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Discussion Starter #1
Those of you who do raise or have raised sows for weaner piglets production -- what are the economics of the operation? How much does/did it cost to keep the sows, how many piglets per year, how much income did the project bring in? Why did you stop, if you have?
 

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first off a sow will have 2 litters per year ,and with proper feed she can have upto a dozen or more little ones ,note that does not mean every sow will farrow that many pigs or raise them all. try caculating the feed requirements of your brood sows per day then multiply by the month and figure the cost of any and all incedentals ,ie vet expenses and the cost of A. I. , that is if you wish not to keep a boar. but his cost may be lower that A. I. ,unless you are shooting to sell 4-H pigs.also are you going to pasture the sows or confine them. I would highly recomend the book that is published by Interstate Publishing on livestock or there book on swine. both should be avalibe from the library. read them first then come to your own conclusions. I think that you will enjoy the challange and that will offset the higher goal of cash profit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Most of my land is forest -- where I would put them is currently a lot of ferns and moss and bigleaf maples, alders and Douglas firs etc. Not what you'd call a pasture... but they'd have some room to move.

What are the titles of the books you're recommending?
 

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Well, there is strictly business and there is business. Strictly business is not something I do. I raise my pigs on a half scale. My wild mixed sows are half the size of domestic sows; they eat half the feed and take half the space, though I give them as much space as I can and they certainly have room to run and root. With swine feed going up $4 per 50# sack in the past year I quit commercial feed and started to mix my own. My girls and guy have never looked better and I'm paying less for feed than I was before the price increase. Being 1/2 size means they only produce 6-8 piglets per litter. My price at weaning is $25 (5 weeks). I make about $350 per sow per year (on paper). It costs me about $200 to maintain each sow through the year.
My mom sends me her kitchen scraps and I use mine and I feed calf manna as a supplement. I don't skimp on food but if I can find something for free I will use it- I also give them grass. I just added a 16 x 20 garden area to the side of their pen and they are clearing it for me (minimal labor on my part). I plan to close it off to grow a garden twice a year and then let them in to till and clean up. I'm going to add another garden on the other side of their pen and do the same. If I can sell every piglet at my target price/time, I will come out slightly ahead but things don't always work out like that- it is my goal anyway.
On the plus side I place the humanity and compassion of the operation. Twice in the past month people have come to look at my pigs and I've been paid high compliments. One of those was after butchering and on the quality of the meat and organs. I constantly have fresh pork in my freezer and if my [Cuban] family shows up, I always have a "fatted calf," so to speak. I've been to other swine operations and they are disgusting to me. I know I pay a higher price for my pigs but I feel that in certain matters it wouldn't be worth it to me to cut corners. Three of my sows are lactating and they look gorgeous. The piglets are shiny and round. They root, they run, they congregate around my feet when I'm with them and beg for scratches. Last year I lost money because my sows were growing out but this year- at worst I will break even. I try to keep the scale balanced between my family and my swine. All else being equal the scale tips in my family's favor slightly but if it comes to running an operation like I've seen elsewhere, I will quit before my animals and my place look like that.
 
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