- Jul 9, 2012
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You can start raising your own pigs at home as a family or 4-H project. The most appropriate time to start purchasing feeder pigs is when they are weaned and between 6 and 8 weeks old. After 6 months, they will reach market weight, which is 200 to 250 pounds. You should look for pigs with a smooth coat, pinkish skin tone, and alert temperament. Purchase feeder pigs that weigh around 40 pounds. Castrated males or females are best.
Pigs are available in a wide variety of breeds and crossbreeds. They all have their own distinctive characteristics. In the past, pigs were either bred to make lard or produce bacon. Today's breeds are bred for a long, lean carcass that is high in muscle and low in fat. If you choose your feeder pig, make sure it's larger than its litter peers. Small piglets tend to do poorly compared to these larger ones.
HousingMake sure you have a place to house the pig before bringing it home. Pigs need to be protected from the weather. It is very essential that they have a dry place that is protected from the sun during warm weather. Additionally, in cold weather, pigs require a dry, sheltered area from wind and cold. Make sure the pen is big enough to accommodate the growing pig. Pigs need plenty of room to move around. At least four square feet will be required for each young pig weighing 50 pounds. After reaching a weight of 200-250 pounds, each of them needs a space of 10-12 square feet.
During warm weather, you can keep pigs outdoors. Pig fencing is essential. If you train the pigs to it, you can use a temporary moveable electric fencing system, or a permanent hog-tight woven wire fence with a board around the bottom to discourage digging. A moveable fence system enables you to use the pigs to clear and maintain a piece of land; the pigs will get some of their food from the pasture, and it will keep the pig pen from becoming muddy and reduce odors. You should provide protection from the sun for the pigs if you keep them outside. Pigs have sweat glands only on the snout, so they become sunburnt and overheated quickly.
You should use pig-tight housing and fencing no matter what. This is a highly intelligent animal. Whenever a weak point in the pen is present, they will find it and get out. The task of catching pigs in the morning is difficult, especially if you have to leave for work!
WaterPigs drink between two and four gallons of water per day. Fresh, clean water should always be available to them. The simplest way to provide water to your pigs is to provide a tub of water despite the multitude of mechanical and automatic waterers available. Keep your watering system clean, especially in warm weather. In the event that you provide a tub of water, keep it secure so pigs won't root under it and spill its contents.
FeedPigs are very vulnerable to stress when leaving their litter mates, changing locations, and being transported. Plan ahead to minimize stress. During the first few weeks, try to feed your newly acquired pigs the same feed they ate in their previous home to reduce stress. The pigs should be gradually introduced to the new feed until they adjust to it.
Well-cared-for pigs gain about one pound a day. Growing pigs need to eat a balanced diet that can provide them with the necessary proteins, energy, vitamins, and minerals. A higher protein percentage is required for younger pigs. The requirement for protein decreases as the pig grows. Healthy, efficient growth depends on matching the diet to the pig's needs. Pigs at various stages of growth can be fed pre-mixed feed formulated to meet their nutritional needs. This includes starter feeds, grower feeds, and finisher feeds. Despite the possibility of blending your own grains for pig feed, the process might not be profitable since ration balancing requires detailed knowledge.
Pigs are sometimes fed table scraps and other food waste. While this can reduce feed costs, you may still need to use premixed feeds to meet your pig's nutritional requirements. Pigs should never be given raw meat if you feed them food waste. You and your pig could be affected by disease organisms found in raw meat. According to federal law, food wastes containing meat (even cooked meat scraps) have to be cooked according to specific guidelines before feeding to pigs. Otherwise, the meat cannot be sold.
HealthThe best performance of the pig depends on controlling internal parasites, like roundworms. Deworming is typically done about a week after weaning & then twice more at intervals of 30 days. Dewormers must be used according to the instructions on the label. Do not deworm too close to the market date to prevent medication residues from remaining in the meat. Detailed instructions will appear on the package's label. Contact your veterinarian if you are unsure.
Applying approved pesticides and maintaining a clean environment help control external parasites such as lice & mange mites. It is possible to prevent diseases that affect pigs by providing adequate nutrition, housing, sanitation, and management. A herd health program can be established with the help of preventative vaccines. Consult your veterinarian for more information.
ManagementKeeping pigs clean is easy if you let them. They will select a designated eating area, sleeping place, and waste elimination area. If you keep them inside, provide an area free of bedding for waste and a raised-bed area for lounging. If you keep them outside, they will establish their own preferences.
Keep the pen dry and remove manure from it daily to reduce odors. When deciding where to locate your manure storage and housing areas, consider your neighbors. Manure storage areas that are dry are less odorous. Keep the rain off the manure by covering it. The soil benefits from the addition of composted pig manure.
Are you raising any pigs on your homestead?