Pigs for Dummies?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by savinggrace, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    I think I might 'take the plunge' and get a couple of pigs.

    Any tips/tricks you might offer (you know, the sort of things not found in books!)

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    All I can say is that they are an animal like no other. I've been around animals my entire life (but not many pigs) and pigs have an entirely different set of rules when dealing with them. I'm still figureing it all out. They don't herd so moving them can be tricky. They are smart. Most dig alot so decideing where to put them can be hard. I'm used to dealing with large animals but having a big pig that is extremely strong and so low to the ground can be intimidating. If they want to go somewhere its pretty hard to change their mind. Watch out though THEY ARE ADDICTING! Especially watch out if you have a sow farrow out some piglets. They are wayyyy too cute! Pigs can be very helpfull to have around. You can have them get your garden spot ready and being able to feed them your food scraps is handy. And I almost forgot, they are pretty tasty too.

    Heather
     

  3. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    They are A very Smart critter. They will eat Almost anything,Including You,If you fall asleep near A pig. But they are A great critter to raise. I trained mine so if they got loose ,They would come back to the pen. Just wistle A tune when feeding .They then know its dinner time when they hear the tune... Oh and you need A good Hog tite fence.
     
  4. countrygurl

    countrygurl Well-Known Member

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    electric fense not that expensive around $100 charger & wire we had lots of wire left over & clips not counting t-post.
     
  5. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Yup electric, and tape or rope is much easier to use than wire. Can cut it with scissors and reuse it. don't bother with poultry netting! Love love lovvve my piggies!:D
     
  6. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Well, they just sound better and better! :)

    For the pen, I was planning on making it about 20X60 (the length of our building) would you suggest I divide that? Would 2 piglets be happy in a 20X20 area to begin, then when it gets yucky let them use another 20
    X20 section, and when they are large the whole thing.

    Also, regarding bulk feed; what percentage protein do you like your pig feed mixed to? I read somewhere that too much protein can actually be harmful. Is that true?

    Thanks!

    Melissa
     
  7. HogEmAll

    HogEmAll Well-Known Member

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    I feed a 16% ration all the time. Most people feed an 18% ration to piglets, a 14% to growing pigs, and a 12% ration to Finishing hogs.
     
  8. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    As usual...I will pipe up about pastured hogs as an alternative to consider. As you are starting out, it will be easier to set yourself up right from the beginning. I would almost always suggest a heritage breed of hog like Berkshire, Tamworth or Large Black etc. These are better suited for outdoor operations and forage better than the white breeds. Pastured hogs will cost your less for feed as they obtain some of their requirements (up to 40%) from legumes and other natural food sources. The hogs can be contained within a large pasture with electric tape fencing and then easily moved around the pasture by simply moving the plastic electric fence posts to another part of the field. Pastured pork is healthier, tastes better and will give you better pastures. Not only that, but your labour will be reduced with manure management etc. There is quite a bit of information on Pastured Hogs online...do a "google". Good luck!
     
  9. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Hi,

    I am off this morning to go and check out some pigs! Actually we are late, the children are not moving very quickly after staying up way past bedtime playing slip and slide at a friend's house.

    He has a couple that are 100 lbs, and a litter of 7 that are 4 wks old. (ready to go in about another month)

    We are excited! I am sure I will run his ear off with questions, and will have more for y'all when we get back!

    Have a good one!

    Melissa
     
  10. famer_manda

    famer_manda I Love CHICKENS!

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    How exciting!! I hope you find one that warms you heart :p
     
  11. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    OMG they were wonderful! One in particular, a little girl, (white with a blue butt and a few spots) came up and said hello straight away. Even though they were just weaned this morning into a new pen!
    The litter is amazingly colorful-white with spots, light brown with white bands, one black and white, some with floppy ears, some not. Not a runt in the bunch, all the same size!

    The owner has had pigs for 25 yrs, he has very happy and well cared for pigs. He lent me 'Small scale pig raising' by Dirk van Loon', and I havn't put it down except to pick up and care for my new batch of chicks.

    Anyhow, I think I am in pretty good shape regarding equiptment, the location I choose to put up the pen should work out pretty well, I need to build a shelter for them, and place a bulk feed order.

    If all goes well, we should have piggies in 3 weeks or so! :dance:

    My best,

    Melissa
     
  12. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    It's great that you found some good healthy, well taken care of pigs with an owner that wants to help you learn about them. HAVE FUN WHEN THEY ARRIVE!

    Heather
     
  13. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    Does anyone use hoop houses as shelter?

    The pigs I will have will be 8 wks in mid July when I get them, so they will be done by November.

    The average temps here in July are 74F, in November 45F. Highs in July can get into the 90's, and lows in Nov. can get to 20-30F.

    Thank you!
     
  14. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Didn't you just love them? I bet you reserved that little girl. ;) I'm keeping my girl to breed. Check out Highlands' site for good ideas. Notice he's in VT and John is in AB and they winter their pigs outside with an open-sided shelter. I got my piglets in March from Walter and they lived very comfortably in a plastic barrel lined with straw (Walter's suggestion). http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2006/01/more-piglets.html
     
  15. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

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    For the first time ever, my husband is actually in support of me getting an animal! He thumbed through the pig book lent to me as well, (*on his own free will) and wants to go check the piglets out!

    This is amazing. My husband is a city boy through and through, and thinks unless you can take it to a boarding kennel, it's too much of a pain in the neck. (my husband really likes to go on vacations)

    One little snafu, the place I wanted to put the piggy pen won't work. The well is right there.

    So, I am going to have to put it over where my pastured poultry is now.

    There will be about 4 wks between when the poultry is there, and when I will want to move the piglets in. Is there anything special I will need to do to the dirt?

    Thanks again for all your help!

    Melissa
     
  16. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Hoop Houses are excellent. Just a few pointers. Take 2 4x4 or 6x6 timbers the length of sidewall. Using a circular saw or chainsaw, cut ends at an anle so they serve as skids like sleigh runners. Attach hoophouse base to these.
    Then you can move your portable hoophouse to different areas as suit you.
    Also, most state tax laws dictate that if you attach it to permanent in ground footings, it becomes a structure added to your property taxes. A portable shelter is usually not taxable.
    **In winter, obtain some inexpensive large round bales of straw or hay, roll one up to each end, leaving just wide enough crack for 1 pig to sneak in& out at the edge. This will form a dead airspace, draft free shelter inside house
    and you can tear off chunks for bedding source as winter wanes.

    What to do with dirt? Do not mow what grows. Let pigs ,harvest it! If you want to take it to the next level, throw some seed oats and cheap MAMMoth variety red clover seed on ground and let pigs harvest that.
    You're gonna have waay too much fun with this --if you have a perimeter fence to keep them where you want them, LOL.
     
  17. Suburban Farm

    Suburban Farm Farmer Wannabe

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    If here is a tail biter in the pens or you see any blood then you might want to stay away from those pigs. If you are planning on selling them to a packing plant down the road, most packing plants prefer yorkshires because they clean up real easy. Although hamphires have really good meat on them if you are just going to do a farm kill. I would stay away from durox pigs because they are hard to work with. HUbby works in a Pig Slaughter house and has raised pigs.

    Andy and Cheryl
     
  18. Misty

    Misty Misty Gonzales

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    Aside from one in particular sow, our Druocs have been loveys. They are my fave. They grow the fastest and have had the best dispositions.
     
  19. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    We like the Durocs because they seem to be very hardy and seem to do well
    in simple shelter, outdoor raising situations. They are good grazing hogs, and good mothers. Their disposition seems to be a good balance - enough vigor to protect their piglets and take adverse weather in stride, yet show no signs of aggression or meanness. Perhaps Suburban means they are more difficult to deal with in the slaughtering, cutting& wrapping procedure? We don't do this part so I couldn't say.
     
  20. Suburban Farm

    Suburban Farm Farmer Wannabe

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    Could be you had a better time with them then we did. Could also be better breedings then we dealt with. The ones that we have dealt with over the years have been consistantly stubborn compared to the hampshires and yorkshires. I will say though I prefer yorkshires for slaughtering. Just because they clean up quicker in our scalding tank than most other breeds. The hair doesn't seem quite as thick. With hampshire they have good meat on them but they take alittle longer to clean up. Plus there is alot of melenoma problems due to the black. Durox do have some good meat. They clean up ok.

    Andy