Buying feed

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by MelissaW, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    We are doing our homework right now in preparation for our first feeder pigs this spring. I priced feed at the local feed store where we buy our chicken, dog, and cat food, and it was $7 for a 50 lb. bag. That seems sort of expensive for an animal that eats a lot. Does anyone buy truckloads of complete pig ration? If so, does it save money? I don't even know where to call. We would also have to buy some kind of storage for large amounts, and if we don't like raising them, I'm not sure it is worth the investment. We would like to get three pigs, and from what I have read, we can expect each one to eat about 650 pounds of feed from the time we get them until slaughter weight. Is that right? It just seems like a lot. I guess it is only about $100 per pig, but when I add in the cost of the pigs, the new fence, the new shed, and the butcher price, I'm not sure it's worth it. Any advice for a newbie? Thanks!
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I don't buy pig feed, but I buy soybean meal and chicken base in bulk. The minimum amount we have to buy is two tons. It is not bagged. We store stuff in feed wagons, which you can usually find at an auction for a couple hundred bucks. The wagons go in a shed.

    I only buy what I will use within a month or so in the summer. In the winter it is not that big a deal, but heat can lead to spoilage in the feed. You have to keep it dry and rodents can become a problem if you don't stay on top of that.

    There are three different places around here that I can order bulk feeds from. If your current feed store doesn't offer that, either ask them or just check around for other options. When I need generic stuff like soybean meal, I call and check prices and get it from whoever is cheapest. With a complete ration, you probably want to stick with the same one, unless more than one place has virtually the same product.

    Jena
     

  3. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    we are in that same process of figuring out our costs and for the first time we are going to buy in bulk. We will store ours in 55 gal plastic food grade barrels.

    Our friends and neighbors are wanting us to raise hogs for them so this year we are raising six instead of three.


    The feed we are going to use will not have any antibiotics or hormones in it.
    This is why we are going to bulk. All commericak bagged feed here has the "stuff" in it.


    Good luck. We love raising hogs, they are fun to watch and be friends with.
     
  4. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We are struggling with this question also. Our friends and neighbors want us to raise some for them. Other than the feed and initial purchase price, what do you charge to raise them? We would have 3 for them and 1 for ourselves. We would probably feed garden scraps, extra goat milk, eggs and bagged feed.
     
  5. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    Count me on wondering too. :D Since we got our first pig a few weeks ago friends and relatives are coming out of the woodwork asking us to raise them a pig too. Right now we use grower feed at $9.90 for a 50lb bag.

    Since this is my first pig and I'm feeding it like they recommend at the feed store I do have a question. I hear so many people say they raise their pigs on corn. Does that mean corn alone or with feed? Corn is a lot cheaper for us here. Oh we also slop the pig too. I wish we had the option to buy in bulk and mix our own but we just have our little feedstore and they are sold prepackaged.

    mljjranch
     
  6. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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    I know a guy that charges a dollar a pound, live weight, for raising hogs for folks. He gets a hundred down and the balance due when they are ready to be slaughtered. This doesn't include delivery to the butcher or anything beyond raising up.
     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I've wrestled with the question of feeding for the two years I've raised my own pigs. Commercially mixed swine feed here does not have steroids or antibiotics and in summer it is $5.98/ 50 pounds. In winter it is $6.48 / 50 pounds. Commercial breeds like the York, Hamp, Duroc, etc. eat 5 lbs per day for most of their growing out. That means growing one to the market range of 230-250 pounds will cost about $100 if you start with a 60 lb. pig. The benefits of growing your own pork goes beyond and far above actual cost. I don't think many people can raise and process their own pork for less than the supermarket price. It is the satisfaction of knowing the animal was humanely raised, properly fed, healthy w/o drugs, and led a vitually stress free life that keeps me raising my own pigs (plus I really love working with them). We butcher our own, package in vacuum-packed bags, and freeze the meat so we are probably paying twice as much for the satisfaction and hard work. Back to the cost question- it has been discussed on this board that people feed just about anything to their pigs if it is cheap or free. I prefer the commercially mixed ration because it is formulated specifically for pigs. Growing pigs need about 18% protein, corn has only 8.5% protein. The balance of the protein has to be found somewhere, which means you will have to spend time looking for and mixing the feed. Nutritional problems can and do come up which will add to the growing out time, labor, and expense, if the nutritional needs of the pig are not met. I've investigated cheaper ways to provide the optimum nutrition that keeps my pigs healthy and grows them efficiently. I've yet to come across anything that would save me more than $50 a year without adding to my work and time load, already in short supply. I purchase about 350 pounds a week when I don't have piglets, pour the 50 lb. bags into large recycle containers, and don't have to worry about mixing or spoilage. In turn my pigs are lean, muscled, healthy and problem free. I feed meat free kitchen scraps when I have them as treats. I don't see how it can get better.
     
  8. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all! The feed I looked at said it was 15% protien. How do I know if it has antibiotics in it? Does it cost more to buy antibiotic free? What are the chances of 3 pigs on 1/2 acre of fresh pasture needing antibiotics? Our main goal is to have safe, healthy meat for the family. We have already found people to buy the other two hogs, and we figure that the profit will nearly cover the cost of the one we are keeping for ourselves. When you say chicken base, do you mean scratch grains, cracked corn, finisher ration or what? I feed my hens laying ration, and my meat birds grower/finisher, so I'm not sure what base is. The soybean is for protien right? What is the ratio of soybean meal to chicken base? Since I have no pig experience, I think that a prepared ration along with non-meat food scraps would be easiest this time around. It seems like when we start out with a new animal, I always panic first, read everything I can, and then when the critter arrives I just sort of fly by the seat of my pants and learn as I go! I haven't killed anything with my inexperience yet, so here's hoping for the best!
     
  9. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

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    ___________________________________


    This man is making a killing at a dollar a pound live weight ! ! !
    Most of the Best Hogs sell for .50 cents a pound in todays market.

    In bad times in the market the prices per pound of live weight
    will be much lower.

    The average (Best Top Hog) will weigh between 220lbs. - 240lbs.
    This Hog will sell at most markets for a price some where
    between .47-.53 cents a pound in todays market.



    This would make a Top Selling Hog bring between:


    For a Hog weighing around - 220lbs. this would be your gross earnings.
    220 x .47 = $103.40 low price
    220 x .53 = $116.60 high price


    For a Hog weighing around - 240lbs. this would be your gross earnings.
    240 x .47 = $112.80 low price
    240 x .53 = $127.20 high price


    After a Hog passes these best weights,
    the price per pound will start going down fast per pound of live weight ! ! !
     
  10. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    The chicken base is a protein and vitamin/mineral mix. It is used to mix feed using other ingredients. I can vary the other ingredients for different types of chickens. Broilers get the base, plus corn and soybean meal. For layers I add some oyster shell and limestone.

    They have the same thing for hogs (and anything else), basically. I don't do much with the hogs, but we mix the hog supplement with corn to end up with a complete feed. We don't use a commercial supplement for cattle because of the BSE thing (we quit that a long time ago). For cattle I just mix corn, soybean meal and mineral.

    We have two grinders. One is only for products containing animal proteins and the other only gets plant proteins to avoid cross contamination. These are large grinders that mix up to 3 tons of feed at a time. I go through a grinder of cattle feed every 10 days. It's probably not economically feasible to do this for a few animals, but if you have a neighbor who has lots of stock, perhaps you can get them to grind for you.

    Jena
     
  11. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

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    Protein requirements should be around:

    18% Protein from birth to 40lbs.

    16% protein from 40lbs. to 120lbs.

    13% protein from 120lbs. to their finish weight.


    If you feed to much protien as they grow you are wasting money.
    Protien is the largest cost per pound in any feed.

    Only feed the requirments needed and they will do fine.


    Remember mineral and salt requirments are very important and must be meet.
     
  12. arnoldw

    arnoldw Well-Known Member

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    I get bread from a backery for free, that they do not have to pay dumping fees.Corn I buy directly from the mill and pay $9 for 100 for whole corn. I soak it overnight and put in on top of there bread. I also go to the vegeatable stands in the area and they give me the spoilage and they get that when ever I can get it. I move them around and let them clean up land for me. There on my garden spot right know it should be plenty rich enough for this years garden and they have pretty much already tilled it up for me. Look around you will be surprised what you can find for feed pretty resonable or free. Hope this helps. Arnold
     
  13. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    Here in west central Arkansas we ask and get 0.55 per live pound. we do not charge for delivery if it goes with our hogs. BUT this year we are asking 0.60 lb
    Plus 5.00 delivery. Hog is paid for before it leaves for the butcher. We have the buyer contact the butcher and order their own cuts the way they want it butchered. The customer also has to pick up at the butcher. We have sold as far as Houston Texas and we delivered that one frozen when we went on a trip out of the Port of Houston. 200 lbs of pork frozen in a plastic 55gal drum. Don't ask! LOL

    There is someone in Arkansas who gets $1.00 per lb Live but I forget who that is. They are on this site also
     
  14. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    We use a mix for all of our animals, cracked corn, soybean meal and oats. We have it mixed and buy it by the ton. It's fed to our chickens, ducks, guineas, horses, sheep, and pigs.. Each animal then gets added nutrients
    /scraps, etc. depending on the animal.
    The feed costs around $8.00 per 100 lbs.. It changes but has never been over $9.00.
    You might check with your county AG agent, he should be able to recommend a recipe AND let you know what is readily available in your area.
    Good luck! :)
     
  15. I get all my wheat and barley free. I work at the local university and when they harvest their yield plots they bag it up and set it out for the public. Since I start work at 6:00 am, I am always the first one there. I usually end up with about 100 bushels of wheat and 200 of barley. They usually just call me to come and get the barley since no one else feeds it. I then buy soybean meal from the feed mill at $10/50 pounds and mix it accordingly. I have enough for wheat for my 50 chickens and enough barley to supplement my 7 cows for the winter. On top of that I get free baled grass straw and sometimes alfalfa and grass hay just for hauling it off. This year I bought $100 worth of grass hay and this will get me through the winter.

    Bob
     
  16. Farmall

    Farmall Active Member

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    You have the number right now for the feeding of them. All I feed in shelled corn, year around. I would suggest you feed wheat to them during the summer, and I will try that when I buy hogs again. Feed corn during winter as corn is a heating feed. I buy mine by the bulk, in the back of my pickup and scoop it in my grain bin, a former oil tank that I fired, cleaned up and cut a door in. It has a concrete bottom. I made 2 grain bins for my daughter and her husbands chickens this way. I got 4 8ft railroad ties. I layed them down level, on edge, to forma foundation 8 X 8. I then laid down 2, 1in plywood 4 X 8s on top of them the 8ft sides together, on top of the ties. O and lay concrete blocks under the ties, flat side down. 3 to a tie. Then I put another 1in 4 X 8 on edge over the crack made by the 2 laying down. I then nailed a 2 X 4 the length of the upright on both sides. I then set up another at each of the outher edges on the 8ft sides, naled a 2 X 4 to the floor edge, and then to the upright edge, on both 8ft sides. then I put a plywood piece on the back edges of the 2 flat plywood pieces. I nailed 2 2X4 s on the 4ft edge of the pieces laying down, and then to the edge of the piece standing up. I then used 4ft 2X4s to box in the back upright edges to each other, on either end, and in the middle on both sides. Now all that was open was the front of both bins. I again ran 2 2X4s on the sides of the 3 uprights, with one on each side of the center upright. I nailed a 2X12X4ft at the bottom of the 2 bins. Then I sawed 6 1X12X4ft and left them loose, not nailed. Each bin will hold way over a ton. nearly 2 ton. If you put a ton of shelled corn in one and a ton of wheat in the other, you will be covered, year round. and as you use it 1/2 up, one side or the other, you can refill it at your leasure knowing it will easily hold another ton. You will have to put this inside a existing shed, or bild one around it. You will have to screen off the sides from possus coons and birds. You must let your cats be able to gt around it to keep any mice away. I find that if I buy a ton of shelled corn in bulk. They giove me the equalof 2350lbs for the same money they would give me weight wise if I bought it in the bag. Hope this helps. If having questions about the building of it, my E mai is Farming20@webtv.net
     
  17. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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    He caters to folks that want the taste of a home raised hog, not commercial stuff. Folks know what he feeds them and how much better they taste.
     
  18. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that a hog is an omnivore, and will eat durn near anything. I had a friend who made quite a tidy profit feeding them fish heads and guts, that were a by-product of his commercial fishing business. Of course, he'd mix in other foods as well, and was always sure to corn them out at least 3 weeks prior to slaughter.

    Bread works well, but since it is mostly carbohydrate, it puts on fat easier than muscle, which is fine if you are raising a pig for lard. ;) But combined with other foods, it does fine.

    Corn down here is $20/barrel bought at the local feed store. A barrel holds about 350 pounds.

    The secret to raising pigs on a small scale, and not losing your shirt, is always going to be the price of feed. Find cheap feed, of whatever kind, make sure to corn your hogs out well before slaughter, and you'll always finish ahead of the game.

    The best small enterprise I ever saw, was where the manager of a local pizzaria, fed his pigs pizza and beer. The pigs were rather happy, also.

    My .02 cents, YMMV.
     
  19. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    I know a guy that charges by the hanging weight but equals very close to the 1.00/lb live weight you spoke of. People want to buy local. They trust the local guy. Even though he uses commercial feed and medications/antibiotics just as commercial farms do. Really not any difference to me.

    I feed corn and soybean and some scraps. Worm them once early with the safest wormer I could find. Charge 150.00 flat rate. Usually got to 225 live weight. Still make money when only raising two at a time. Not enough to pay for ALL of my costs but a lot of it. I basically get really cheap pork. If I sold 2 and keep 1 then it's be free. My feed is about 7.00/50lbs.
     
  20. David Booth

    David Booth Guest

    If you are only raising a few pigs here is how we did it for next to nothing in feed costs. Our local food shelf throws away hundreds of loaves of good whole grain bread most weeks. I also get other good food from them. Some weeks a lot, other weeks very little. A local baker has returns available for free when the food shelf is low. I would try to go just once or twice a week for bread. Every night I mixed the bread with water and feed this to the pigs the next day along with kitchen and garden scraps. I tried for a balanced diet and it seemed to work just fine. The butcher commented on how nice they looked, and the pork was delicious. Since then I've also arranged with our local food co-op to pick up a 50 gallon tote of produce scraps once a week. They pay to have them composted so I figure that this is saving them $500 or so a year. I benefit from really tasty eggs with bright orange yolks even in the dead of winter, and lower feed costs. They also like the bread. The key is to ask around where you are already have to go so you don't have to make lots of extra trips. Most people seem to really like the idea of their garbage being turned into food. If you are reliable and show up when you say you will, they will delight in feeding your pigs and chickens. Good luck Melissa and happy foraging! David