She’s Fat As A Hog!

*It’s a sad statement on Americas health, but the true facts are most pigs/hogs are leaner and in better health than many Americans.
Careful breeding programs, feed developments and controlled feeding programs, Pigs are lean and produce a healthy meat for your dining table.

chester pig
Raising a pig for your families table is easy. From weaning age to processing weight is about 6 to 7 months. This will produce a live weight pig of 250 to 280 pounds live weight which is an idea weight to process for your table. A 250 pound pig will produce about 170 pounds (280# pig=190#) of fresh and cured pork. If you can manage it, you should purchase a weaning pig every 180 days(6 months). This will keep the average family supplied with fresh pork year round.

Raising a family pig is not possible it you live in town. I know of no town/city that will allow you to raise a pig within it’s city limits.

Shepherds Hill Farm and Gardens Raising a Homestead Hog

We have learned several things through raising a hog for our family. Here is a list, but I hope to develop this list a bit more:

Hogs must have STRONG fencing.
The more you can feed a hog on leftovers (slop) the less you have to buy in the way of feed.
For starting a hog – use 13% protein feed and for growing use 16% feed.
Soybean meal will grow a hog but it will produce a softer fat. This is not good for bacon producing.
Hogs are very susceptible to parasites and must be wormed regularly.
The breed of hog has a lot to do with the kind of meat you desire. Certain breeds are better for ham, bacon, lard, etc. Study to see which one is best for your needs.
Hogs can be raised on concrete. It is easier to keep the pen clean and regulate the amount of fresh earth they get.
Hogs do like to have some soil to eat on a regular basis. Hogs do not stink unless their owner is lax in keeping their area clean. So it is not the hog that stinks, it is the owner.

usda pig chart

Pigs do not require a great deal of space. The basic equipment needs are a small shelter, self feeder and waterer. A properly built pen will keep the pigs clean and consequently keep odors to a minimum. The following table lists the space requirement recommendations for pigs using a building with a form of overhead covering:

Pig Class Square Feet
*Growing-finishing 6 sq.ft. inside, plus 6 sq.ft. outside
*Sows 11-12 sq.ft. Inside, plus 11-12 sq.ft. Outside
*Boars 40 sq.ft. Inside, plus 40 sq.ft. Outside

Shade is extremely important for pigs. In very hot weather it may be necessary to wet them down to prevent prostration. If some form of shade is not available, as in a treeless pasture, erect a simple shelter, open on all four sides and as far off the ground as possible.

**Hints: Buy a weaned barrow or gilt pig weighing about 40 pounds, eight weeks old. The pig should have already been wormed. If you are raising pigs for eating purposes only, then purchase a male (barrow)pig (has already be castrated) they will grow and reach market weight a bit faster than a gilt pig.

When selecting a pig, choose the healthiest one. Even if you have little experience with swine, it is easy to spot the healthy ones in a litter. Do not pick a small, listless animal or one with obvious defects. Choose one with bright eyes, alert nature and a good appetite.

Feeding Since feed costs represent 70 to 75% of the cost of swine production, you should carefully analyze all aspects of the feeding program. Swine require various levels of nutrients depending upon size and weight. In general, nutrients can be classified as energy, protein, minerals and vitamins.

Young pigs, up to 77 pounds, need about 16% protein in their diet for optimum growth and development. On the average, a 40-pound pig will eat about 2.75 pounds of 16% protein feed a day and gain 1.10 pounds a day. Barrows will eat slightly more and gain slightly more than gilts, and consequently often cost a little more to purchase. Pigs this age require about a gallon of water per day.
Helpful Hint: Pigs eat {need} 4 percent of their body weight daily ie. 100 pound pig will eat 4 pounds of feed daily.

Vitamins and minerals are important in any animal’s diet, and pigs are no exception. Most producers will either buy a complete ration from a feed company or purchase a hog supplement to mix with homegrown feeds. If you do the latter, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Follow the nutrient requirements closely.

Care and Management The care and management of the market pig is fairly simple. Usually all you need is to provide pigs with plenty of feed, water and adequate protection from the weather. However, a few other precautions should be followed: After purchasing your pig, take it home and allow it to get acquainted with the new surroundings.
Then you should: Spray for lice. Treat for worms with a recommended dewormer, once at about 40-50 pounds and again at about 100 pounds.

Provide feed and fresh water free choice at all times. (Best through the use of self-feeders).
Watch that the pig does not get too hot in the summer. Since swine do not sweat as we do, they may need some help from you. You may need to spray pigs with a fine mist of water on very hot days.

Cleaning the pen frequently and thoroughly will help you to raise your hogs without additional antibiotics and medication. Keep bedding dry. Sunshine and fresh air are the cheapest and best disinfectants.

Good nutrition is essential for health.
smoke cured ham
Terms you should know
Gilt: Young female pig
Sow: An adult female pig that has had at least litter of pig
Boar: An uncastrated male pig
Barrow: A castrated male pig

Links and reference documents
Pig Fact Sheet
USDA – Food Safety – Pork Fact Sheet
CSU – Small Acreage Raising Livestock


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