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To get a pig or not to get a pig...

Discussion in 'Everything Else Pigs' started by mystang89, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Feb 4, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    ... That is the question. I've been wanting pigs ever since I moved it to the country and have been trying to convince my wife that bacon is worth anything but after reading some of the general question threads on here I'm really starting to wander if I should.

    1. I was wanting to raise heritage pigs and have them grow mainly on pasture since we don't have a large income. Everything I'm reading says that I'll still need to supplement there food with pellets and hay. Our hay generally goes to bedding and food for the sheep so I'd really like to not give all of it to animals who eat non stop.

    2. I like my pasture. I like my pasture WITHOUT a bunch of holes in it and upon reading it seems that that is all pigs do.... Root for grub. I've got a dog that likes to dig,I don't need pigs to as well. Is this really a problem in the pasture.

    3. Keeping them confined an option? Everyone says electric fence is best and I plan on electrifying my pasture soon ish but what happens if the power goes out. Call me Mr negative but I try to think of the what ifs before they become oh noes.
    Power goes out and then they get it, other animals get in.

    4. I have a spring that runs through my back pasture that always has water in it. Can I make part of their confined area over that spring so they always have access to water?

    5. How big a space an I talking about for confinement? Am I talking about having to make another building for them?

    6. How difficult are they to here back if they are in the pasture and I want them back in confinement?

    I'm sure there are so many more questions but these are good for starters I guess. Thanks everyone.
     
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  2. Feb 4, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Most folks say you really need to do multiples with pigs. Just one isn't good as they can develop behavioral "issues" from loneliness. If you get a solar powered electric fence, they run off a deep cycle battery with a small solar panel to keep the battery charged. Shouldn't be an issue of the power going out. I think the animals can feel (once they've been zapped) when the power is on and when it's off, just by walking up close to the wire. Maybe it makes their hair stand up or something... :idunno

    My concern with giving the pigs direct access to the spring would be the quality of the water downstream... :sick I would guess you could keep it in a very small area if you really wanted to, but pigs tend to pick a spot to use as their bathroom and try to always use that spot, and they are intelligent so might get bored being confined to a really small area. I don't think you need a whole nuther building... Just build a small 3 sided (w/roof) "hut" for them to go into to get out of the weather. You could build it on a raised platform so they can get up out of any mud... with skids so you could move it around if you needed to. My guess is that if you train them to come to food at a young age, any time you appear with food, they'll come running.

    lots of folks here with hog experience... many of your questions have already been discussed in various threads. I hope to be getting a couple of feeders this spring.
     
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  3. Feb 4, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    We have raised pigs 3 times since moving to our 8 acres in 2015. perhaps I can help you with some of your questions.
    1. Raising heritage pigs. Do you mean keeping breeders or just getting a couple of feeder pigs? I heartily recommend feeder pigs. You get 'em, raise 'em for 6-9 months and put 'em in the freezer. Done. Yes, you have to feed them. You can plant things in the garden that they like, which is almost everything, but you still have to feed them. I spend less than $175 on feed per pig.

    2.Pigs root. That's what they do. For our next batch of pigs, we will have a dedicated pig pen. Our first feeder pigs were in the garden, 100'x70' and they had PLENTY of room. They dig moon craters. Deep ones. I ran the tractor around and around and around after taking them out of the garden. In pastures, same thing. They are pigs. Pigs root.

    3. I never had electric fence for the pigs. I have 2"x4" non climb horse wire everywhere. Why they never dug under it and ran for the hills, I don't know. But none of them have ever escaped. It is a good idea to not pen them up on an outside fence, build them a pen on the interior of your property. Then if they escape their pen, they still have another fence to get through.

    4. Don't foul the spring. They will wallow and muddy it up. On the other hand, if you have a pond that won't hold water, you turn pigs in it and their wallowing and poo will seal it. But don't foul the spring.

    5. We had 3 pigs in a 100'x70' and it could have been half that space, but they enjoyed having that much room to run around (and root) in.

    6. Are you asking how to get them back in a small space from a pasture? Easy. Food. If the pasture is connected to the confinement pen, rattle a can, call them, pour out their feed. it helps if it is something smelly, like sour milk. By this time they should be at the gate, grunting or squealing, WANTING in! Open the gate! We use food to load them in the trailer and they load themselves. Never been a problem.

    By all means, raise a couple of feeder pigs. They produce a lot of meat for the money you spend on feed. If you cannot afford to take them to a processor, they can be slaughtered at home.


    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/baymules-pigs-2017-2018.36803/

    Be aware. In this thread, we slaughtered our pigs at home. Graphic pictures.
    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/feeder-pigs-2017.35395/

    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/feeder-pigs.32154/

    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/hawg-hut-or-goat-or-sheep-or-dhs-new-digs.32088/
     
  4. Feb 5, 2018
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses True BYH Addict

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    5X what Bay said.

    Now I used grass clippings to help feed mine. I do not use chemicals, so no issues there. Have a lot of pasture and I used a few sections JUST to cut and dump to pigs and chickens. Also had a source for close dated veggies, dairy, salads, etc to help feed them. They EAT!!! There is a discount bread store where I can purchase outdated breads by the truck load -- cheap -- again, chickens, pigs, goats. Mine had a large pen & made their mark. It needed some rework & got it. Tractor used to smooth it back out.

    I took mine to a butcher to "kill & chill". I picked up, cut, packaged and froze. It is a big job!! Meat is great. I rendered lard. Mine were a smaller breed, by choice.

    YES they will root. Some breeds more than others. Mine were small AGHs and their temperaments were great. Bought as weaned, raised, bred, sold. The piglets were adorable. My freezer was happy. I no longer have any pigs to tend.

    They will NOT graze like a horse, cow, goats, etc. You WILL had roots removed...they love them. So, if you get them, don't expect to turn them out and not wreck a good pasture.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  5. Feb 5, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    Thank you all doubly for the responses! There will be more questions or need for clarification later but for now I need to digest everything while i read the links from @Baymule
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  6. Feb 5, 2018
    misfitmorgan

    misfitmorgan True BYH Addict

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    If your really worried about rooting you can put in hog rings, it helps. I feel bad not letting them root though, rooting makes them happy.

    We also are not concerned with our pastures, we do not plant our pastures like some folks have to nor do we need to water them. Rooting on the last farm was excellent, as there was a lot of hard pan near the surface which made for very poor drainage and the pigs broke it all up for us.

    Our pigs do graze....like our sheep. After the grass got very short they started rooting a lot more. We do raise our pigs to eat hay. Again we have a lot of hay though, so it is not an extra cost for us.

    If your only after feeders, cost to feed them isnt to to bad. Try to find a feed mill or a farmer to get feed off of, it is way cheaper then TSC usually. I would definitely say dont skimp on feed for a feeder pig, "trying to save money" you will cost yourself money in the end because they wont grow as fast as they should which means either more weeks of feed or less pork.

    As far as feed goes pellets isnt the best option for pigs. The most easily converted feed is a powder/mash, typically called pig & sow. Some people feed chop which is cheaper but has a lower protein which means slower growth or more feed needed. We feed all of our pigs pig & sow and shell corn. We adjust the amounts of each based on if they are holding weight, need to gain weight, or need to lose weight, then they use the hay to fill up the rest of their tummy.

    Feeding hay to pigs is a really good idea because it keeps them full for longer and keeps them entertained. Pigs do not eat hay like sheep do, our pigs get about a bale every 4 days. We have 3 big girls who are north of 525lbs atm and bred, we have our 3 herefords who are around 300lbs atm and our julianna pair. That's probly close to feeding 10ish feeder pigs. So our pigs hay consumption converted to feeders would be about 20 days per bale for 2 feeder pigs. So 6-7 bales of hay is what you would need for 4 months of feeder raising.

    Pigs do not eat non-stop.

    Lots of people have nothing but electric fences keeping their pigs in and they do have power outtages, the pigs do not run for the hills. If pigs have what they need and are content they are pretty easy to keep around your place. Our big girls opened the gates on their pens and would go out and wonder lose around the property, you go out and call to them and they would run up and walk back into the barn. If they caused problems we would have done something to stop them opening the gates, but we never had an issue.

    As far as i know it is illegal to use running/moving water to water livestock. definitely a bad idea to give them the spring. A small pond or mud wallow would be best but they should always have access to clean fresh water. Look into hog nipples/nipple waterers, they are handy.

    For confinement, it really depends. Factory confinement is something like 2ft x 6 ft per pig, so two feeders pigs would be a min of 4ftx6ft for a pen or 2ftx12ft. Our breeding pens were 6ftx12ft or 8ftx12ft for one breeder pig.
     
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  7. Feb 5, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    Hmm. Ok. I suppose we'll get down to the meat of it. Money. If I'm going to lose money instead of save it then it's not economical for me.

    @Baymule I know that the cost of feed will be different depending on location but just for a rough estimate I'm going to take your pricing. You said that you spent about $175 per pig on food and from reading some of your pig posts you also had help feeding whey. Did the help you received help offset the cost any? You were able to buy the pigs 2 for $75 which was a great deal. Looking around here I can buy one feeder for $50 - $100. The food around here is $12 ish per 40lbs. https://www.orschelnfarmhome.com/view/product/si-16--hog-grower-finisher-pellets-40lb-bag/si5176405 or https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/purina-natures-match-sow-pig-complete-feed-50-lb
    $75 + $175 = $250 plus labor of hauling food andawater to them. (They'd be about an acre away down a hill and back up the other side). I'd butcher them myself to save money there.

    This question is coming from complete and total ignorance, much like most of them, but would the amount of meat received be $250 worth of bacon, pork, pig butt, sausage etc? I'd I read correctly I butcher around 250lbs right? That would come of roughly to $1 per pound live weight.

    How long would that feed 9 mouths? Seven of which are piranhas.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  8. Feb 5, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    @misfitmorgan just saw your reply. Thank you for the breakdown. I'm new to the area ,(been here a bit overov year), and an introvert so finding a feed Mill via word of mouth is a bit difficult for me lol. I barely know my neighbors name.

    I saw someone on here pen them in with pallets. That seems like something I might do. When it warms up I'll take a better look at my land and see where I would definitely put them. Right now it's just random thoughts.
     
  9. Feb 5, 2018
    misfitmorgan

    misfitmorgan True BYH Addict

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    Happy to help.

    I say a feed mill or co-op or something, as an example

    You listed local prices as
    $12/40lbs
    or
    $15/50lbs

    At our mill we get Pig&Sow for $12.50/100lbs and shell corn for $10.25/100lbs.

    Here is a local feed mill to you
    http://www.charlestownfeedstore.com/

    Go to google maps, go to where you live and type in "feed mill" then hit search...there are several within a 30min drive it appears.
     
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  10. Feb 5, 2018
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    :ep

    Thanks! Wow that's cheap.
    I didn't know about Google maps thing. I'll pull that up and search around. I did call the store of 62 and they said they had 50lb of sow and pig for $10 which isn't as good as your prices but a heck of a lot better than orschelns or TSC.

    Going to start searching now.:caf
     
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