Raising pigs can sound like a challenging task, especially when commercial farms are always under close scrutiny since flu outbreaks sparked from mass-produced meat. However, by raising a pig or two on your own, you have complete control and oversight on how it is taken care of — from raising it all the way to butchering it. Unlike domestic animals, pigs raised for meat production have to receive extra attention. You only reap what you sow, so it makes sense to put in a little bit more effort for top-of-the-shelf pork.
If you’re new to raising pigs on the homestead, we have some tips that can come in handy. Farming is no easy feat, but with a strong foundation and a clear understanding of the task at hand, you’ll build the confidence you need along the way. If you’re planning to take on pigs, there is no doubt doing the research can help you immensely. The next step is to take a leap of faith — because the best way we learn is while we’re on the job. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
The ‘S’ Word
Before we get to it, it’s important to get some things out of the way first. When it comes to raising pigs, there are alternative motives that you can choose — such as companionship, breeding purposes, or meat production. If you’re new to raising pigs for meat production, it’s important to decide immediately if you are able to handle slaughter. If the answer is no, don’t try to force it upon yourself to try and change your mind about it. It won’t work well even if you get the pigs and think you’ll automatically change your mind once it’s time for the chop. When it comes to raising pigs for meat production, it’s extremely vital to adopt the mindset that you are committing to a food-producing business.
The last thing you need is to form emotional bonds with these intelligent animals and change your mind at the last minute. This will cost you more money and eat up more of your time. In fact, the larger the pig grows beyond optimal slaughter weight, the less desirable its meat becomes, and the more hazardous to your family. The optimal slaughter weight ranges from 200 to 250 pounds, so if you’re willing to go past that point, just know you’ll be putting in more dollars in producing fat instead of meat.
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There are some farmers who go through with it, but because they aren’t fully committed to the idea of the food-growing operation they had intended, they found it hard to consume the pork after. It may be a tough decision to make, but at the end of the day, you’ll be made to choose between slaughtering the pig or waste more money by keeping it alive for longer. From a more logical standpoint, wouldn’t it be preferable to know how the meat was raised versus buying it from the store and trusting vague labels? At least if you were the one behind the scenes, you’d know you put in the best care and effort into that meat compared to those raised in commercial farms.
When you have to slaughter your pig, you can choose to send it to a professional meat cutter, or slaughter it by yourself. You can send it to a certified slaughterhouse, but they most likely ask for a fee for this service. At your own farm, slaughtering the pig could be the most humane to do. If you choose to do the latter, ensure that you choose a cool day to do so.
So, ask yourself again, what do you intend to do with a pig in your homestead? If it’s for meat, will you be able to handle slaughtering it?
How Many Pigs Should I Get?
If you’re sure of committing to raising pigs for meat, the next question to tackle is how many to get. If you’re new to the gig, it’s highly recommended to get one or two at the maximum. As it is your first time, it’s better to focus your efforts on a single piglet, than to half-heartedly try to raise two. If you need help deciding, let the numbers speak for themselves. Raising two pigs would mean more time, more money, more resources, and more labor. Plus, think about all the defecation you would have to clean up with two pigs! That being said, pigs are actually very clean and smart animals. They do their ‘business’ at a designated spot, which is less work for you unless you prefer to play hide and seek with poo every day.
If you do choose to begin with raising one piglet, it’s advised not to isolate them and expose them to other beings and animals. Pigs are social creatures after all! Pigs will learn to recognize you and your family, and then farming them will become easier.
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Caring For Your Pig
Many experienced farmers will tell you these intelligent creatures will escape any weak pens at any chance. That wouldn’t be fun farming an animal that always runs away! So invest in sturdy fencing to keep them in, and natural predators out too. Don’t forget to build a shelter for pigs to rest under during sunny or rainy days too!
When it comes to food, pigs require nutritious grain and feed and clean water. As the saying goes, you are what you eat — and this applies specifically well with raising pigs. If you have quite a bit of land and allow your pigs to roam about, investing in nutritious grass for the pigs to forage on can help ensure they have a healthy intake of food and at the same time fertilize the ground they roam.
To wrap things up, raising pigs for slaughter is not for the light-hearted. However, if you’re able to see past that, you’ll be proud to know you had a stake in producing quality pork. Hopefully, this article has helped give you a rough idea of what raising pigs on the farm is like.
Featuring a wider opening than most buckets, this makes hauling heavy loads a lot easier. Not to mention that it has finger grips.
|2||Happy Pigs Taste Better|
A guide to organic and humane pasture-based pork production, this guidebook will definitely come in handy in raising organic meat.
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Made of glass and energy saving, this bulb is anti-explosion and ideal for all types of farm animals like cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep.
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With a patented quick-release dump feature, this cart makes unloading quick and easy. It has a heavy duty 40-inch x 25-inch poly bed.
Featuring a snap-on nipple with a vacuum air vent, this is made of strong and durable polyethylene. It makes feeding piglets easy and sanitary.