Having pigs is probably one of my favorite things. We should be getting weaners in again in about a month.
Nothing goes to waste here because of the pigs. All the vegetables that were over-ripe before you picked them, or the 50th zuccini you harvest, or that whole bed of lettuce that the weeds overtook? It all goes to the pigs. All our kitchen scraps go to them as well, just we don't give them meat.
They also plow the ground very well. They go places where John Deere cannot go. They did a wonderful job reclaiming so ground for me which was full of blackberries and thistles. They just stomp it all down.
I believe each one costs me around $250 to feed. The processing through a USDA facility is around $250 as well (depening on how much curing you have them do). I will say with certainty you have never eaten pork as good as the stuff you can raise yourself. Pork should not be a white meat and animals that get exercise will have a gorgeous flavor a nice pink color to their flesh.
They are very easy! Food water, cover and they are happy as clams. A pen made of hog panels stuck together with t-posts is about all they need in terms of fencing and a lean-to that stays dry is plenty of cover.
I love pigs
Only doing weekend, once-in-a-while chores at other people's farms and at my aunt's house.
They stink. A lot. I would put the pigpen area as far from any human habitation as possible. Unlike chickens, which only smell when they are dirty and not being kept properly, pigs smell all the time no matter what. There is nothing you can do about this either--pigs don't sweat, they need a mucky area to wallow so they can cool off in the summer. The wallowing area will stink and have flies. Their pen will stink even if you are pretty diligent about scooping poop. They poop a LOT. I mean, A LOT. You will never, ever keep on top of it, you just have to kind of resign yourself to the fact that when they are bacon, they will smell better.
They bite. Sure, they are pretty smart, they can be trained to be somewhat gentle and come when they are called for food. If you raise them from piglets to be gentle with humans, they might not bite. But if you are not handling them much, or don't want to be too attached to a food animal, they can get bitey. For this reason, you will want a sturdy fence and be assured that the neighbor kids aren't going to want to climb said fence to pet the cute piggy.
On the plus side, they eat everything. Kitchen scraps, acorns, grass clippings, bugs, other pigs...Obviously not an ideal diet, but you can feed them just about all your table scraps and garden waste, and they will love it. Downside to that is obviously, they eat a LOT.
They are not hard to butcher yourself, if you've got the stomach for that. The skin separates from the meat really easy, compared to a deer, because of the fat layers.
Mine have always been very tame. They don't know their own strength and can pull a feed bucket right of your own hand. But I've never had a mean pig.
I keep my pigs in with a single strange of polywire, the thick kind people use for horses which are larger and better visible. Once they have been zapped once, they never go back to it.
I also don't find my pigs to be smelly. I think 'smelly pigs' may be a by product of people keeping them in small pens indoors. I pasture raise all mine and they're too busy digging holes and wallows to have time to smell badly!
This year we made our own bacon, sausage and we're curing a proscuttio (it's hanging on our porch right now). We'll be trying salami in another week or two when we get around to it. Salt + Pork is proof god loves us.
how appropirate, My son helped my uncle take 2 to the butcher this morning. He keeps them in pen and cleans it regularly and they dont smell alot. If they are to be kept outside just give them plenty of room, and be aware - they are strong! My dad raised pigs and they would break cinder block walls. I think outside electrified fence would be good, like someone said once they get zapped once they will learn and it wont hurt them. My uncles bacon is like nothing you will ever get at the store, wonderful. You have to be careful in what you feed them as far as corn and grain so they dont get to fat, you want meat not fat.
I raise pork every summer for a fall butcher. They are very easy to take care of. I pasture raise mine. They do a great job of clearing the weeds out of my dry lot. Easy to feed and I highly recommend that you try to raise them. The meat is wonderful. Provide them with plenty of shade and you should be fine. Good luck.
Oh my! thanks for all of the tips! I'm going to print all of them out and save them in my 'pig raising book'.
I have a very over grown area of my property, i will probably put a fence up around it and they will have lots of shade from a few big trees. There is also this big hole from a truck getting stuck a few years ago, so they could use that as a mud bath.
It is quite a ways from the house at least 600 feet. plus there is a small tree line between the house and the 'potential pigpen'!
Is there a such thing as too much exercise??? Will the meat get tough with too much exercise? Maybe that is a stupid question...
My darling boyfriend has butchered many animals in his day, but never pigs, although his father has, so we might try it our selves.
TEXASGIRL.....your piglets are adorable!
Thanks so much for all the tips! Keep 'em comin'!!!
The more exercise the leaner the meat. Our bacon and roast have very little fat on them. My pigs would run all the time. They are very fast. My husband and I can clean and butcher anything. We were going to process the meat ourselves, but then we thought about all the smoked parts. We didn't want to risk ruining the bacon, hams, and the smoked hocks. The butcher that we used package the meat so nice with labels easy to read and we could see the meat. It was worth the money.