Pig Question in the MEAT Section

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by anthonyjames, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2009
    Port Washington, WI
    Hey all,

    I am looking to get 2 - 4 pigs next year. I have read a lot in this section about how people raise them but, I still have a few questions.

    I was thinking of getting them in March/April time frame. How long would I need to supplement with a heat lamp?
    And would a 3 sided lean to type shelter work in this area?
    If using them to clear a spot for a garden and I am getting possibly 4 pigs what would the recommeded size be of the garden?
    Would you keep them in their the whole growth cycle?
    What is a good age to process? 4 months, 6 months longer shorter?
    Do you purchase feed or do you just give hay for feed as well as fruits, root crops and any other stuff?

    I have poultry fencing from kencove they say will work. But does anyone have pig specific electric fecning from kencove or premier? Pros / Cons

    Thanks much
     
  2. animalsRawesome

    animalsRawesome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    As long as you aren't talking about getting baby pigs that still need a bottle they don't need heat.

    Anything that lets them get out of the sun/ weather would be fine. For the summer you want to make sure they have plenty of shade and mud, because they will get sun burn and thier skin will actually crack! (FYI putting bagbalm on thier sunburn heals it up quick)

    I'd say 6-7 months is about right, your ideal finish weight is going to be about 280lbs live weight.

    I would definatly offer them feed, along with scraps.

    *Also, try posting this in BYH (backyardherd), instead of BYC. They have a section just for pigs. There is a link to BYH on the index of BYC.

    Hope that helps. I love my pigs!!!!!! They have such a personality. [​IMG]
     
  3. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    We get our pigs at 8 weeks no supplemental heating needed in Vermont so probably not for you either. A lean to would be fine but you want to make sure that your fencing is top notch or you will be chasing piggys. We process ours at 8 months. Anything more than that and you are wasting food because their growth slows after that and they just basically add fat rather than meat. We let ours have about a 5 acre pasture and they will eat just about everything including all the weeds and scrub trees that you don't want. We give hay and feed and supplement with any pasta, veggies and fruit scraps we have from in the house. You can also speak to the stores near you sometimes they will let you set up a trash bin so you can collect the fruits and veggies that they are going to get rid of. Most are very good shape just out dated. We pretty much just use our own stuff. They will also eat grass clippings from when you mow your lawn. Just don't feed them any meat.
     
  4. animalsRawesome

    animalsRawesome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed mine meat all the time and in my experience have never had any problems. You just have to make sure that the meat is cooked so that they don't taste the blood.
     
  5. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bristol, VT
    I was told not to because it is not supposed to be done in the united states due to the chance of infecting the meat with things like trichinosis. Probably isn't a problem if it's meat that you have just cooked and fed to them right away but the livestock processor told us absolutely no meat so that's what we do.
     
  6. animalsRawesome

    animalsRawesome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    hmmm. never heard of trichinosis before. I'll have to google it. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  7. FarmerRob

    FarmerRob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 13, 2007
    Georgia
    Quote:If they are weaned piglets they should not need a heat lamp but they will need LOTS of clean hay to snuggle under--they will pile up together and sleep warmly.

    A three-sided shelter should work nicely, just make sure it has its open side away from the prevailing wind and is deep enough to let them get in out of the elements when they want to. Once they are older you may be surprised at how often they will prefer to just be out in the open.

    How much garden space they will clear will depend on how many pigs, what breed of pigs, what is growing in the space already, and what/how much you are feeding to supplement. If you put them in a fairly small space you may find yourself having to scatter pig manure. In a smaller pen they will choose one area/corner and do all their pooping in that one spot.

    Best age to process will depend on their diet and the breed you choose to buy. All pigs do not fill out the same. How much and what you feed will have influence on how well they fill out. Rather than age to process, I would be thinking size to process. The answer should be determined by what you want to get from your piggies. If you want your pigs leaner then process at around 200 to 220 lbs. If you want to have lots of bacon and fat to render for lard you will want them to get much larger and process from 260 to 300. (Remember what Paula Deen said, "Bacon is nature's candy!") Again the breed you have comes into play in this decision.

    I would recommend getting either three or four pigs. It is not really more trouble than getting two and you should consider that pigs are competitive eaters. If there are two they may spend too much time fighting over the food. If their are three or four they will spend more of time trying to eat as much as they can before the others eat it. Four pigs can stay warmer when they are younger and smaller also.

    Electric fencing is a must in my opinion but it is a psychological barrier. They MUST be trained to electric. Start them off in a small area that it hard fenced along with the electric. By hard fencing I mean hog panels, wooden pallets, 2"x4" woven wire, or other strong physical barrier that they cannot just push or run through. Then place several strands of electric inside at nose level. DO NOT get a weak crappy energizer--I would not use anything less than 6 joule output (Joules released or output is the only way to fairly compare energizers--miles of fence or acres is a BS deceptive way to market such a product.) You want to make a serious impression on them each time they touch the hot wire. (If you go cheap on the energizer you will probably spend a lot of time chasing escaped pigs around the countryside.) They will learn quickly to keep their distance from it. After a few weeks in the smaller pen you can put them in a larger pasture area. Just make sure that the electric wire used in the larger area has the same look as the first area.

    You will most likely want to add a feed supplement from your local feed stores. High protein helps them fill out much faster. In you area you might be able to get whey or cheese trim etc. from one of the many sources. You should read Walter Jeffries blog. Walter is in Vermont and uses that to supplement his good sized pig operation. Google "Sugar Mountain Farm Blog" and you will find him and a HUGE amount of information and advice that will be helpful for a new pig farmer. I also find lots of good info at the pig section of HomesteadingToday.com forum (Admin: I hope it is ok to mention other sites here. If not then please delete with my apologies.)

    A suggestion above is to feed scraps. That is ok if it is NOT post-consumer food scraps--from your table or any other. Pigs can get sick from eating after a human who is sick. If you are going to feed post-consumer food then you should heat it to boiling and cook it for 30-60 minutes and OF COURSE let it then cool back to room temp before feeding. That is a lot of trouble but keeps it safe for your livestock. The suggestion about getting throw-away produce from a local grocer is a great idea if you can.

    I wish you much success.
     
  8. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Bristol, VT
    We do feed whey because we have goats and process the milk from them. We also feed cheese as well. I would not recommend going over 250 pounds live-weight for your pigs though. We get charged extra if they are above 250 pounds when processed. If that doesn't bother you then there is no reason you can't go as high as you want for processing weight.
     
  9. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    Quote:If they are weaned piglets they should not need a heat lamp but they will need LOTS of clean hay to snuggle under--they will pile up together and sleep warmly.

    A three-sided shelter should work nicely, just make sure it has its open side away from the prevailing wind and is deep enough to let them get in out of the elements when they want to. Once they are older you may be surprised at how often they will prefer to just be out in the open.

    How much garden space they will clear will depend on how many pigs, what breed of pigs, what is growing in the space already, and what/how much you are feeding to supplement. If you put them in a fairly small space you may find yourself having to scatter pig manure. In a smaller pen they will choose one area/corner and do all their pooping in that one spot.

    Best age to process will depend on their diet and the breed you choose to buy. All pigs do not fill out the same. How much and what you feed will have influence on how well they fill out. Rather than age to process, I would be thinking size to process. The answer should be determined by what you want to get from your piggies. If you want your pigs leaner then process at around 200 to 220 lbs. If you want to have lots of bacon and fat to render for lard you will want them to get much larger and process from 260 to 300. (Remember what Paula Deen said, "Bacon is nature's candy!") Again the breed you have comes into play in this decision.

    I would recommend getting either three or four pigs. It is not really more trouble than getting two and you should consider that pigs are competitive eaters. If there are two they may spend too much time fighting over the food. If their are three or four they will spend more of time trying to eat as much as they can before the others eat it. Four pigs can stay warmer when they are younger and smaller also.

    Electric fencing is a must in my opinion but it is a psychological barrier. They MUST be trained to electric. Start them off in a small area that it hard fenced along with the electric. By hard fencing I mean hog panels, wooden pallets, 2"x4" woven wire, or other strong physical barrier that they cannot just push or run through. Then place several strands of electric inside at nose level. DO NOT get a weak crappy energizer--I would not use anything less than 6 joule output (Joules released or output is the only way to fairly compare energizers--miles of fence or acres is a BS deceptive way to market such a product.) You want to make a serious impression on them each time they touch the hot wire. (If you go cheap on the energizer you will probably spend a lot of time chasing escaped pigs around the countryside.) They will learn quickly to keep their distance from it. After a few weeks in the smaller pen you can put them in a larger pasture area. Just make sure that the electric wire used in the larger area has the same look as the first area.

    You will most likely want to add a feed supplement from your local feed stores. High protein helps them fill out much faster. In you area you might be able to get whey or cheese trim etc. from one of the many sources. You should read Walter Jeffries blog. Walter is in Vermont and uses that to supplement his good sized pig operation. Google "Sugar Mountain Farm Blog" and you will find him and a HUGE amount of information and advice that will be helpful for a new pig farmer. I also find lots of good info at the pig section of HomesteadingToday.com forum (Admin: I hope it is ok to mention other sites here. If not then please delete with my apologies.)

    A suggestion above is to feed scraps. That is ok if it is NOT post-consumer food scraps--from your table or any other. Pigs can get sick from eating after a human who is sick. If you are going to feed post-consumer food then you should heat it to boiling and cook it for 30-60 minutes and OF COURSE let it then cool back to room temp before feeding. That is a lot of trouble but keeps it safe for your livestock. The suggestion about getting throw-away produce from a local grocer is a great idea if you can.

    I wish you much success.

    I couldn't have said it any better, this is great advice! Just to touch on personal experience... we use an electric wire and train them at 8 weeks that way we don't have to set up a barrier fence in case they run through the fence. If they run through we just fix the fence and send them back through. Mind you though they are only 40 - 60 pounds. Within an hour they all have it down and respect the fence, make sure it's a good fence like suggested.

    We fed out 130 pigs this year and I have to say it was way easier than chickens. If I was you, 5-10 is a good number to start with. I recommend finding a good pig feeder at an auction or sale that will hold a ton a feed at a time. It makes it so much easier to care for them. During the summer for water, they have a huge wallow pool that they use. They made it themselves and I have a two inch hose connected to a pump that pulls water from the pond right into their pool that they made. They LOVE it... they will spend hours in the water during the summer.

    Last, I use a high tunnel for a building. I leave the one end open for them and haven't had any issues yet. Again, just make sure it's long enough to where they can get back to the other end, and LOTS of straw. Pigs literally will spend an hour making a bed before they sleep in the winter time. It's quite comical, to say the least. After doing the pigs, you will realize that you can do more, and honestly you will want to. They are stubborn and strong, but once you have ironed out a system, you will be just fine. Loading them was the biggest problem for me until I've developed this ramp type thing that works perfect.

    Feed, for me was full time 16% from start to finish. I make my own so it's 1500 lbs corn, 500 lbs supplement. They have that full feed and they eat between 6-12 pounds a day depending on the size. When they hit 260-280 they are ready to go. It takes some time to hit that mark but I can guess the weight between 5-10 pounds now every time. I shoot for a dressed weight of 200 pounds.

    Pasture, be prepared to have a designated area for them and a few pastures. They take up alot of room when feeding and foraging, they will do just fine in a smaller area but if you want to pasture them, rotation is key and so is size. There is no easy way to do a lot of pigs without having a lot of land.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    I suggest that you take a look around and see what is available for food and when it is available and plan accordingly. When I raise a pig, I buy feeders in late summer when I have lots of fruit. The pigs get fed fruit until the last crop of apples is gone and then I butcher. That's in November.

    Pencil it out. I think you will find it a lot cheaper to buy a feeder than a newly weaned pig. Tiny weaners are going for $50-$60 here and I can buy a feeder for $1 a pound. So a 50 pound pig costs me the same as a weaner.

    I feed 1/2 steamed grain and half fruit, with a little scoop of calf manna to make sure they get their vitamins and mineral. It makes some tasty pork and low cost because the fruit would go to waste otherwise.

    If you plan to raise your pigs when food is available for them, you can raise those pigs for cheaper.
     

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