Raising show pigs for meat

farmerjan

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Yes it is a ridiculous amount to pay for a show pig or lamb...... BUT ..... when these kids get $ 5 to $50 A POUND when they are sold it isn't ..... OF COURSE, this whole thing is concocted to help the kids to be able to compete and win with the "best of the best"..... And the money usually helps these kids pay for college or some thing like that. They get sponsors to help pay for the feed the animals eat, they get sponsors to help buy the animals.... we have in the past paid "floor price" for a few so they get the minimum from us, plus whatever someone else is wanting to pay if they don't win any big prices.... we have given some money towards feed for a few over the years.
BUT again, I have a big problem with it because it does not teach the kids the nitty gritty of realistic farming as far as prices go in the day to day.
It is big money for breeders of these animals though.
Most of the hogs now are actually double muscled as far as the hams go.... that may not be the correct term, but they have overly developed hams for show animals.
We have had a couple of our lowly crossbred steers raised for 4-H and the market animal shows here local. Not any top 5 winners, but the kids did average or better. We charged what they would have brought at the normal stockyard sale barn. Most of the ones we sold in the past were kids whose parents didn't have cattle, and could never afford to buy those high priced calves..... and we often financed them so where they paid a small "downpayment" and then paid for the calf after it was raised up, shown and then sold. So they got an average $750 calf for say 1-200 down, and then after the calf was sold - at 1100-1400 lbs - they paid the balance due of 5-600..... I have often seen these animals bring $1 to 3.00 a pound live weight for the average ones and the top show ones over $5 a pound.
Alot of sponsors are businesses..... it is good advertisement.....
Part of the game you play if you are going to go that route.
 

farmerjan

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Any of them that don't make the "cut" for show are perfectly fine to raise to eat. A normal diet that you would feed to any animal you are raising for meat will work. As @High Desert Cowboy said, there will be some differences in some for growth rates or flavor, but the average person will never be able to tell the difference. I like my Hampshires, for hardiness and good mothering and active growthy pigs. and the red Durocs for mothering and all around good dispositions. The Berkshires are one of the best for meat as they probably "marble" the best of most hogs.
I kept the best dispositions in any & all breeds. Never tolerated a sow with an attitude. Mostly had duroc boars because they had the most laid back dispositions and Hamp and Hamp crosses for sows.
They HAD to raise a minimum of 8 pigs ...... and not lay on them as I did not use crates. All outside/pasture type with hog houses to go in and have their own pigs. Did not let 2 sows in together for at least 2 weeks because the pigs could get between them and smothered until they got more active. Most of mine would wean off at least 10-11 a litter. After about 2 weeks, if one laid down to nurse and started her little grunts, then there could be 15-20 pigs all looking for a meal. Then usually the others would also lay down and there would be piglets scurrying between sows to find a "faucet". Lots of fun and laughs.
 

Simpleterrier

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Oh @Baymule 500 only buys the the tail and the nose and nothing in between. 4h up here is brutal. Most start at 600 and go up 1000 isn't out of the question.

Here's a short story. I had milk goats growing up and I showed young does and wethers at the fair. The first boar goat I saw I showed against and lost with a milk goat wether which is what the class was. The girl who won dad bought her the boar for 2500 paid before birth. So if it would have been a doe she couldn't have showed it and he would have been out the money. Now board weanlings start at 400 and go up.

So back to the pigs. Hamps and York's around here are very close to the same meat wise I have raised both. The cross is called a blue butt. I have also raised them. Durocks are different they are built a little different and taste better.
 

Baymule

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That is some terrible pricing for FFA and 4 H show animals. Talk about price gouging!

These two hamp/York pigs I have now have huge butts. They are growing fast, they sure love their soured corn. @Simpleterrier do you finish your pigs on soured corn?
 

Simpleterrier

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Haha here's another one alot of pigs are bought in online auctions and they are shipped from outa state.
Annnddd most come from the state of (@Baymule pay attention to this part) Texas next is Florida.
 

Baymule

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What? You mean they ship piglets, on an airplane? Like puppies? Wow. Texas leads the pack, huh? $600 to $1000 for a piglet, buyer pays for plane ticket, that’s outrageous. FFA and 4H is supposed to teach kids about raising animals, not buying cut throat win at any cost. Sad.
 

Ridgetop

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4-H is a good program BUT when some fairs have Grand Champions selling for $10,000 to 30,000 a lot of parents will overspend on the project animal. There is no reason to do that and it really doesn't teach the child anything about the cost of producing meat.

Actually the best think to raise for auction is rabbits. They sell by the pen of 3 bunnies. Some pens in some fairs can go for $1,000. And rabbits are cheap to raise.

The trick is not to buy expensive show animals for a lot of money. The trick is to learn how to judge the animal the way it will be judged in the ring and buy the lamb, hog, calf according to those standards. The standard any animal is judged on in meat animals is where the best cuts are - loin, hams, roast, etc. So first you get an animal that is good that way. You don't have to pay a fortune from a show barn either. On the other hand, you can't do anything with some old range steer that has no meat production factors either.

Then the next thing is how you raise the animal and how you feed it. Exercise used to play a larger part but now most animals are bred to certain standards so lots of exercise is less necessary than it used to be. Working and training the animal is a must though since the judge can better judge an animal that is walking correctly by the owners than one that is jumping over the ring or fighting its handler. The feeding program is what can bring you the ribbons, or at least make the cut between grade 1 or Grade 2.

My children have won some championships with animals they bred themselves and with animals they bought for a minimal amount from breeders that gave FFA and 4-H kids a break LIKE FARMERJAN.
 

Ridgetop

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Back to the original topic though. Just use a good pig ration. Check it for antibiotics, because there will be withdrawal times before you can slaughter. You don't have to worry about pushing or holding your pigs since you are not trying to have a prime pig on a specific date. When your pig reaches the weight you want to butcher you are done.
FYI: You can weigh your the truck scales. Then drive the empty truck and trailer over and subtract. Lots of 4-H families have done that to keep track of Piggy's weight for Fair. LOL
 
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