Trying to start with piggies in Damascus

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by dla, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    Met a guy in my neighborhood who buys a bunch of piglets in the fall, fattens em over winter, and slaughters and sells when they're grown.
    Where do you buy them and for how much, how do you house them?
    If we got ten, how much should we expect to pay for food?
    How much space would they need?
    Will electric fence work to keep them in? How should we space the wires?
    We have an old barn and old pig sheds (very broken down), a lot of uncleared, wooded land and hilly grassy areas, but no fencing.
    I don't want them to destroy the grass on the hill, but there is an existing barn there with water and electric, and there is alot of brush and poison ivy nearby that they could root up for me.
    Or we could run electric fence around some of the trees in the woods and let them clear it out for us. Would just have to keep them far enough away from the creek.
    Any thoughts?
    Old posts to recommend?
    Hubby wants to buy pigs on Tuesday at a local place so we need to decide on fencing and location, like, today. :eek:
    Thks,
    Debbie
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Shut them in the barn where there is water. My best advice would be to start with less than 10 pigs. After you raise one group you will have the experience needed to get larger or perhaps quit completely. With winter coming it would make your life much easier to have them shut in a place that you are positive they will still be the next time you go look.
    You will find that they eat like hogs. They need feed in front of them all the time. 600 lb of good feed should be enough to grow a little pig into a big ole butcher hog.
     

  3. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    UNcle Will, it is so encouraging to hear from someone, thanks :cool:

    Am I doing the math right on this?
    If I get them at 25lbs or so and keep them 6 months or so and they will need 600 lbs of feed and weigh maybe 220lbs...
    Then I suppose I'll get 80-100 lbs of meat from each.
    So, plus labor and fencing, I am spending the cost of 6lbs of cracked corn per pound of meat.
    If I keep did not keep them inside all of the time, tho, wouldn't it be a lot less need for straw and mucking out and all?
    Not scared of the job but not wanting more of it than I need to do.
    So you think the electric fence is too unreliable?
    Ouch :(
    I sure don't want to chase piggies through the woods all winter, that's for sure.
    DH wonders if they are vulnerable to foxes when we first get them. I can't imagine a fox after a pig, but who knows?
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Whatever you decide, don't turn the pigs out in an electric fence enclosure when you first get them. Until they get trained about the wire, about all the electric wire will do is speed them up as they go charging through it. You have winter snow and it will cover the fence. Not a good thing Martha. Pigs in a small pen will do their toiletries in the same corner all the time. put their straw bed in a seperate place and it will last longer than it will if they are running outside and getting wet. If the space inside the barn is crowded, buy 3 wire hog panels and make a little outside pen against the barn.
    A fox is not likely to bother pigs above 25 lbs but a coyote would. So would stray dogs if the get in a pack. Another reason to have them safely inside the barn at night.
    They will grow better if you mix soybean oil meal and minerals plus salt with the corn.
     
  5. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,286
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    WV
    You can get very high quality pigs from mr. lechliders out on route 108 going towards laytonsville. He usually has some little ones this time of year, and sells them for about $35 apiece.

    If you get them from westminster, be aware that they may be infected with something, or may have been taken from their mother too early, in which case you may have some of them die. that happened to us last year. I bought three at the auction for seventeen bucks each, and one died. bought another six from mr. lechliders and they all lived, and got much bigger than the auction ones.

    we keep ours in a fenced area that has our garden in the summer. we add mulch (gotten for free from some tree companies from gaithersburg and damascus) and by the end of the pig season, there is about a foot of good, composted mulch that we can use for our garden. if you'd like to see it sometime (we live in damascus) pm me and I'll send you our address.
     
  6. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Hogs are hard on fences. I've used hog panels and T-posts with fair success, but they'll eventually ruin them too. Electric wire is helpful with hog panels but like Unk says, they go the wrong way when they get shocked.

    If this is your first time, I'd follow Unks suggestion with the barn and hog panels. They need shelter for certain or they'll be living on your porch or under your house.

    I always try to start my hogs either in the summer so I can take advantage of free food. Right now, mine are gorging on fruit and will be headed to the butcher in a couple more weeks. I have raised them through the winter, but they consume considerably more feed and I have to put in lots of straw.

    If you want them specifically for weeding, they really need to be confined to a pretty small area, otherwise they don't do an adequate job. I once had a thistle problem and made a pig tactor out of used lumber, put a few hogs in it and let them work the ground really well, then drag it a few feet to new ground. Gotta make sure to put a cover crop on it right away though.

    You and your neighbors are in for a real hard learning curve if you take on 10 hogs without adequate preparations for them.
     
  7. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    What I've been trying to get across to you is not that an experienced hog person can't use electric fence for hogs, but it does require a wee bit of experience, both with hogs, and with electric fencing. I'll have to admit that doing what you suggest will get you that experience a lot quicker than you may want it to.
    It is always best to walk before you run.
    You don't want the pig enterprise to turn into a hate them miserable hogs situation.
     
  8. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,072
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    I agree with Uncle Will, start out small. I for one knew how big pigs get, but nothing prepared me for the first time one big pig get's out when it's just me and the kids home to herd it back into the pen, lol. That sweet pig that let me pet it thru the fence and would take apples from my hand turned into a pig that could outrun me, and looked like it wanted me for dinner!! :eek: :haha:

    We started out with one, before that one was butchered we got another one. Our second one is going to be butchered on Oct. 14, and I think we are ready to try more pigs at a time now. We used hog panels, t posts and then we rolled logs that were 40' long and at least 15" thick up along the bottom of the panels. It made the pen very sturdy, and as far as having 2 pig experience, lol, it cut down on their rooting along the fence line.

    Our biggest mistake was using 10 tie-straps to close a corner area. We thought that if we needed to get in there we could cut the straps and enter easier than undoing wire. The first pig broke out of that corner. Now we use wire, and so far it holds up to the second pig. Plus, we just climb over the panels to get in the pen, which is faster anyways.

    To move the pig, we use the bucket over the head, grab a tail and move. It's slow going, but after trying to use plywood and getting knocked on my butt, it's the easiest way we found!

    Most of all, have fun, pigs are fun to have around!
    Deb
     
  9. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    This is so EXTREMELY helpful.
    Okay, so I go to southern states and check into hog panels today, call Mr. Lechliders tonite(thanks bunches Chuck), and laugh at Uncle Will's jokes all winter :haha:
    mljjranch, I am chuckling at thinking of ME trying to corral the swine in a four wheeler while my kids' sides split.
    Thx for the advice all.
    We will start with three I think and go for the panels or something similar.
    Again, thx so much.
    Will let you know how things turn out.
    Deb
     
  10. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    Update:
    DH found some steel bars which were part of some industrial shelving which he says should hold pig, cow, whatever. They have one screw hole at each end so he will add two more to attach to driven posts.
    He proposes to put one at ground level, and then leave 4 inch openings between, making a 30" fence.
    Pigs don't jump, I assume, but do they climb?
    Will 30" be enough?
    Four inches seems like it ought to keep them in even when they are little...
    We don't plan to electrify since these panels should be pretty tough, and just watch for digging when we feed.
    Can we throw the droppings into their forage area, or will they revolt?
    We have an area we plan to put wood chips or straw into about 12' by 12'. (This is a section of an old barn on the property with stone walls on three sides and a roof, so it should be warm enough. Plus there is a kind of stall area at the back where they should be extra sheltered)
    Then they will have a rough area to dig in outside the barn about 9' by 37' (the length of the barn.
    Thanks oodles folks, DH plans to get more than three pigs now that he has the yard figured out.
     
  11. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    Sorry - another question...
    Can we throw food with bones to pigs?
    I read somewhere that a gal tosses dead chickens to her pigs. Can you really do this? (sounds wild :eek: )
    (not that we hope to have any to toss...)
    But how about a turkey carcass (after being cooked and picked), or whatever. Will they get hurt by the bones like a dog will?
    And...
    can we house some bachelor roosters in the same house as the pigs, or will they fight/eat each other/get each other sick?
    I like the roosters for spreading the manure and getting the bugs.

    Also, DH wants to make some kind of feed trough. Can we make it a size which will work from when they are small to when they are grown?

    I am ignorant, I know... But I really appreciate the advice. :eek:
     
  12. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    I don't know that bones will hurt them, but it wouldn't be worth while to take the risk. I had a pair of geese with a group of pigs. The gander thought he was their boss. He would chew on their ears until they would get up fromin front of the water fountain. They would squeal for a bit then jump up. Sometimes he would be standing on their shoulder doing the chewing bit. When they jumped up, he'd fall on his butt, but he'd hop up and get his turn in the mud and water.
    When I sold the hogs, he got right in amound them in the alley way and got tromped on. They had him eaten in about 2 minutes. I guess his bones didn't hurt them, but I sold them within an hour.
    Chickens have run with pigs for centurys. If the roosters are pretty good size, and the pigs aren't very big when they are put together, the pigs will not pay much attention to the chickens. The chickens will get all they need to eat right in the hog pen.
    Farmers used to make their own hog troughs. They took 2 wide 2inch planks and spiked them tightly together forming a V shape. A piece of plank about 2 feet long was nailed across each end. If you done a good job, the trough would hold water. To stop a minor leaky trough the farmers threw a little dirt in the bottom. To keep the pigs from rooting or laying down in the trough, narrow slats were nailed crossways across the top of the V shaped trough.About every 8 inches. The slats save feed from getting tromped into the dirt. And any manure that you move would be best taken clear out of their pen. The chickens will already have their gourmet delights pecked out of it. Good luck.
     
  13. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Hi Debbie, guess who.
    When you put up the hog panels, they need a steel T post at the ends where they meet. They also will need a stake of some sort on the outside at the middle of each panel. Two stakes would be even better to keep them from pushing the center of the panels out causing them to raise up from the ground a little bit. A little bit is all they need to push their way to freedom. Wire the panels tightly to the T posts so they can't be lifted up.
    They sell cattle panels that are much taller but don't have the narrow spacings at the lower part. BUT There are also what they call combination panels that are cow panel high and do have the narrow spacings near the bottom fro little pigs and beagle hounds. There isn't a whole lot of difference in the price of them and the other types of panels. Then next year when you gets some cattle, you will already have the cow high panels.
     
  14. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    Okay - another stupid question...
    What is a T post?
    We have used 4x4 posts for horse fencing, and rond posts for fencing.
    Are you talking about those black metal posts we used to use for the laundry line, stand about 6ft tall and are usually cemented into the ground?
     
  15. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    They are steel and are about 6.5 feet long. They have little lumps all down one side to keep the fence from slipping down on the post. If you look at them from the end, they are shaped like a T. They are sold wherever farm fence is sold. The place where you find the hog panels most likely would have them. They come in bundles of 5, and should cost $4 or less each. When you drive down a road with farm fence, it is very likely you might see them holding up the fence. They sell a steel post driver to pound them down into the ground. It is a hollow pipe about 3 inches in diameter with a heavy weight welded into one end. You just stand the post where you want it with the driver slid down on the top end of the post, and start slamming the driver up and down on the post. The posts will have a flat plate fastened to them about 2 feet from the bottom end. As soon as you have the plate into the ground, stop pounding. In most cases that is deep enough. You will also need some wire to fasten the panels to the posts, and you will find many other places where it will be a big help holding up gates and such. The fence place will have little rolls of "brace wire." We'll get into what brace wire is intender for when you get ready to put up some wire fencing. If you buy some don't get it any heavier than 11 gauge. This don't make much sense, but the bigger the number, the smaller the wire. 9 or 10 gauge will be so stiff you would have a hard time useing it. The old timers used baling wire. Its soft and easy to twist together to fasten things. Not many balers use wire today.
    Have you got your pigs lined up yet?
     
  16. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    We keep calling our recommended source, but so far no answer.
    It is going to be pretty pathetic if we get this all set up and NO PIGGIES!

    But I'd rather be on this side of the learning curve than the other (the one where DH comes home with chicks and says "Look what I got - now where will they live????" and they end up in the powder room for a month (NOT kidding...)
    But he's great, really. He knew what you meant about the posts - we use them for setting up temporary grazing for the horses to get them to eat what we are sick of mowing.
    So I am looking at our pig house, and I am wondering how we are going to get the manure out. We have a hose in the building for the concrete areas, but the only way out is over the pig yard. I guess I'll keep a sheet of plywood there when I'm using the wheel barrow, and we'll have to keep a gate close by.
    Still, it is alot of manure, right?
    I'll start back exercises tonite...
     
  17. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,286
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    WV
    dla, who are you? Have you been to my house? :)
     
  18. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    If you water them and feed them outside, they may not do their business inside the barn. Pigs tend to all go in a corner of their pen if they don't have a lot of room. If you limit their inside space until they get started using a place outside, they possibly will not mess up the inside of the barn. The outside mess can sometimes be left to pile up until the hogs go to pork chop heaven. There won't be a huge amount. They can get by without very much straw in their bed. Te thing to watch for is the mud they carry into their bed from outside. It turns to a powdery dust. When they stir it up just a little, they have to breath it. We used a mix of used oil and diesel fuel to sprinkle inside where ever the dust seems to be. To much dust can cause dust pnuemonia that is not a good thing Martha. Controling the dust in more important than having much bedding. The oil will also help control hog lice.
    Buying corn at farmer prices can mean the difference between profit and loss. Premixed feed from farm stores that is in sewn up bags, can often cost twice what the farmer sold it for.
     
  19. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    Feeling paranoid??? :haha:
    No, seriously, my daughter worked for Sheryl for almost a year and we are friends with them (cryptic for others, but you'll get it.)
    Met you when you had a load of bread from???? for your pigs, and, as I said before, you got me into this. :)
    As well as telling me about the site, which has been a big blessing...
    You had told me about your pig plan breifly.
    That's how it all came about- sorry if I was weird - I didn't want to be personal in a public forum, but sure wanted help.
    DD got your number and you probably got her message.
     
  20. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    356
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
    Location:
    Damascus, Maryland
    Uncle Will, you are a fountain of info and I am very grateful.
    Plus you're a card, and my kids laugh and laugh at your jokes.
    But who is Martha???

    We may try driving to Lancaster for feed if it is that much of a difference in price for us.
    There are no "real" farm prices this close to the Disrtict of Columbia, I fear.

    We have a fellow who rents some of our fields while we are getting the hang of things, and HE is growing corn... Kind of weird to think of buying from him, but who knows???