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Hired Hand
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering adding pigs to the homestead this spring. I'm not new to live stock but but I'm a really newbie when it comes to hogs. I found some information at the local co-op but was hoping that there might be some good websites or suggestions for books to read (i.e. pasture / housing requirements, feed & care).

I was also wondering if there were any good resources on breeds, including mature weights and sizes. I've seen big sows used for breeding and the little dwarfs that some folks keep as pets...is there anything in between?

Any advice will be sincerely appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Well, in between would be a 6-month 260 lb. gilt. They are nice to handle. Then she will keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger... Most folks around here just keep a gilt for 2 years (3 breedings) and move her, keeping one her gilts. Then again, you can always keep a 1000+ lb. sow around!
 

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Hired Hand
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Discussion Starter #3
Mamagoose…you’re scaring me here. I’ve been bit, kicked, butted, pecked, knocked down, squished and thrown, among other things, by different critters but I’m getting a visual of being chased by a 1000+ lb sow whose got her undies in a knot about something or other. I obviously still have a lot to learn about pigs. Well, it will give me something to do on the long, cold winter nights ahead. Thanks for the advice and the smile.
 

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Joe, just raise a couple for the freezer every year, that's what we do. The book Small Scale Pig Raising by Dirk Van Loon covers about everything you need to know.
Get a couple of 30-40 lb weaners and go at it. Good fences and a sense of humor when you come to load them at 260-300 lbs for slaughter are a must!!

Carol K
 

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If you are interested in having pigs for the pigs as well as yourself, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has a great website.
I myself dream of getting the Gloucestershire Old Spots breed.
yea, yea, high dollar pig, I know.
Michelle
 

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I really like Storey's Guide to raising pigs, as far as books go. I have two guinea hogs I am raising for meat. I really like them because they are relatively small (mature weight around 200 lb for a sow), and they are a rare breed that is in need of conservation. They used to be fairly common on homesteads. Oklahoma State University has a really good website on breeds. As much as I am enjoying my first foray into pig-raising, I will be glad next month when I have an appointment with the butcher! I feed them in the barn, and they must go up a ramp and through the stock trailer to get to their food, so loading them will be no problem.
 
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