Yesterday I gave you an update on the chickens and today it's the pigs turn.
What can I say, pigs are easy! I read soo many books before we got pigs and it just about scared me away from it. They sounded so high maintanence. I'm here to tell you they are not. They are MUCH easier than.....chickens.
Again I am no expert, but there really isn't much to this. So if your like me and you've read one to many books on raising hogs, relax. Last year we raised one, just to try it out. This year we got three! So, see? Not that bad!
Here are a few quick tips on raising pigs:
-Make absolutely sure they have a secure pen! They learn very well on an electric fence and all you need is one low to the ground wire to keep them in. You can section off some pasture or back yard and they'll stay. If you are not using an electric fence use hog panels. I have also seen people be succesfull with chain link fences, wood and plywood. Use what you've got, just make it secure. They like to scratch against anything and if your walls are not secure they will come down with a 100-250 pound pig rubbing on it all day.
-Give them water!!! They love water. There are different types of waterers you can use depending on your budget. I am home pretty much all day everyday so I just fill up their watering bucket when it gets low. TRY and keep the water clean. It's hard to do especially when they root around in the mud and then go for a drink. I clean it out at the end of everyday and start fresh.
-Give them mud. They need mud. Pigs don't sweat, so it's the only way for them to keep cool. Never spray a hot pig with water. The cold water hitting their hot skin could send them into shock. Just give them a mud hole and they'll be happy. By the way, you don't have to dig a hole, they'll do it for you. I heard the higher up the dirt is on a pigs nose the happier they are.
-Give them food 24/7! They eat when they're hungery and don't when they're not. Just make sure they have the option. Some use their manners when they eat and others don't!
-Fruits, veggies, bread, dairy, eggs, grass, oats, all good stuff for them. Since we don't use any antibiotics I never feed them food off of peoples plates. You never know if someone is coming down with a cold, the flu, whatever, you don't want them to run the risk of getting sick. I know they're very hardy and probably would never get sick from it, but I don't like the thought of contaminating my food.
-Make sure they have shelter from the sun. They burn easily. If you have a shady spot on your property I would put them there. If you don't make sure they can find relief from the heat. They also need shelter from rain. We allow our pigs a pen in the barn as well as outside.
-Cleaning a pig pen shouldn't be that hard. They keep things pretty neat as far as going to the bathroom goes. They don't like to go where they sleep. Our pigs take their business outside and go pretty much in the same corner. Makes for somewhat easy clean up.
We give them straw bedding indoors, so if they do decide to "go" inside the straw soaks it up and we can just scrape out the soiled straw. They don't go inside often, but occasionally it does happen.
-Pigs do like companionship, so if you can get more than one that would great. If not, that's fine to.
-With more than one pig they tend to compete for the food. They're real selfish like that. This is good for you though because they grow quickly. Another reason to make sure food is always available to them.
-ONE pig will go through 700-900 lbs of food in the few months that you have them. (You read that right, it's not a typo.)
-Pigs will be ready for processing after 4-5 months depending on how quickly they put on weight.
-250lbs, is an ideal weight. Last year ours was 240 and the butcher said she was one of the best ones he'd seen that year. After about 250 they tend to get fatty. So you're kind of just letting them get fat and eating you out of house and home after that.
Well, I hope that encourages some of you to try it!