Sunday, October 14, 2012

Raising the Homestead Hog

This is our first time ever raising a pig. We had planned on using our hog for my oldest daughter's 4-H project however, once the pig tried to eat our cat, she was too scared to be around the pig. Thus, began my journey as a pig farmer.

I paid $125 for our pig. She weighed about 45lbs when we bought her. The cost was high because we bought her in the middle for 4-H season.  If you are planning on buying and raising pigs I would buy in the fall because the prices are so much cheaper. Right now I can find feeder pigs for between $30-$50.

We were blessed that we found a couple hog panels and t-posts laying around the woods, so we didn't need to purchase any fencing. If you are going to use hog panels they cost around $30 new.  However, if you're going that route I would buy fence posts instead of using t-posts because our pig learned how to lift her panels up and escape. I cut a small hole in the back of our barn and just attached the panels to that so I didn't need to worry about making a shelter for the pig.

Once we decided that the pig wasn't going to be a fair pig, I started researching different ways to cut the cost of feed. One of the biggest money savers was that I used all our goats milk to feed the pig.  The pig ate tons of extra produce from the garden, extra eggs, and old bread.

Our cost in the beginning was $11.34 per two weeks. We maintained that rate until June, at that point the cost of feed began going up and the feed cost was $14 per 50lb bag. I  alternated between a 50lb bag of corn for $10 and a 50lb bag of feed for $14 every third week. Our main source of protein throughout the summer was a gallon of goats milk a day plus about a dozen eggs a day. We're currently going through a 50lb bag of feed in a week.

Right now the pig weighs around 300lbs. She's scheduled to go to butcher on October 23. However, I'm still not 100% convinced that I want to butcher her. I go back and forth between wanting to butcher her and wanting to keep her and breed her.  I have a friend who knows how to AI hogs so it's a real option for us. If I do breed her she should have piglets at the time when people are wanting fair pigs.

Have you ever raised pigs? How did you cut feed cost? Have you ever bred a hog and raised piglets?
What are the pros and cons?

1 comment:

Georgi said...

Yes, we tried raising hogs when we first lived in the country; we even named them, Pork Chip and Bacon. We fell in love with them, they were just like outdoor dogs. the would meets us at the end of the field after work and chase us all the way down the long drive, though they were fenced in their pasture. We killed and butchered them ourselves, and they were delish, however I could not eat them, though everyone else could. After that, I decided no more food animals like the hogs, it hurt my feelings when i had to serve them for dinner.