Winter pigs???

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by simplyflow, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. simplyflow

    simplyflow Well-Known Member

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    We are new to raising pigs and would like to do so. My question is would you get feeder pigs and start them in the fall? We get 250 inches of snow (give or take) and fairly cold temps in the winter. What do pigs need to get through the winter in good shape? We don't have room in our tiny barn for them, but would make what they need if we got them.

    Also, I've seen 220 to 250 lbs tossed around as the weight at which to butcher. What's the average it takes to grow a pig that big?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    We formerly raised pigs at the northern tip of WI just west of you. We raised them year around. We did not get 250 inches of snow, but we did get a lot of Lake Effect snow and what Earnest Hemingway aptly called "The 3 Day Blow".
    We raised pigs in a 3 sided Plywood box with a roof. It was about 6 feet wide and 8 feet long. By Thanksgiving we would stand a small 4X4 round bale of hay on end so as to all but seal off the front open entrance, leaving just wide enough a slot for pigs to enter and exit their house as they pleased. Inside was a dead air space with no drafts or wind.
    Then we filled house with old hay about 3 feet deep :) .
    Pigs did splendid. When you went to feed them on a cold blustery morning with the windchill nipping at -65F below, you would peer into their house - and NO PIGS!...Rattle the feed bucket and they would emerge from the hay and come running for the feed.
    The positives about raising pigs in winter are: No odor, no mud, clean pigs.
    The negatives are: Less gain per pound of feed, as more of the energy in a pound of feed is diverted to maintaining body temperature and maintainance, and less to weight gain. Winter pigs may take 2-3 weeks longer to finish than summer pigs in your climate.
    In winter watering the pigs will be your biggest inconvenience. The good news is that in winter the pigs' water needs are greatly reduced, and so you will only need to carry a small amount once daily. With your amount of snowfall, it behooves you to position their winter pighouse/pen near your water source, so you are not saddled with excessive time on snow removal to keep a path clear to the pig house. We watered once daily in a 12 gallon Rubbermaid Tub. If any water was leftover and froze, you could simply flip tub, jump on it to remove the ice puck that had formed and refill.

    One other consideration: The pig breeds with long hair(red pigs) do better. Duroc or Herford or crosses of those breeds will fare better in cold weather than short haired (white pigs) will.
    The "average" hog should grow to butcher weight by 6 months from it's birth. Mileage may vary with feed, weather, breed of hog, jada, jada, jada.
    *Not sold in stores, LOL*
     

  3. Rogo

    Rogo Well-Known Member

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    I've always got 4 week old piglets. They were 250 pounds by the time they were 5 months old.

    Living in the sunbelt, my problem is the opposite of yours. I'm waiting until winter to get some piglets. We're still in hundred degree temperatures. Should start going down soon.

    I also only let my hens hatch eggs in the winter, since it's more comfortable for them.

    We don't get snow, but it's cold in the winter (to us). Hay will be spread in a loafing shed (3 sides and a roof) for the pigs to eat and snuggle in. All my stock roam free.

    Don't really think there's 'averages' unless it's between your own stock. Depends on many things and everyone does things differently. Sometimes you have to experiment to see what works for you and your critters.
     
  4. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Pigs do well in the winter. They need protection from wet and wind. Cold is not much of an issue. Snow is not much of an issue. We do not have a barn. We use open sheds that are oriented to face to the sun (south east for us) and block the wind (north, northwest). We provide lots of hay. In the winter the pigs eat about 0.8 lbs of hay per hundred weight per day. They also snuggle down in the hay at night and for most of the very coldest days.

    Enjoy!

    Cheers

    -Walter
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    in the mountains of Vermont
    http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
    http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
    http://NoNAIS.org
     
  5. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Walter what is the current market price of your round bale hay for the upcoming winter?
    Here 1250 to 1,400 pound 5X6 Round Bales are running $40-$50 apiece.
    The smaller 4X4 750 pound bales are $30-$35 apiece, but uncommon as very few people bale the smaller bales here.
     
  6. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    *grin* I just had that question yesterday from someone on my blog that question. Most round bales are the smaller 4x4's around here. Hay varies from about $25 to $40 per 800 lb 4x4 wrapped round bale here in northern central Vermont in 2005 through 2007. I pay about $3 to $5 per bale for delivery in bulk. Small square bales (40 to 60 lbs) go for about $1.50 (mulch) to $3.50 (horse hay) and about 25¢ to 50¢ per bale for delivery. Cheers, -WalterJ
     
  7. simplyflow

    simplyflow Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info...one other question: Can I feed them the same that I feed my goats? I mix 2 parts crimped oats, 1 part cracked corn, and 1/2 part black oil sunflower seeds. Will that work for them and do they need any other extra minerals like goats do?

    Thanks again!
     
  8. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    That looks good but I don't know as I've not fed those things. I would probably soak the feed, preferably in milk or whey to increase digestibility and to add lysine to the mix (a protein).
     
  9. simplyflow

    simplyflow Well-Known Member

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    OK, thanks. Understanding the soaking.

    What do you feed? I need something simple with no "mystery" ingredients.
     
  10. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

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    You might want to do a search on Swedish deep bedding for hogs......the composting of straw generates heat......
     
  11. LittleRedHen

    LittleRedHen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am in the lower Penin..... and my pigs mostly wanted an area to keep their snouts warm and the wind off them. They did quite well in the snow and i think they do better in the cold than they do when its super hot
     
  12. simplyflow

    simplyflow Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! I talked to a pig breeder friend of mine and she's got two for me that will be ready in 2 1/2 weeks! Looking forward to our first pig adventure!
     
  13. LittleRedHen

    LittleRedHen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    for my feed, its mostly corn, then comes soybeans, and some oats.. i forget what else but i know the majority is cracked corn