Getting Pigs !!?? What Kind & Where To Buy ??

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Helena, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    Husband and I are thinking about raising a couple of pigs for the freezer. After reading all about the cow problems lately thought we would give it a try. We would put them into a buck house and outside pen that we have used in the past for our buck goats. This way they would be outside and able to go inside if the weather is bad. I am confused to tye kind/type to buy. Does it really matter ?? Are there certains weights or sizes you should look for. And where should we buy ?? The auction houses or probably from local farmers ?? At what age do you butcher ? Any help you can give us would be appreciated...going to start my reading up on Raising Pigs ! Wish US luck !!
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pigs are easier than most animals mostly because they can eat like a pig and just get fat, not sick. The smaller they are the less they will cost you. Any breed that farmers raise will make good butcher hogs. Weaning pigs or feeder pigs (same thing) that are sold at auction barns mostly weigh between 20 and 60 pounds. Right now I think around $.60 per pound might buy them. The difficult part is finding only 2. Most of the time they sell in the size group that was brought in to the barn. Sometimes they will sort out a runt or two to make the rest look and sell better. If there are any hog farms near you you could check and see if they might have a couple that they might let you buy. But them might be runts also. Most times the runts will do better when they aren't pushed out by the group. Pigs will most likely weigh above 200 pounds at 6 months of age depending on what they had to eat. The popular size to butcher them is above 200 lb and under 300 lb. They require all they will eat for maximum gain. Most hog feeds have corn as the base and soybean oil meal mixed in to increase the protien percentage in the feed. And they can get out under a fence that barely has a crack under it.
     

  3. MamaWolfInWV

    MamaWolfInWV Well-Known Member

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    We have Hampshires but I think that is mostly because it is just what we found at the time we decided to get them. I don't think that there is really much difference between breeds, except the Yorkshires I have had didn't seem to want to grow beyond roasting size (anyone have an answer for that one?). If you aren't really concerned about breeds then auction barns are fine (based on that the pigs sold at auctions here are usually mixed breeds). They are required to have shots (at least in WV I don't know about anywhere else) before they can be auctioned off so I would say that it is safe to buy from there. If you do go that route I would however recommend a 7-14 day quarentine from the rest of your animals just as a precaution. That is just my opinion and something that I do with all animals just to be on the safe side, I could be way off but that is just me. I have bought pigs at auctions before and got nice size pigs for a fraction of the cost breeders were charging. I once bought a 250# barrow for $60. Roasters usually sell here for $10-50 depending on how many pig buyers are there. Breeders usually charge $35-$100 for weaners. We usually butcher between 6 and 10 months depending on the size of the hog and how much space is in the freezer. One thing I would highly suggest if they are going to be outside is ring their noses, they will root their way out of the pen and root up everything within a 50 mile radius :haha: (figure of speech of course but they are a walking, oinking Roto Tiller :) ).
     
  4. A lot of people will tell you to not buy from a auction barn. But if you go and watch the sales for a few weeks you will get an ideal as to what to look for and how much one will go. There are some sorry pigs that come through but there are also some high quality pigs that come through also. What breed is something that depends on the buyers need. Some breeds are bred for more fat to make more lard and soap with. Some are bred with bigger hindquarters for bigger hams. Myself I like the Yorkies cause they seem to be extra long bodied which means extra porkchops on the platter.
     
  5. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've been pondering this myself. I want Durocs because I think they are a good-looking pig, are relatively calm, and have good gains. Unfortunately, white pigs are in fashion these days -- and I can't stand white pigs. However, one breeder told me that Yorkshire and Landraces have longer bodies, therefore more teats(?), and they will have larger litters -- a consideration for weaner pig producers. Berkshires are supposed to be the best-tasting pork. It is said that Japan will only take Berkshire pork (they are very particular customers), however Japanese are also very homogeneous in their consumption tastes. (It's that group-thang.) Whichever you choose, the pork you produce will be much tastier than that factory-raised, atrophied muscle stuff they sell in the supermarkets.
     
  6. bearkiller

    bearkiller Well-Known Member

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    Helena,

    Over the years I have raised most all the breeds and seen some, but not much difference for homestead hogs. Out of them all the Yorkshires have done best...that is why they are favored commercially. On the other hand Spots, Durocs, even Bershires have done well for me.

    Nobody has yet mentioned an alternative to the local sale barn. The biggest problem with sale barns is the volume of animals that passes through. Sometimes you bring home something you do not want along with your new piggies. An alternative is to check the bulletin board of the local feed store. Everywhere I have been people post when they have piggies. Usually weaners, already castrated, maybe 40-50 lbs.

    I try to always raise two together (or more) though pigs seem less affected than other critters when raised alone. The competition helps them to grow faster.

    Try to avoid the trap of purchasing all their feed. Some may be necessary, but if you plan ahead you can grow plenty of root crops, corn (feed the whole plant), pumpkins or winter squash, and acorns if you have them in your area. Give them alfalfa hay for a protein supplement. Mine get extra milk from the goats or whey if we are making cheese, plus table scraps.

    The typical homestead hog starts off as a 50 lb weaner and gets fed out to slaughter. Best slaughter weight is 220 lbs. If they are much heavier you have been feeding only to produce more lard...a problem only if you buy feed. By the time they get to 275 lbs their growth rate begins to slow and gains plunge.

    I always raise mine to come to call when I feed. Easy training and makes life easier later. Best of luck if this is your first time. Pigs are pretty easy!

    bearkiller
     
  7. ohio_kid

    ohio_kid Well-Known Member

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    We raised a red Duroc. She was very easy to raise. We fed her mostly corn and about every three weeks or so mixed feed with the corn, 11% protein, I think. My son pulled huge amounts of weeds every day and she loved it. We never gave her scraps or processed foods. She would do the happy dance for melons,pumpkins and stuff like that. The cold weather didn't bother her at all. She gave us two litters, ten in the first and thirteen after that. She weighed in at 450 when we butchered her and she gave us a lot of lean, tender pork. Getting 20 bucks a head for the babies didn't hurt either.
     
  8. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey, Ohio kid -- mail me 3 durocs piglets, please!! I'm kidding!, but I am having the hardest time locating anything but white pigs. 4H season and all that. There seems to be a distinct lack of weaner pigs in the Pac NW, especially any kind of colored pig. And they're going for $60 each here. I have sent out emails to the 4H offices of 4 counties and am trying to figure out how to contact FFA'ers, since I figure some of them may have some weaners lying around. Never thought it would be so hard to find piglets! I may have to resort to the sale barn, though I'd certainly rather buy direct from the farm.
     
  9. ohio_kid

    ohio_kid Well-Known Member

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    Hey snoozy, Sorry to hear of the piglet shortage out your way. I guess we been lucky around here, there is alot of small pig farms still in our area, so it's still pretty easy to find them. At times though, Durocs are kind of hard to get. When we decide to raise another, it will be a Duroc. I sure hope you find some before you have to go to the sale barn. Good luck!
     
  10. Carolinexxx

    Carolinexxx Member

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    I am probably the least qualified to give advice here as I haven't got any pigs yet!!
    Anyway I didn't know where I could buy pigs from so walked into my nearest farm (a dairy farm as it happens) & asked if they knew anyone who would sell me a pig. He gave me the number of I think the only pig farmer near north London! To start with the guy was a bit reluctant to sell me a pig, primarily because he thought I wouldn't be able to take it to the butcher after 6 months! But after chatting to him for a bit I think he realsied it wouldn't be a problem so he will sell me 2. He said they will be about £1 per kg (thats about $1.6 per lb) if they are around 20 kg. I am planning to get them 6 weeks old (about 12kg) & should be picing them up a week on Saturday.

    Basically you can't lose anything by just going up and asking! He has also given me quite a bit of advice & made sure I was aware of legislation etc.
     
  11. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Over the years, we've had a bit of everything, hamps, yorks, durocs, landrace. What matters most is that you get a healthy, well conformed animal, because all of those breeds (and their crosses) make good hogs.

    Buy from an honest farmer, buy barrows, and try to feed them as cheaply (but nutritiously as possible. Growing your own corn works well, and now's the time to plant, at least down here. At the last, I like to feed nothing but corn, to clean 'em out a bit.

    Slaughter at between 200-300 pounds, and you'll have some mighty fine meat!