We are making our first try at swine this spring. Any suggestions? We have experience with chickens, turkey, ducks, geese, sheep, and goats--both meat and dairy.
Most critical advice I can offer is make sure you have a very secure pen, you wount believe what a 200 pound hog can do, even a small pig.
be careful, hogs can become quite the pet ! Give them a good hog feed, supplement with anything you would eat and keep them watered.
selling any extra pork, we sell by the 1/2, is the easiest thing there is to sell.
Word on the net, avoid highly unsaturated fatty acids, like those found in corn, especially for the last 2 months. The polyunsaturated fats are more accessible for exotic chemistry, and will go rancid more rapidly, which means the meat will not stay good as long. The need for a fence becomes more or less important with the breed, I've seen videos of big mangalitsa's kept in an enclosure with an 18" wooden fence; that said better safe than sorry.
You are in or near squarebanks aren't you? I know that UAF ag. has or is associated with a pig farm (I've been to it) and since the extension service is run by UAF (because they own the land and have the money too) its a safe bet that they will have something on raising pigs up in your climate.
They will certainly uproot any Birch or alder they can get too, not sure if they can/will manage those scrawny black spruce you have up there, so be weary about penning them with tree's and bushes.
Any experience with clipping teeth out there? These are two gilts that haven't been clipped.
We used old pallets that we got for free and nailed them together using smooth wire and U nails. They do like to dig, and the one time they somehow got loose (I forget how). They were older by then and they weren't in any shape to run away. I got them to come back with a banana. :) A few things I learned was:
don't feed them nasty crap food and rancid garbage, or else you will have foul smelling meat. The people that get cheap hogs from the auction, the one lady told me that her husband gets cheap hogs and slaughters them, she said the smell of the bacon is nauseating, she said it stunk like garbage, bleech!
They absolutely LOVE grass clippings, and if you check out journeytoforever.org they have some tips on raising pigs.
Also don't name them, don't teach them tricks or get to 'know them'. Otherwise you will have a very large pet, ha ha!
When you have to load them into the truck to haul them to the slaughterhouse, if you can't get them into the truck, put a bucket or a feed sack over their heads, they will back up. I suggest using a strong ramp so they don't have to step up on it. We had a horrid experience with the guy we hired to haul our pigs to the slaughterhouse, we had a pig with short legs (a Duroc), and she couldn't step up into the trailer, it was about a foot off the ground. He tried to manhandle this 300 lb plus pig and it went downhill from there. It was horrible, the pig freaked out because this guy was too stupid to have a ramp for them to get up on (oh yeah and he said he's hauled pigs before and always hated it because they were trouble..well DUH. Then the others started trying to get back out...and it was all cold rainy and VERY muddy that day too. Live and learn!
Our pigs were over 300 lbs when we had them slaughtered, that was approaching some sort of 'limit' they had at the place, so you may want to ask how big can they get before they are 'too big' to handle, if that is an issue with the butcher.
Also, make sure you trust whoever you take your pigs to to be butchered. Because I was trying to sell the meat at the farmers market, I had to use a USDA approved place, and they gypped us out of a LOT of really good ribs. I found this out after the fact, as we had 3 pigs, 2 were 'bacon' ones and very long. I only got a total of 6 1 lb packages of ribs. I later found out that there is no way that 3 pigs would only produce that many ribs. So make sure you know what you are supposed to get, or pretend to know anyway.
If you have a space you want to clear for a garden next year, having pigs there is great, they will root up the ground and any rocks, and their fertilizer is the BEST.
Hope this helps!
Oh yeah, we also finished them on soybean meal, but I wouldn't do that now, because I've heard soy isn't good for animals to consume.
Here is a link that might be useful: Journey to forever
Soy also has lots of polyunsaturted fats.
I have a friend who gets food scraps from the local school. He picks up everyday. I think they put the food in plastic garbage cans.
You say cheap pigs makes disgusting smelling bacon? Is there a name to the breed of the cheap auction pigs? All of this is so interesting. I would never have a pig BUT it was interesting reading about it. My friend had constant problems with his pigs breaking out, then having to chase them down and that was not easy. They are tricky fellas. Just seems like they were a lot of work and the smell was hitrocious. The hog pen was kind of far from the road but uggh on a hot day you could still smell them from way down the road!! And he only had 6. Oh wait that was hogs and not pigs...maybe that is different??
Well good Luck to ya. May you have an OK smelling and secure pen, no problems with flies, great smelling bacon, and lots of ribs!
My dad's cousins raise pigs in pens in a barn on their farm in Kansas. Boy do they SMELL in there! Don't know what the advantage is of having them in a barn. I guess they don't get sunburned.
A hog is an adult pig.
Actually it is a pig over 120 lbs
Have you seen this??
In Georgia, they call it Hogzilla: a 12-foot-long wild hog recently killed on a plantation and now quickly becoming a part of local legend.
That would scare the crap outta me!!
Here is a link that might be useful: hogzilla
Unless that man is a giant that doesn't look like a 12 foot long hog. There have been a number of giant hogs killed in the past few years. Hunters have been planting more food plots and filling troughs with feed to fatten the feral hogs (Wild north American hogs aren't that big at all, European boars get to be fairly large, but domesticated hogs dwarf them all). Unless you live within 5 miles of a serious hog hunting spot I think your chances of running in to a hog like that are almost zero.
The Curly Hair comes from Mangalitsa stock typically.
LOL! Hi MizJay....actually it's not really the type of pig, I was referring to the nasty garbage that they had been fed. That is what made the meat not smell good. I'd read about in Nova Scotia (I think) they tried feeding the pigs on fish meal, and it made the meat taste gross.
I posted a photo with the teaser headline for the link I followed. It probably would have been a good idea to go to the link to read the story before commenting because after reporting the urban legend it states:
A team of National Geographic experts has confirmed south Georgia's monster hog, known to locals as Hogzilla, was indeed real -- and really, really big.
They also noted the super swine didn't quite live up to the 1,000-pound, 12-foot hype generated when Hogzilla was caught on a farm last summer and photographed hanging from a backhoe.
Donning biohazard suits to exhume the behemoth's smelly remains, the experts estimated Hogzilla was probably only 7 1/2 to 8 feet long, and weighed about 800 pounds.
The confirmation came in a documentary aired on the National Geographic Channel; it will be rebroadcast.
I thought I would share that since we were on the swine subject and I thought people would read it, chuckle and move on....
mersiepoo...LOL I knew I misunderstood. I was like wow... a breed of pig that the meat stinks? Must taste darn good for it to still be traded. I will put that memo in my "fat chance of it happening but just in case it does notes": If I get a pig do not feed it fish or garbage. ROFL!!
Texasflip isn't that what the pigs have mud for? sheech some pigs really live high on the hog don't they...LOL
Doinalaska I hope you consider the things that others stated about the food, and that the pigs will smell bad so make sure they are far from your house (and your neighbors), and by all means do not get yours from Alapaha, Georgia. LOL
Here is a link that might be useful: National Geographic
Wild North American hogs? The Americas have no native hogs. The "wild hogs" in the Americas are feral hogs of mostly European stock.
Pigs are great. They are smarter than most dogs, so bad habits are better avoided as they won't go away. If they can get their nose under it they will go through it regardless of what "it" is. They are more efficient than just about any other type of livestock but the feed bill is still huge. Clip teeth and casterate at four or five days old or you'll have more work than you can handle.
And last but not least, you eat what they eat so feed them as cheap as you want but definately grain them out for sixty days before slaughter. That is the differance between the best and worst meat you've ever had in your life.
cpp how many do you have?
The Javelina also known as a Musk Hog or Mexican Hog. Since Hog is a common name to begin with having a common name Hog and being in the suborder Suina (Pigs and peccaries)is probably enough to justify calling them Hogs.
USMC apparently does, having said "Wild North American hogs? The Americas have no native hogs. "
Something else that occurred to me, bears in Alaska have very high levels of trichonosis, that suggests that your pigs will be exposed.
Brendan you surprise me. A person with the claimed science background as you trying to pass off a Peccary (Javelina) as a hog in the context of this thread. You should be ashamed. With your reasoning a Kola bear is the same as a Grizzly bear? Right? Prairie chicken and a leghorn chicken. Right? Muskrat and pack rat? Right? Ox and musk ox? Right? Back up the chain far enough and they are all related so skip that excuse. I would have had more respect for you if you would have manned up and said you misspoke.
He wants to convince you he is smarter than you, don't you get it?
I'm down to one sow who is due to farrow any day now. She is well bred and due to a top boar via artificial insemenation though, so I may not be able to resist keeping another gilt.
You shouldn't have any trouble with just two that didn't get their teeth clipped as it's mainly to keep them from tearing up the sows teats and drawing blood from sparing for teat space.
If they aren't weaned yet, leave them on the sow for at least a month. They can be weaned at two weeks but the longer they stay on the sow the better their minds develop and the easier they are to get along with.
USMC, if you care to continue this conversation my e-mail is available (and I do have a good deal to say about classification and cladistics, but it doesn;t belong here). I am well aware of the family level difference, I was speaking in common names, and did not make any claims of classification. I'm sorry you feel disappointed.
cpp6318 doesn't the tusk issue matter for dealing with adults? Boars can inflict some real damage with tusks, I would imagine a domesticated hog can too.
Kingdom: Animalia....Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata.....Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia......Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla..Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Tayassuidae..Family: Suidae
Genus: Pecari...........Genus: Sus
Species: P. tajacu.....Species Sus barbatus ect.
Sorry Brendan according to the link you supplied they are not even in the same family.
Brendan you did not say "musk hog" or "Mexician hog" you said "wild North American hog". You have yet to backed up that statement. Face it kid a peccary is not a hog.
MsJay The kid is smart. He makes some good points at times. This just happens not to be one of them. He will try anything say anything other than "I misspoke".
cpp- have you had any problems with the smell and neighbors complaining? How far is your pp from the house? How long would you keep them before going to market? Well as smelly as they are, they can be cute when they are piglets. post a photo! hmmmm since Don is in Alaska maybe smell will not be as much of a problem.
On the science I absolutely agree, they are not in the same family, scientifically peccaries and pigs and hogs are in different families that split long ago, I just think that is an appropriate extension of the unscientific term hog.
In the sense that it would have been more clear and accurate to say Javalena than Hog I will again agree with you, and years ago when I was more of a stickler I would have pointed that out to someone who made a post like I did. At this point I will freely refer to Pronghorn as antelope.
I do very much appreciate you remaining cordial during the course of this disagreement, but I suspect it falls down to a "value" issue, and it might be irreconcilable. In any case I would much rather continue this conversation in e-mail or if you prefer you can make a new thread, I'm not going to say any more on this subject in this thread because it is well off of Don's topic.
On the topic of pigs in Alaska, Most people in Alaska live fairly close to each other, there are a few strung out on roads but its not a state with large swaths of land split up into large lots. You may have only 20 households in a 100 sq.mi. area, but they will be close enough that you can easily walk to the next one on even the coldest of nights, its safer that way.
Pigs are actually reaaly clean livestock if you give them the opertunity. Mine is either turned out to pasture or on a concrete slab that I can hose off. The mud covered picture that pops into everyones mind comes from a pigs inability to sweat. They stay wet to let evaporation cool them and mud sheilds them from the sun. Shade and misters on concrete makes them just as happy.
As far as market weight, I'd say it depends on feed costs in your area. If feed is expensive, haul them in as soon as you can wean them as they'll eat more then they're worth if you aren't carefull but weaned pigs will bring in some money for a lower input cost.
well yeah I see pigs cooling off in mud mixed with poop.
I guess cool cement could work but would the pigs be just as happy??
Did you know that pigs can catch the flu from humans? I was on the CDC website and I did not realize this. You should read their brochure it is very interesting
Here is a link that might be useful: swine flu in pigs
My husband and I have been raising pigs for 25 years. Breeding stock, market hogs, feeder pigs and show pigs. Any specific questions you have, I would be happy to help you with. P.K.
Don, we raised our first set of pigs last fall and over the winter. We butchered them typically smaller than most due to circumstances beyond our control. We ended up with just over 200 lbs of meat...which is delicious!! I will never buy pork at the store again. As a newbie I don't offer advice as "the golden rule," but just observations of what we found and what we would change.
We used 4 hog panels for fencing and a 3-sided shelter made of old tin that my FIL had. Not pretty but they didn't seem to care ;) We kept straw in that for bedding. We fed them a sweet mix that we bought at the feed store along with corn, scraps, and alfalfa hay. To do it next time, we would buy ground corn or mix from the co-op instead of the whole or cracked stuff. They really liked the alfalfa hay. We bought one of those black rubbery type dishes for their water. We found that we were dumping mucky water anyway so didn't get one that big. Of course, over the summer you may need a bigger water container.
We had females and there was a dominant sister. She would bite and nip at the other one to eat and of course got a tad bigger. They were fun and I enjoyed them but wasn't so attached that I couldn't bear the thought of them going to butcher. My heart attachment ended when I realized that they would probably happily eat me if I fell in the pen, LOL! They weren't mean but would bite at my sleeve as I fed them, etc. We had Hamshires which I thought were pretty little pigs and were very lean. You won't regret raising your own but you really aren't saving a ton of money doing it that way, just so you know. To us it was worth the satisfaction of knowing we had raised them and knew they had a happy pig life. Lori
Pigs tend to fatten up after they have grown to adult size, so butchering young would probably result in leaner meat.
buy you pig nipple waterer at the feed store for pigs; cost about 7 bucks also your goal is to get these pigs to market size as quickly as possible nd feeding pigs is an exact science so buy commercial feed for the correct age of the pig and you will be ahead of the game by getting yours there faster and cheaper than any other way
Thanks for all the advice. I've been wanting to try pigs for a number of years, but my wife--who was raised in Iowa and whose grandfather was a hog farmer--wouldn't hear of it. She also is allergic to Sulfa and would occasionally react to commercially-raised pork, so we seldom ate pork products at our house. Last year, however, we purchased a hog at the 4-H auction in Palmer, Alaska, and she was SOLD. No sulfa reactions and the meat was great. We had the opportunity to acquire a couple weaner pigs in a trade for a goat. So far, they are working out great and are consuming all our extra goat milk with delight. We have been mixing it with commercial non-medicated goat feed. They drink all the milk and won't eat the grain unless they are out of food for a while. A farmer here told me that ground barley was a good thing to mix with milk, so we may try that.
There is not much odor yet. They seem to have only two places they defecate (in the corners) of their temporary pen. We have them in a 16' x 16' pen at the moment, but plan to move them out to a larger pasture-type environment in a few weeks. A local fence dealer said he uses pigs/hogs to dig out stumps on his property. He sprinkles corn around the bases of each stump and the pigs keep digging thinking there must be more corn down there somewhere; other articles I have read suggest that you have to drill holes around the stumps with a small auger and fill them with corn--pigs can't be fooled long enough to dig out a stump. Any experience? I figured it might also give them something to keep them occupied so there would be less chance of escape.
I know one of the original Mat-Su colonists who used to talk about doing the same thing, digging a narrow hole out and throwing in a corn cob. Nothing in your part of the state is all that well rooted to begin with, so it probably wont take them that long to uproot the stumps. I hear potatoes are a good choice of feed for pigs, because you can plant a patch, fence it in, then let the pigs harvest it. Glad to hear that your wife is on board.