Raising some pigs

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Fire-Man, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Need some help here--never raised pigs/hogs-----Lets say I just got me a few weaned pigs, now what do I do. I know I got to pen/fence them---I am talking about---what is best to feed them now------when they get bigger do I change their food? Do I castrate the males---at what age? I was thinking of growing a acre or two of corn just to fence in for them ---but I figured it would be better for them to get some size before I turn them into a corn field. So I was trying to get my timing close so they would be ready about the time the corn field is ready. While they are in the corn field should I still feed them---Some kind of feed? How big should I let them get before I --put one in the freezer? Thanks for all the help-------Cow next!!! LOL. Randy

    Thought of a few more questions here---------Worming, when and how often----App how much does it cost per lb to process a hog---if I hire it done? Problems that I would need to watch out for etc. Thanks
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    3 weaned pigs will require 30 bushel of corn to take them to market weight (220 to 240 lbs) You will need to adjust the protein by the use of soy meal or alternative. 450 lbs of meal is all you will need for the 3 pigs. The corn in the field should be mature 85 days prior to THE DATE OF THE DEED. You need to have the pigs a total of 115 days. This means you will need to feed the pigs for 30 days after you get them as 50 lb weaners and then the introduction to the corn field. In SC you will not need shelter, you will need an electric fence and a small pen. The pen is for the pigs when you first bring them home. Water and shade are a must. I doubt if you will need to worm the pigs unless they are farrowed in a contaminated facility.
     

  3. RedHogs

    RedHogs Well-Known Member

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    A # of crops would be better than corn..... rape, turnips, oats, and clover.... even a mixture. Some will pasture feeders, I prefer to pen raise.... you will need 20% starter and then step down to 18 and 16%.... you are in the heart of commercial hog farming and should have plenty of choices... your choices will probably be the main commercial breeds.....modern hogs require higher protein than in the past, 12% is just not enough to finish out. your weaners should already be castrated, if not avoid the farm and get some from a reputable source, ask about pseudorabies.... you and me are in a very high risk area, your pigs should come with a photo copy of a heath inspection that is dated recently. I don't think the corn field idea will work to your satisfaction, a corn field is better used by gestating momma hogs. and electric wires must be a long ways from the corn or timber your hogs are out. We both have very warm soil, so worming will be much more critical to us than those farther north... I now worm monthly.... this may be overkill, but i sell breeding stock and don't wont to have sold a wormy hog.
     
  4. chrisntiff

    chrisntiff Well-Known Member

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    The cheapest we could find here in Md. to process a hog was .38 a pound . This was for bare minimum, it was 25.00 to kill and an additional .20 a pound to wrap and freeze. This makes for a grand total of about .60 a pound and this doesn't include hams and bacon which are an additional .90 a pound. So I figure at .60 a pound for a 300 pound hog plus .90 a pound for 40 pounds of cured meat you are at about 216.00 for processing. This was outrageous to us so we processed ourselves and were very happy with the results! Good luck,

    Chris
     
  5. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    Whoa Whoa Whoa. Slow down and do this one step at a time. Housing and fencing is first, right after feed.
    Feed can be bought at a feed mill, the first should be high protein for starter and then switch to grower and then to finisher.
    I would raise no more than three to start and the piglets I get are already castrated, weaned, teeth clipped, tail docked and iron shot so They get a good healthy start.
    We don't have the trouble with pusedorabies and we never worm ours as they never reach much over six months old. We butcher at 250 lbs or as close to that as possible and we pay $20.00 kill fee, and 32 cents lb cut and wrapped.
    As far as growing your own feed I will bow to the expert hog raisers.

    Housing in cold climate should be so the hogs can get out of the wind and also stay dry in cold cold weather, IMHO, we just cut a doorway into my barn and put their feed and water inside the barn in a cattle paneled pen. The outside area of their pen is cattle panels and t posts and barn siding at the bottom.
    Hope this helps as this is the way we are wintering our pigs this year.

    Summertime, we have a different pen and different solutions for different living conditions.

    Our feed mix is; 1600LBS ground corn
    430LBS SB meal
    20lbs 15% mineral
    4lbs salt @$0.07
    4lbs vitamins a,d&e


    No Antibiotics, no growth hormones no medication whatsoever.

    Store bought feed all has medications in it and that is why we have our specially mixed.
     
  6. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    1. Make contact with your County Ag Agent. Likely they have literature they can get for you.

    2. Write to: Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of CA, 6701 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland, CA 94608-1239 and ask how you can order a copy of "Handbook for the Small-Scale Pork Producer". Nice little handbook on subject.

    3. See if your local library can obtain a loaner copy of:

    - Riasing PIGS Successfully by Kathy and Bob Kellogg
    - Small-scale Pig Raising by Dirk van Loon
    - Raising the Homestead Hog by Jerome D. Belanger
    - Swine Science (current edition) by Ensiminger (really more of a thick textbook)

    4. Read every thread on this forum.

    Personnally I recommend you not even acquire any until you have done a couple of months of research and have everything ready for their arrive.

    One aspect to keep in mind is how you are going to get them reloaded to take to the processor. Many an old family story revolves around either pig load days or 'the pigs are out'.

    If you are going to buy feed a bag at a time at the local Farmers' Co-op or such it can be siginificantly more expensive than purchasing it a ton or so at a time at a feedmill. Is there even a feedmill still in your area?

    Also check where there are local processors. Locally there are only two, one about 35 miles and the other about 50. You normally have to schedule several weeks in advance and had better not miss your drop-off date.

    When you have figured out all of the costs involved, including the cost of equipment and housing, you are likely to find you are basically paying supermarket prices for the pork. You do have the advantage of knowing how it was raised though.
     
  7. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    I'd go so far as to say it will cost way more than store bought if you bring a hog to a processor. It seems to cost about .80 per live weight. Now if you figure a 50% return on butcher meat. then thats about 1.60 a pound. I can get boneless pork loin at the store for 1.89 a pound almost always.
    The above costs didn't feed or buy the pig in the first place. If you add the cost of feed and to buy the feeder pig....... You lost alot of money.
     
  8. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Don't have the figure for pork, but the average retail cost of all cuts of beef (from prime steaks to hamburger) has hovered around $2.65 for a fair number of years. Sometimes more and sometimes less.

    I know some folks who buy in bulk while on sale then use a freezer. They normally don't take into account the depreciation on the freezer or the electricity to run it when computing their savings doing so. That is something to also consider when you have your own processed.
     
  9. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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    Aye, that you do. I would suggest training them to electricity with two wires, one at low knows and one at walking nose level inside a physical barrier type fence. This will make it easier later if you want to have them on a larger area. Electric fencing is wonderful - once they're trained to it.

    For housing, I would suggest giving them shelter from the wind, rain, wet (from below) on a raised spot and then a deep bedding of hay. Pigs will eat hay which is good for their digestion and traps valuable fertilizer nutrients. This also makes their manure smell better - adds carbon. If you smell it you're out-gassing valuable fertilizer you could be saving for the garden. Add hay.

    If you're using a commercial feed then you start with a high protein mix (around 20%) and decrease. This saves money since protein costs.

    We feed pasture/hay, whey, excess milk, cheese and I don't worry too much about the exact levels of proteins and such. The pasture/hay vs dairy gives a excellent mix if you do out the math which I did years ago. More importantly, they grow very well in the real world. There is a lot of concern about exact feed mixes. In a factory farm situation that is more of an issue than it is on a homestead. Variety is good.

    You can. Might not need to. If you're going to it is easier when they are smaller. Try doing it and not doing it. Compare the pork to test how it comes out. See if your line of pigs needs castrating or not. I am leaning to not castrating - in our experiments with boars up to 14 months of age there is no boar taint. Boars grow faster and put on more muscle for the same feed. Some people have a problem with boar taint but not all lines of pigs have that issue. I have heard from someone who is studying this that the darker breeds have more of an issue with it. Read these articles for some of what I've found:

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2005/11/to-cut-or-not.html

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2006/03/boar-meat.html

    I've done that. Works. I don't have a lot of tillable soil so it isn't a big thing for me. Kind of experimental. Some people run the pigs behind the crop harvest so the pigs clean up any residue.

    Depends on how much food is there. Note you can grow another intercrop with the corn creating more balance.

    Bigger is better up to about 300 lbs. For market it is generally at 225 lbs to 250 lbs because the growth rate slows down there. If you are taking them to a processor you generally pay a fixed slaughter fee no matter what the weight so it is cheaper per pound to do a bigger pig. Yield is about 60% - that is to say a 225 lb pig hangs at about 135 lbs and will probably put about 130 lbs of meat cuts in your freezer (bones in).

    I only resort to wormers beyond that if needed for a adult (sow). I've never needed it for growers or finishers. But, I totally pasture, intensively rotational graze manage which means the pigs leave the parasites behind to die off and we are in the north country where the winter kills off parasite loads. There are a number of natural worming feeds including pine, garlic, cayenne, whey, milk, etc. See this article:

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2005/10/worms-au-natural.html

    Around here it is high, $40 to $45 per pig for slaughter and then about $0.45 per lb for cut and wrap based on hanging weight. That comes to about $100 to $130 per pig for processing. See this article:

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/2006/07/what-is-half-pig-share.html

    If you are willing to do it yourself you will save a lot of money. It is not hard. You can find how-to's in books and on the web.

    Lots. You'll stub your toe on some of them. Get the book "Small Scale Pig Raising" by Dirk von Loon. Excellent read. Read the old discussions in this forum. Google a lot. Visit http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/pasturedpigs/ and read the back articles there. Visit http://thepigsite.com
     
  10. RedHogs

    RedHogs Well-Known Member

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    on the castration issue.... I've just got a report back from a customer that reads this website alot and decided to not castrate.... because of what is often posted on this website. they bought two cross gilts and boar, decided not to breed early on, i stressed the need to cut the boar..... they slaughtered at 275-300 lbs and got great meat off the gilts and total loss on the boar meat. Boar taint is a real possibility, why chance it.
    Barrows are 42 cents a pound
    boars are 12 cents a pound

    there is a reason for this differece.
     
  11. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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    Reasons:
    1) it may not be necessary - why not test the lineage and fine out before doing it?
    2) feed differences may make it unnecessary - research is being done on that.
    3) pigs are normally slaughtered at a young age where there is no taint.
    4) boars grow faster and put on more muscle for the same cost making them more economical.
    5) Question convention and decide for yourself.

    I'm not saying there is no such thing as boar taint. There is. But it is not in all breeds or lines of pigs. Not only that but it sometimes appears in female pigs as well as castrated male pigs and boars.

    Rather than castrating, I'm aiming for a breed that does not need it. Best of all worlds. Seems to be working fine. Of course, you're free to castrate to your hearts content. But people should know the other side of the story.
     
  12. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks Everyone for the info---I will "Think" about all this before I decide to raise some pigs, but I will probably have to try it. I want to get as self-sufficient as possible on my place----This would give me another type of meat other than chicken and rabbits. I will learn to process the hogs myself!!Thanks!! Randy
     
  13. elkhound

    elkhound Well-Known Member Supporter

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    randy good luck with the pig raiseing.i miss not killing pigs on thanksgiving morning.it was a tradition in my family growing up.the men was out at daylight building a fire for the scalding barrel while the women folk cooked away in the house.by noon we would be done and all would sit down to eat.then go back to the chore of quartering up the hogs.we always done it and done several for other family members who lived a few miles away.it was a good tradition.

    i just asked about pigs at the local food lion.....they have pigs in the 100# range for $1.39 a pound.it is hard to beat a price like that.but its not home grown......i want to build a new pig pen off the ground this year and have a pig for thanksgiving morning.my 90 year old grandfather will be happy to have homegrown pork.

    the castration thing....with the loss of several 100 pounds of meat why would you want to risk that.i have raised several pigs and my family has raised alot.we just castrate as soon as we by the pigs .most people we bought from just done it for us when we showed up for the pigs.if not we just done it ourselves.not a big deal.....but keep some disinfectant on them till healed up.a local guy who done alot of castration for all the farmers around this area....he done all animals...would use a water lysol mixture and had no problems with infection at anytime.also if you do cut your own pig use a knife not a razor blade.the rougher edges heal faster.
     
  14. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    As to boar taint. We harvest deer in the rut and eat lots of mature males of other species. I've done pigs wild when they were so stinky I could barely stand it while butchering but had no problem with the meat. If they stink then don't touch the skin and then touch the meat. I've heard similar complaints about grass fed meat of all sorts--too gamey. Some people are overly sensitive to certain flavors, especially when they think that food is supposed to taste a certain way. This isn't McDonalds and we should not be trying to make all of our animals taste like it. Ranging hogs will produce different flavors depending on what they are eating and they really do take on flavors more than other animals do. I wouldn't feed mine that pre-mix hog pellet at all. May as well go to the grocery for meat like that.

    If you intend to sell your pigs commercially then you should follow their rules. Tag it, cut it, feed it what they say. If you want something good on your table then give it grass, lots of grass. If you are going to butcher early then cutting is not neccesary. If you do what the commercial guys tell you then you will get "commercial quality meat."

    I feed supplemental extruded soy, corn and nutrients to 15% protien. I don't change the mix and I give my pigs lots of green matter. They grow fast and taste great. One thing to be careful of, sometimes when you give them a lot of something that they are not used to then they can get scours. I'd give them a little corn stalks to get them accustomed before just letting them have all they want.

    Sincerely
    Husband o'G
     
  15. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    Hey Chris,
    Horsts in Hagerstown only charges around $150 for up to a 300 lb. hog, including ham and bacon and vacuum sealing. Just in case you ever get in a spot where you don't want to do your own. We were very pleased with the job they did.