New to pigs

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Lynnette, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. Lynnette

    Lynnette Michigan Hobby Farmer

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Hi All,

    I am new to pigs but DH and I want one in the freezer by next Winter. I am trying to learn and learn fast as I know prime buying time is now. My brother in law keeps insisting on giving us a pot belly pig as he raises them and plans to butcher them off. We have told him no thanks, but he doesn't get it. :confused: Feeder pigs are called feeder pigs for a reason just as pot belly are pets. :1pig: I don't know much but I know I am not raising a pot belly to eat. So anything anyone can tell me, from housing to diet, to breed recomendations would be great. I am researching online, but to me there is no subsitute for advice from people who have done it and/or are doing it. Also, I live in Michigan so anyone who has any to sell and lives in Michigan I may be interested.

    Thanks,
    Lynnette
     
  2. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    It isn't hard Lynette, but there are some considerations to fencing etc. Also, there are numerous ways in which to do this. Are you considering an "organic", pastured approach (which I recommend) or are you simply putting them in a pen to 'fatten' in as short a time as possible? Diets, breeds and housing arrangements are as varied as there are people doing it! I suggest a book on the subject even though you are in a hurry. You need to know what you are looking for in buying a weaner and you need to know what to feed and when. A good book is "Storeys Guide To Raising Pigs". There are others.

    In a pinch, you will need an enclosure of some sort that is sturdy along the bottom so that they don't root out. You will need a simple house that is enclosed on at least three sides to keep out blowing wind and rain. You will also need your feed. when they are young and growing, they will need a higher protein feed around 18%. That can be dropped down to 16% when they are older. They can be fed freee choice if you are in a hurry to get them to the processor. As far as breeds go, the old heritage breeds are more expensive and harder to find nowadays, but it is a gourmet type meat with more intramuscular fat. The taste is distinctive and highly sought after. The modern "white" breeds are leaner but will still taste mighty fine with a good diet of wholesome food consisting of veggies, grains and protein (milk, eggs, meat, alfalfa)
     

  3. Lynnette

    Lynnette Michigan Hobby Farmer

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Thanks John,

    Storey's huh? I have the goat book already and I just ordered the Sheep book, and the rabbit book, I have found Storey's to be a very complete resource. I have been raising rabbits for over a year, so perhaps I should have ordered the book then, but I have had great success with my rabbits, and I consider myself quite knowledgable, but there is always room to learn more. I will be adding the pig book to my collection. Thanks for the input, I am sure it will help me.

    Lynnette
     
  4. smokie

    smokie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    50
    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    michigan
    where ya at in michigan? i am gettin another batch of weaners soon. i am 22 miles north of lapeer. i useually raise 2 diferent crosses i get from a friend for around $30 each. one cross is duroc/old spot, and the other is tamworth/old spot. both are nice in a diferent way, the duroc cross have nice hams and the tamworth cross has nice chops. if you are interested i will let you know when they are ready, and set somethin up.
     
  5. Lynnette

    Lynnette Michigan Hobby Farmer

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Thanks,

    I think I am a little to far from you to contemplate it. I am near Muskegon on the West side of the state.

    I appreciate it though.
     
  6. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    851
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Location:
    Ky
    potbellies are great food. 99% of the world that eats pork, eat potbellies. Some of you store's hotdogs have potbelly in them. There is an extremely rabid terrorist subculture that is campaigning against eating them. If you want to raise pork and turn down free pigs, that's not good business sense, but it's your farm, do what you want. The biggest problem with potbellies is they are hard to fence. Does your BIL have a website? If so, I'd like to see it



     
  7. Lynnette

    Lynnette Michigan Hobby Farmer

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Sorry no website, but thanks for the tip.
     
  8. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    Well...part of raising pigs is raising the breed that you want to raise. Personally, I wouldn't raise potbellies either. Nor would I raise Tamworths, or any number of other breeds....and the only reason for this is because I like to raise Large Blacks. Another person will want to raise another breed. I don't think Lynette is doing this as a business, so I understand her choice to not raise potbellies. Good luck and please let us know how you make out.
     
  9. Lynnette

    Lynnette Michigan Hobby Farmer

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    No it is not a business for me, just to put some meat in the freezer. We were anticipating having goats to butcher but none of our does were successfully bred. So now I am hoping my rabbits kick it into over time and that we can get this pig things figured out. I will let you know how it goes.
     
  10. HobbyfarmingMO

    HobbyfarmingMO Member

    Messages:
    19
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Location:
    Missouri
    :cow: I have a pot-bellied pig and I would never eat her ... just seems gross to me. Maybe because we feed her special pot-bellied pig food and I wouldn't want to eat anything grown on it.

    As for hogs ... we butchered our first hog in Feb. She was a mix of some sort ... nothing in particular. We only had her 7 mos and then had her butchered ... she weighed 224 and we got 175 pounds of pork back from the butcher and we paid $109 to have it done. Best and most juicy pork I've ever eaten. We only fed her pulverized corn and any scraps we have from the kitchen. I had people try to tell me to put her on hog grower, but I'm trying to keep it as natural as possible. I don't think I want to eat everything that is in that grower. My amish neighbors raise Duroc (spelling) mixes and what I have recently purchased are from them. My new ones are much more stocky than our first one, so we'll see how they do.

    I don't know what other people have done, but this worked for us. Have fun! Pigs are addictive ... I've found out that I'm definitely a pig person.

    Forgot to mention that we use hog panels and my first pig climbed right out through the bigger squares, so I had to put chicken wire over the higher sqaures that are bigger. It as tiny sqaures on the bottom half ... I never figured she'd manage to squeeze through the higher squares. And you need to have a place to allow your pig to get out of the weather, a shelter of some sort. Some hay is good too, they like to burrow into it to sleep.
     
  11. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,386
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    Keene-Green-Bratt Triangle
    I have my first pigs this year too. They're ~3.5 months old and are fun so far! I have no experience yet with slaughtering anything, and they are so fun and so cute that I still wonder how I'll deal with that. I definitely recommend getting two or more; one pig would be pretty miserable, and they run around like puppies much of the day. Did I mention they are cute?? :rolleyes: Since I got them during the winter, I used a plastic 55 gallon drum as a shelter, cutting off one end with a circ saw. It was free and is sturdy and rain/windproof. I put it inside a wooden frame I scrounged from a pallet pile, to prevent it from rolling around. A dog igloo or calf hut would be even better. but they are pricey. Plenty of hay or straw for warm fluffy bedding. When they outgrow this I will take the advice of Bill in OH, who recommended using 4 T-posts with a plastic tarp stretched between them, two of them lower so the roof is slanted for rain runoff. I have them inside electric poultry netting; the zap is rather weak but their noses are very sensitive and it works well. Good luck! :)
     
  12. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    851
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Location:
    Ky
    The plastic Igloo will last 1-3 seasons. The Tarp idea will last 1-2. They are nice as a quick fix, but don't plan on them as permanent. Pigs will destroy them just as something to do, even when they have plenty of acreage to roam, they will eventually destroy their own home
     
  13. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    I bought 4 weiner's from a neighbor for $50. each. A Duroc Hampshire cross
    boar, 2 Hampshire Spot cross females for breeding and a Hampshire Spot
    cross for the freezer this winter. We have them in a 75 x 50 next years
    garden site with woven wire field fence. A strand of elec wire 8" off the
    ground, a 3 sided 10 x 8 hut on skids with roof made from cull lumber
    (cost $35.), one round bale to play with and lots of grass. When the pigs
    get bonded to the area I will open the fence for the pigs to cross a small
    field to the woods. The small field will be open to the pigs to plough up for
    next years organic asparagus planting. Feed is purchased by the ton,
    cracked corn, soy and trace minerals for $150. We give them eggs, kitchen
    scraps and next month cows milk. Hope to sell all natural milk raised pork for
    Farm Market customers. Just my take for your thoughts.