If you are on the fence about getting a couple pigs – I am here to talk you into getting them.
If you don’t live on a farm or homestead, you can sill enjoy farm-raised pigs. Visit farmers markets or your local Extension Office to find a farmer near you who may be happy to sell you a pig or two. 🙂
Here are the 5 Best things About Raising Pigs
If you have read my blog for any amount of time you must know by now that I have an unusual affection for my pigs.
I know they are gross.
I know they are stinky.
I know their pen is the last place on earth I want to be….
I love raising pigs.
Here’s The best Part About Raising Pigs
The Best Part About Raising Pigs #5: Low Maintenance
Pigs are a cinch to raise. They need a grassy place to live (so they can kill it). They need water (so they can swim in it). They need shade (because they’ll get sunburned). They need shelter (at least here in Kentucky they do).
I give my pigs food & water once a day in the morning and that is it. Really, that’s it.
I have 3 pigs this year & have decided 3 is the perfect number of pigs.
Last year when I had 17 pigs it was a bit different – the water situation would make the happiest person on earth suicidal. It was summer. It was hot. The pigs believed with all their hearts that the water troughs were bath tubs. I was replenishing their swimming pools with cool water 3 times a day and I wanted to shoot them all.
Why? Because as soon as 8 pigs jam their fat selves into a water bowl that water bowl is instantly…… empty. Ugh. What do you think the pigs did with their water bowls after they were empty? They would drag them to the back of the pasture, of course. Dump them into the wallow (pool of pig sewage and grossness). So pig-Mommy (that’s me) would have to go into the pool of pig-sewage, retrieve the bowls, and refill them……
Just so they could bathe and play hide-the-water-bowl again.
3 pigs = no water catastrophe’s, easy to feed, easy to manage.
The Best Part About Raising Pigs #4: Getting Piglets
ADORABLE. ADORABLE. ADORABLE.
No matter how many years or how many pigs I own I still melt whenever I see a piglet. Feeder pig, Berkshire, Hampshire, Duroc, PotBelly, Farm Pigs, any pig – if it’s a piglet, I’m in love and want to move it into my home.
Having baby piggies is a super fun time. My kids love them, they take them for walks, they play with them, they even hang out in pig-land (this is when there is still grass in pig-land).
The Best Part about Raising Pigs #3: Pigs are Fast Food
Unlike cows, who take over a year to reach slaughter weight, pigs will go from tiny piggie to full-blown-hog in a few months. Pigs are not a year commitment or even a 6 month commitment. You can get a couple feeder pigs on the 4th of July and be out by Halloween.
Will you cry when it’s time for the pigs to go?
Let me tell you, you will be over your pigs when they reach about 250 pounds. The cuteness will have worn off and your pigs will be getting too big for the farm. But you may not want to ship them to the freezer just yet. 250 looks huge when you are in the pen with them, but isn’t exactly huge enough if you ask me.
I think that 300 pounds is the perfect slaughter weight for farm pigs. If they are smaller than 300 lbs I want more bacon. If they are larger, I want to move.
The fabulous part is that pigs can get to 300 pounds in less than 4 months (at least mine do). I’ve slaughtered them at 200-250 & was disappointed with my meat. The bacon was barely there. The box of lard was more of a shoe box than a moving box. The meat was lean and tougher. When I get them to 300, I get pounds of bacon, boxes of lard and tender, marbled meat. Just what I want in a hog.
It’s hard to believe 50 pounds makes that much of a difference. I don’t know if it’s just me or the breed I’m raising – but I like them with a little more fat on them.
The good news is that a hog can put on weight fast, especially in fall. Once the weather turns a bit cooler the pigs fatten up quick. I’m not talking winter, freezing, snow-on-the-ground cold….. just cooler nights and warm days. If there’s snow on the ground the weight gain could really slow down (because they are using calories to stay warm). More on winter pig raising here.
I am not a year round pig keeper. I did it once and don’t want to do it again. I like to get my berkshire, feeder piglets in spring and be eating them by Halloween. Please and Thank you.
Just when they get huge and annoying and you don’t want to fill their water bowl ever again it’s about time to say goodbye. And you will most likely say goodbye with a joyful spirit.
Ding- Dong the Pigs are dead! Let’s celebrate!
I’ve never been sad to butcher a hog. Maybe I’m heartless, but it’s never a sad occasion for me.
I’m sick of feeding them.
I’m sick of watering them.
I’m sick of smelling them.
I’m sick of saving/ collecting/ delivering scraps to them.
I sick of dealing with them.
If you’ve never considered pigs, this is the main reason you should try it. You can raise a 30 pound feeder piglet into a 300 pound hog in about 4 months. Your entire pig keeping experience is over in 4 months. If you hate it, it’s over in no time. And you’ll have porkchops!
Ok…. this goes without saying, but by far, the #1 reason to raise you own pigs is bacon. ‘nough said.
On top of the bacon you will also enjoy: pork steaks, pork chops, ribs, tenderloin, sausage, brats, ham steaks, Easter hams, ham hocks, pork cutlets and all things piggy. GoodNESS Gracious. Why would you NOT raise pigs. As far as bang for you buck goes – the pig beats all.
Not only do pigs give you an amazing variety of meats, meals, arrangements and options they are also the winner for most edible product per pound than pretty much any other animal on earth. Pigs are almost completely edible. Really, it’s true. If you process a lamb 50% of that animal will be meat you can eat. A pastured cow nets about 60%. A deer is about 30%. When you process a hog 70-78% of the animal’s weight will end up in your freezer.
That’s a bunch of food.
For more on how much eating meat you get from animals go here.
The Best Part about Raising Pigs #1: The Lard Won’t Clog Your Ateries
If you are worried about my arteries, or yours, you can rest soundly. If you are raising your own pigs, on pasture, in sunshine your pork will not be a health hazard. Quite the opposite – pastured pork is good.
Just make sure when you process your hog you do it without the nitrates, preservatives & MSG. I was surprised to find out that many local processing operations routinely use these. My processor can make bacon, sausage and ham without the bad stuff – but you have to request it.
I can’t imagine a summer without pigs. It would be like summer without a garden…… It just wouldn’t be summer.
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