Trying to work my way to free pork

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Bishaj, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. Bishaj

    Bishaj Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    Here's a question for all you experienced pig raisers out there. If I were to purchase 4-5 feeder pigs and raise them to about 200-250 lbs, put two in the freezer, and sell the other 2-3 as home grown for slaughter would I come out ahead or at least even to the point that my freezer meat is free?
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Don't count on it. Unless you can find feed for next to nothing, and butcher them yourself. Having them butchered is costly.
    Also feed bought at farm stores it way overpriced.
     

  3. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,769
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    It depends on how you feed them. We pasture our pigs. They forage for almost all of their own food. We already own the land and pay the taxes on it so those are not costs to consider. The raw outside cost per pig for us is the piglet plus about $75. This makes it so one breaks even easily. The only negative is it takes slightly longer for the pigs to reach slaughter size - but I'm in no rush.

    But, if you pen the pigs and use commercial feed then you will probably lose out. That is the expensive way to do it.

    If you're in our area we still have six piglets left for sale (white Yorkshire) and will have another set of litters in the spring - available about April.

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    in Vermont
     
  4. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

    Messages:
    847
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    River Valley, Arkansas
    We do exactly that. We raise some and only put one in our freezer and our pork is free to us, including butchering. We do the same with lambs.

    last season we raised 5 piglets and ended up at the end with four hogs. One had to be butchered early. We sold three and made the cost of our feed and butcher costs back.

    We used bulk (Bagged feed is too costly and has lots of antibiotics and hormones in it) feed made according to our wishes. Picked it up in 1000lb loads and stored in clean 55 gal plastic barrels until used.

    We had the customers pay for their piglets up front so we would be sure they would buy them at the end of the season.

    The safest way would have the customers in place Before you buy the piglets getting a down payment to cover the cost of each piglet, and charge enough per lb on the hoof to cover all the food plus your initial cost of your piglet (s)

    We have people ask us to raise them so we don't have the problem of looking for customers at the end of the season. Also no cost for advertising.

    Good luck
     
  5. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,769
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    Interesting. This is what we're doing too. We breed our sows and sell the piglets. If the customer would like we'll raise the piglets to size for them on our pastures and deliver them to the butcher so the customer only has to pickup the cut and wrapped meat. We charge $50 for fall piglets and $300 for raising up the pig to butchering weight. A couple have people have also wanted mid-sized pigs for roasts.

    This is our first year to offer this but we've gotten a very enthusiastic response. I was surprised at how fast the latest batch sold out.

    We advertise with posters, an add in Its Classified and by word of mouth of course.

    I am curious as to how much you're paying for bulk feed. We don't use feeds except for the sows the month before and after farrowing. I've been looking into buying in bulk but haven't made that step. Tips on storage? How long will it last for? Mix ratios?
     
  6. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    998
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    SC Kansas
    I raised 4 this year, and kept track of my costs for feed and the piglets. If I had sold 3 of them, I could have had cheap (cost of processing) meat for myself. We chose to give one to my DW family, and another we donated for my family get together. The other will sell and help some. It would have cost people ~$2.00/lb processed. Not too bad. We pastured and fed some feed bread which is real cheap, and some customed mixed feed that we purchase 1000 lbs at a time. Might try more next year, and sell them this time.
     
  7. Bishaj

    Bishaj Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    Thanks for tips everyone. I guess the basic answer is that it can be done but I have to be careful about feed costs. One thought I had is since the area I'm moving two is about 2 hours west of DC, seems like I could market to that crowd and would be able to charge a considerable premium? There's always some city person with more money than they need who will pay big bucks for home grown items. Who knows. Sorry Highlands, but I'm in VA and I probably won't be buying till the spring.

    This has brought up a further question in my mind which is; is worth it to maintain a sow or two and inseminate them?

    I've seen references to spring and winter piglets, do sows have two litters per year?
     
  8. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,769
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    I think so. We have four sows, two of which took producing 26 piglets this fall. We will let them gain condition for about two months and then breed them in December for March piglets for the spring season. We have a boar from another farm come to visit the ladies.

    Yes, typically two. Some people push them to three but that is hard on them. Since ours are primarily pastured I like to do just two litters a year so they can recover. I've read it results in larger litters to let them do just two a year.

    In the winter as the snows get deep we keep the pigs, sheep and birds in garden corrals after they can't pasture any more. That results in really nice garden soil and virtually no weeding.

    Good luck,

    -Walter
     
  9. VApigLover

    VApigLover Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    King George, Virginia
    Bishaj,

    Hello, We live about two hours south of DC ourselve's. Years ago lots of the Amish folks used to raised pigs locally, however the corn belt out west made local profits fall short of the cost of feed up here, so many if not most quite raising swine and switched to something else. Needless to say that not near as many folks raise pigs as they used to. So you have got good news and bad, good being not many raise pigs anymore (marketing is easier I think), bad is the feed can get more expensive that say the folks out West.

    Just the word of mouth at work drew lots of folks wanting me to raise a pig for them, although I only have three hogs right now, they were all called for when I purchased them and will soon find a good home in various freezers.

    I feed my pigs with a commercial Southern States Starter/grower/finisher stuff along with corn, slops, but usually the good stuff. The piglets cost me 40 dollars a piece, a Duroc and two Poland China's. So Far I have spent about 400 dollars on feed. They currently weigh really close to 400 pounds each and look really good. (we like our hogs big), so to go to the standard weight of 240 it would be 100-150 dollar cheaper than where I'm at. Bottom line, that's about 125 dollars each to 240 pounds each (or close, I'm sure if you bought locally processed feed you could do it cheaper). All this does not take into account the cost of installing fence, pig house, etc.... If I counted that then I would not have any fun raising pigs! However buying a local pig from a slaughterhouse would cost me 200 bucks for the same size hog (only slaughtered for a Pig roast) futher processing into bacon, hams, pork chops would be added to that cost. Again others may find cheaper I am sure, you generally get what you pay for I think.

    The part I really like is that the meat I raise and slaughter myself (years ago, its been a while as I have just got back into this myself) tastes much better than anything I can buy.

    VaPiglover
     
  10. Bishaj

    Bishaj Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    Wow, I have a lot of information to digest here.

    VApiglover,
    Do you purchase your pigs from a sale barn or do you have a local source? I've also read another thread that talks of a Mr Lechlider up in MD that's about 2 hours from where I'm going to be. That's not too terrible of a trip, but it would be nice to find a good local source.
     
  11. VApigLover

    VApigLover Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Location:
    King George, Virginia
    Bishaj,
    I had a hard time finding at first. Then through the advice I saw on various posts, it was suggested to try the local county agriculture department. I left a message, and to my surprise they called me back and provided me the names of a couple of folks who sold the type of pigs I was looking for. I was after Duroc pigs, the fellow who sold them also sold Poland China pigs as well. His market was for the 4H show pigs, but the part I liked was the price, only 40 dollars seemed reasonable to me, and the pigs turned out great as far as I was concerned (don't know or care if they could win a show). He is located in Orange County, about two hours from where I live, but probably closer to Winchester area.
    Most of the sale barns I checked required a commercial license to purchase lifestock, so that seemed a bust. Word of mouth did not get me very far either. If you want I can provide the name & number of the man who sold the pigs to me, I plan to purchase from him again as we are really pleased with what he is raising.
    As far as raising pigs, turning or not turning a profit, I still can't think of any way to get better tasting pork than home grown! I'm sure you can do what your posted thread asks, there are many ways to skin a cat, and there are more ways to raise pigs, one thing I do know, you can learn a lot on this site. Lots of people here that know far more about Pigs than I, thank goodness!

    VaPiglover
     
  12. Bishaj

    Bishaj Active Member

    Messages:
    42
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    VApigLover,

    That would be great. I checked the map and Orange County isn't too bad. I'll still check for a closer source, but it'd be nice to have one solid contact. I probably wont' be buying till the spring after next, but I beleive in planning ahead as much as possible.

    Thanks again
     
  13. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    510
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    SE PA, zone 6b
    I just finished reading the new Gene Logsdon book All Flesh is Grass. The theme of the whole book is the benefits of pasturing livestock. He speaks of rotations of several grains, with pastures of clovers and grasses. He uses a minimum of supplemental feed if at all. I think the whole process is quite elegant.

    Sandi
     
  14. BillHoo

    BillHoo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,158
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Late one night I was working with a cheapskate friend and we stopped into a major-named franchised donut shop.

    Curious, my friend asked what do they do with all the stale bagels and donuts? Do they go to the stuffing factory?

    The answer was "No", they are thrown into the dumpster out back each night around 1AM. A homeless guy comes by and they give him a buck to drag the bag to the dumpster. In all the years this hobo has done this, he has not once taken a donut out of the bag.

    My friend then asked if he could take a bag or two of donuts and bagels to a scout troop he works with. They said "Sure. Go a head, we'll pack them up with an old box for you to make it easier to carry!"

    So there we were with about 50 pounds of stale donuts and and bagels for him to serve to his scout troop.

    I'm sure pigs would enjoy them as well, but I've heard that pigs fed on fast food tend to be much fattier and the meat tasted really bad and had to be thrown out. I guess it's all that saturated fat and hydrogenated criso they use.

    I'm guessing the bagels would be fine.

    Also, workin in NYC, I've seen the deli-buffets that charge the lunchtime crowd by the pound, tend to throw out all the stuff each night around 7:30PM. there are a couple homeless folks I see each night that go through the bags and pull out trays of sweet and sour shrimp, ribs, fried chicken, tofu, vegetables, lo-mein, etc. Soup is put into plastic bags and put curbside in buckets or boxes. another homeless guy seems to specialize. He hits all the bakeries in town and collects rolls and croissants.

    If you don't live far from the city, you could probably get your pick of items for your pigs by negotiation with the managers of these establishments.

    If I were raising pigs, I would start their meal off with a nice bucket of chicken ceaser salad, followed by either clam chowder, or shrimp gumbo. Lots of buttered rolls! Their main entre would vary from day to day with fried chicken, roast beef, or pasta with meatballs, or sushi. Desert would probably be Jello with fruit, or old cottage cheese with fruit.