the bone before freezing it. This saves us on freezer space and work trimming later when we are in a hurry to get a meal done. The bones are boiled down and the meaty broth canned for later soups or gravy. All the fat trimmings are done up into lard. How do they get so much sausage off of one pig? We make up some sausage, but a lot of the "scrap meat" gets trimmed and frozen in bite sized pieces for stir frys, or quick meals. We trim off most of the fat. We know that if we get a certain size package out of the freezer that is the size of roast or chop we will have and we prefer leaner sausage. With the meat we had done we take a roast out of the freezer and we are lucky to have 1/2 of that when we are done they just don't trim it the way we do.
We cut some off of our feed cost by gathering corn from surrounding fields(with permission) after the crops have been harvested. We can usually gather several large bags in less than an hour and it's great exersize. We do this 2-3 times a week until the pigs are ready to butcher.
My sister and I had sat down and figured out that it cost us around $0.49 per pound for pork when we did it ourselves. That included feed, bedding and freezer bags and paper. For good cuts and high quality meat. We were very happy with that. We decided not to bother with figuring the cost per pound when we paid to have them processed, we were already upset enough. My city sister called and asked if we could just do it here this Feb., save some money and have a nice visit.
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