Anyone raising a feeder pig ?

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

My son raised a couple in high school for his Ag class. He showed it and had a good time, then we sold it to a doctor and they said the meat was wonderful. It was a Duroc. The other one was a Hamp.

This is a common thing for the kids to do in this part of Okla. The school has an Ag Barn where they can be kept if you don't have a place at home. The kids can feed and water before school and then again after school, so it works nicely. Then on weekends, they attend the shows.

It was a great experience for the whole family. Now that the kids are all grown, I'm thinking of maybe getting a weaned piglett to feed out for slaughter. We now live in the country and have a place for one, but the kids are all grown, so it's going to be all ME this time. Do you think it will be harder than I remember ?

We have started raising our own chicken for meat and eggs, a nice garden, and now think we might like to expand the next step for a little pork for the table. Anyone out there doing this ? I'd like to hear how it's working for you.

We are trying to gain as much of a self sufficient farm lifestyle as possible for several reasons. One, being that we KNOW what we're getting IN our foods, and two, because we have the time and space to do it, so it's just a natural . Also, we save lots of money on food. When the kids all come and bring all the grandkids on Sunday, it's nice to know I have plenty in the freezer to make a nice big meal with very little concern about having enough. Farm life is good.

Anyone out there raising pigs on a small scale? I'd like to find a nice Duroc somewhere fairly close.

Falls Mills, VA

I used to raise pigs PeggieK. We had Tamsworth and Hampshires too. They are fairly hardy animals and can thrive on most anything. We gave ours a lot of grain, corn mostly. One thing we found was that you have to slaughter them just as soon as you get them up to size. Otherwise they will eat youout of house and home. We didn't slaughter any of them ourselves but took them to a local slaughter house. I would drop them off one day and then go back the next day to pick up the meat, packaged and ready for the freezer. Sometimes I would have them save out the tenderlion and grind the rest of the hog for sausage.

We never tried to slaughter any of them ourselves, I was afraid I would ruin the meat. Reading in the Foxfire books though it doesn't seem too hard.

If you let them range freely the meat will be tougher.


Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

I had a nice discussion with someone yesterday that raises hogs and the difference in the taste of the meat of the ones you raise yourself and what you buy in the stores. He lives in southwest Missouri. I wonder how far that would be from you?.

You probably know that you will need really good fencing for them.. Pigs are soooo smart that they can get through just about anything.. and they love to root around ,, They will eat almost anything as well.. They love anything from table scraps to acorns under a tree. ..

and in hot weather they have to have a wet place to keep cool.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

I was just over in SW Missouri today. DH loves to go to Roaring River State Park to trout fish. It's just south of Cassville.

Oh, I remember having a pig get out when our son raised one. It was a crazy event.

DH used to pastor a little bi-vocational church in a rural area. One morning we were at church and the service was just getting ready to begin. One of the deacons came up and whispered in his ear that our neighbors (not church members) had just called the church and said our pig was out.............. and rooting up their garden. The church provided us a little parsonage about a block away from the church. We certainly didn't want to be bad neighbors, so this was an emergency !!!!

DH promptly grabbed our son and a couple of men from the church and they took off to go catch the pig. Needless to say, we got to sing every verse of each hymn that day, and even a couple of extra ones. The guys came back a little mussed, but church went on, only a little late.

The members fondly teased from then on about the ' city preacher' that they had called to preach at the 'country church'.

That's just one of the stories, I could tell many about our funny attempts to learn how to live in the country during those years. We were raised in the city all our lives before then. Now that we've tasted country life..........there's no way we'd ever want to go back. But................. we are still learning a LOT of things, and are quite awkward at some of our efforts. But we are still happy to try.

I don't think we would ever be brave enough to try to butcher our own pork though. The $ 150. that the processor in town charges to do it all up ready to freeze..........sounds like a good deal to me.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

You will not really "save" much money by raising the pig yourself and taking it to the butcher to have it slaughtered and packaged. However, as it was mentioned in an earlier post, you will know what you are eating, and that is worth alot. At least it was for us. Same thing for beef; we'd raise a steer and then have it butchered for our freezer. Now that our boys are gone, it doesn't pay for me to do that, the meat would last way longer than the accepted "shelf life", so I buy it. I like to buy it at the butcher shop if I can, because what they sell in the retail shop is all locally raised.

A pig is a great thing to have around to keep your fridge free of all that stuff that gets hidden in the back behind things and then forgotten. Pigs eat I have always said "if the pigs eat it, it isn't wasted" when I cleaned out the fridge and took out moldy, forgotten food in sealed containers. I'm sure nobody else here has ever done that..........LOL

Falls Mills, VA

There are only two things a pig won't eat; whole onions and okra. I suppose the onion is too strong for their keen sense of smell. I don't know why my pigs ignored the okra though.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Virginian, there is only 1 thing I have found that pigs won't eat.........(living in Wisconsin, we don't have okra here.......LOL) and that is corncobs. I wonder why???? I have given them onions and they ate them, but maybe it was because they were mush by the time I tossed them and they couldn't tell the difference. Probably smelled WORSE than the onions by that point, tho. :>)

Falls Mills, VA

maybe corncobs have such low food value they ignored them......they will eat whole corn by the ton though

Tacoma, WA(Zone 8a)

We raised pigs for ourselves along with a few for friends.. that off set the cost we had to pay. But we butchered ourselves, and cut the meat... did it all.. smoking hams and made the sausages too. So it was real cheap for us.. we fed grain and byproducts.. and gave them wiegh (sp) from a cheese processing plant that was near by.. we also had a milk cow, so they got the extra milk we had... they were really good tasting. I really miss all the extras we got from farm living.... chickens, pigs, beef, milk, eggs, rabbit, turkeys, and ducks and geese..with home grown vegies... awwww that was the life... way too old now to handle all the work.. but for a young family, or young retired couple with grandkids... it would be great!


Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Yes, it's a lot of work. We hope we will be able to keep up long enough to figure out what we're doing, lol. Our kids are grown and it's just DH and I and we're not as spunky as we used to be. Sigh............. But the good part is that it dosen't take a very big production for just the 2 of us. Meat from 1 pig would probably last us a long time.

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Our pigs are free-range...oh we have a perimeter of electric fence, but they are not confined. They are the best tasting, most tender meat you could ever have. Our butcher buys many from us because we have "the best pork" he's ever seen. We use no antibiotics or hormones. Our pigs eat everything from onions, to okra, to corn cobs. They graze, they eat grain.....and they keep the snakes down! $150 to process a pig seems awful high. The optimum weight for a feeder pig to be slaughtered is about 300 lbs. give or take a little. WE can't keep up with the demand of our pork. This is a good thing.

And we do raise cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys and eggs all for consumption. It is a hard working life, but a good one.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Misty what kind of grain do you use, and how big of an area is fenced in with electric fence? we're going to try raising a feeder pig again,

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

seems we paid $150 for 2 hogs last time we had them slaughtered, the meat was horrid though, we couldn't eat it. it was so fatty, pigs averaged 300 pounds, everything that was smoked had to be dumped, cause it had a horrid smell to it. I talked to the guy that slaughtered the pigs, he had no idea. Said it was our freezer, it was a freezer that had to be defrosted, but it was brand new bought just for the pigs.

we fed corn, and sometimes bread from the bread store, and scraps.

they were in a long run, about 60 feet long and maybe 8 feet wide.

first pigs we raised, and we didn't do something right, we used well water though, it was full of iron, I wonder if that had something to do with it. I think we'll use city water next time, see if that makes a difference.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

We are also raising a cow for the freezer, and feeding her well water. her area is so far from the only outside city pump in our yard, that it would be almost impossible to give her city water. I can't imagine that water that has extra iron in it would harm the meat? ha? should we be feeding her city water?

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

no, the well water should be just fine as long as there's not a contamination to the water table in the area. In fact, it might even be better for clorine or floride included

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Sorry I didn't get back to you yesterday....I was at the hospital having a grandson :)

We use a 16% protein mix. We have it made up special at Producer Feeds in Louisville and they come out and fill a bin. When they are pregnant, we increase the protein percentage. It is corn and other things, but all gmo free. I don't know exactly what's in it, I'd have to ask DH.

We have a large area fenced in around a pond. We have 75 pigs on that and a barn. It is probably a couple acres. The pigs we have now were all born here.

We have our butcher take off most of the fat and we don't have fatback thrown back into our sausage. Our sausage is hams and good parts of the pig. Our chops and all are trimmed as well and we have a wonderful butcher who really knows his stuff. We also don't put any nitrates, nitrites, or MSG in our sausage or bacon. Just herbs, salt, pepper, etc. It is so good and sells very, very well. We can't sell our bacon to the public, only our CSA members as it is not inspected after the curing process.

That's all we have is well water and a very high iron content. Never a problem with our water, we have good water.

Kathy Ann, it sounds like you had a bad butcher. We once had a crooked one. We took a pig in and got one ham, 3 hocks, one ear...etc. We questioned "didn't the pig come in with 4 hocks and 2 ears, a couple of hams.......they poopawed us and we never went back. Charged us a fortune! We were wet behind the ears, but learned very, very quick.

All is good. :)

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Wow, 75 pigs ha? that's a lot of work, I complained of only 2 LOL

thanks for the help with the water too, I was worried about that, we did have it tested, and no contamination, just excessive iron which turns it orange. et.c...


Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

living in MI I was drinking water that was very high in iron. no health problems...just lots of iron in my blood and for a female that was a good thing! lol It won't hurt the livestock.

Vegas,NV Filbert, SC(Zone 7b)

Great information for a newbie. I am thinking about raising one pig for meat but will wait until I am settled into the new house.

Misty Meadows, what exactly do you cook with pigs ears????

Okay, I have read in books that pigs do not stink the way that most think, and that they and their pens are cleaner and have less odors then chicken. Any truth to this???

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Hi Carat, First of all, never get just one. You should have two. It makes them compete with each other and they thrive better that way.

I couldn't tell you about pig's ears. I've never eaten them, nor do I ever intend to! Maybe they'd be good cooked up with a pot of green beans, ha, ha.

Yes, pigs are actually very clean animals. The dirt you see on them is that they roll in mud to keep the horseflies and such off of the them. They will only "mess" in one corner, but it needs to be cleaned out on a regular basis or they'll will start using another one when that one's filled. And....because they still haven't mastered the art of pitch fork and has to do that for them.

We have 75 pigs here and it doesn't smell. Now, turkeys and chickens....they are disgusting and stink, but we won't go there.

The worst part about our pigs is that they eventually figure out a way to break the electric fence and about once a month, we are chasing pigs back in or getting a call from the neighbors.

:) Kathy

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