Raising Pigs – The Real Story

Why don’t you have pigs?

Maybe you already do.  If so, congratulations.

Maybe it’s against your HOA.  If so, sorry.

Maybe you think they’ll be too hard.  Too stinky.  Too hungry.  Or too dirty.

I want to reveal the truth about raising pigs.

Raising Pigs – The REAL STORY

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Here’s what no one tells you about my stinky, muddy friends:

1. Easy – Fun – Cute –

Pigs are the easiest animal on our farm.  We have and have had a lot of animals:  diary cows, beef cows, layer chickens, broiler chickens,  dogs, cats, guinea fowl, ducks, rabbits, even a broad-headed skink has lived here.  Pigs are low, low maintenance.   They don’t need to go out.  They don’t need to be put in.  They don’t need to be milked, sheared or immunized.  They don’t need much of anything. Food- Water- That’s it.  My dog is WAAAAAAAAAY more work than my pigs.  Pigs are cake.

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This is my youngest child’s pig impression.  Kids love pigs.

If you haven’t seen the baby piglets around our place you should.  Go here, here, and here to see them.  When they first come home they are adorable, little schnookems.  My kids carry them around.  They put harnesses on them and walk them.  They pet and love them.

2. Clean –

Yes, clean.  Pigs get a bad rap.  They don’t sweat or pant, so when it’s near 100 degrees they roll in mud to cool off.  The mud keeps them cool and also prevents them from sunburn.

Pigs also have bathrooms.  We have raised pigs for 3 4 years.  They always pick a spot in their pasture and that’s where they always ‘go.’

3. Hardy –

All you have to do is give them lots of good things to eat.  I’ve never had trouble getting a pig to gain weight.  Until George tried to die from pneumonia, I never had a sick pig.

4. Easy to keep contained –  

Unlike some other farm friends (like goats) pigs stay in their home. As long as they have some nice land, plenty of good food and fresh water, they’ll have no reason to want out.  Pigs are herd animals.  They like their piggie buddies and stick together.  We have kept our pigs (8 of them) contained with flimsy, plastic, temporary construction fencing and 2 strands of electric.  Pigs are smart and will respect an electric wire like no other.

5. Minimal space requirements –

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You can raise pigs on a very small amount of space.  Just be sure to provide plenty of good food.  You don’t need to have acres and acres of land to raise a couple pigs.

In our experience, the smaller the pig “pen” the stinkier.  If you don’t want to smell your pigs do 2 things:

  1. Enough room.  They don’t need a lot, but be sure they have room to use the ‘bathroom’ and not live in it.
  2. Put the pig pasture down-wind from your house.  Duh, Right?  Well, we didn’t and we had to move the pigs.

Down-wind – important.

6.  Food –

Did you know that pigs raised in the sun in a pasture are tremendously healthy for you?  Even the bacon. Even the sausage.  Even the brats.  Even the lard.  Delicious, and good for you.  To read more about healthy farm-raised pigs go here and here.

Oh, the opportunities for your dinner table.  I would argue that a pig will provide a more diverse selection of food than any other animal you can raise.  Bacon, sausage, ham, pork chops, brats, pork steaks, ham steaks, ribs, Boston butt, BBQ,  lard, etc!!!!!!  It is hard to believe that so many different types, flavors, textures and varieties come from one animal:  the pig.

Not only do pigs provide a very diverse selection of edible goods for your freezer, a pig will provide you more meat than any other animal.  When you slaughter a cow or lamb about half of that animal translates into consumable product.  The other half is waste.  When you process a pig 71 -78% of that animal will end up becoming food for your family.

7. Land Cultivation –

Pigs are excellent land clearers.  If you have a spot picked out for next years garden – but it is filled with grass, weeds, briers or something else you don’t want in your garden, throw up a couple strands of electric fence and put pigs on it.  They will have it rooted, cleared, and fertilized in no time.

Your garden will be the success of your county!  To see how to use pigs to clear land go here.

8. Fast –

We can turn a little 20lb  piglet into a giant 300 lb hog in 4 months on left over milk, pasture, scraps, hay and locally made hog feed.  The speed of raising pigs is undeniable.  Get one in spring – you’re done by fall.  If you hate it, it’s over in 4 months!

9. Sustainability –

We learned from our local extension office that raw milk (from our cow) is a nearly perfect food for raising hogs.  Pigs need a certain balance of protein versus carbs to grow sufficiently.  Raw milk fits the bill.  We have been raising pigs on extra milk for 3 years.  The pigs love it.  It makes super healthy pork.  And it gives us a use for the extra milk.  Talk about sustainability – Jackpot.

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In addition to milk, we feed our pigs scraps (no meat).  We feed them weeds.  We feed them hay.  We feed them garbage and plants from the garden.  We feed them buckets of old produce from behind the market.  Pigs will make sure nothing is wasted on your farm.  They will turn everything into pork and bacon for you.

10. Save the Pigs –

Not only will your pigs bring you happiness and bacon, you will also have an opportunity to rescue them.

pigs 8Most pigs in America are being raised in concrete buildings where they never see sun, mud, grass or trees.  They are in tight living quarters and fed a poor diet of mostly corn.  To see it – go here.  It is a sad life.  Every piglet that I adopt is saved from the concrete.  This year we brought 6 feeder pigs home from a concrete world and gave them Pig-Wonderland.  To see Pig-Wonderland go here.

I have never regretted getting pigs.  I look forward to my spring pigs in winter.  I enjoy eating my pigs year round.  I cook with lard from my pigs nearly every day.

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Maybe you should consider some pigs for your homestead next spring.

OINK!

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If you love pigs – here’s more:

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XO,

Candi

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