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Heads-up @Baymule, I'm studying your pig threads

Discussion in 'Gardening With Animals' started by canesisters, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Jan 17, 2019
    canesisters

    canesisters Garden Master

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    I just saw an ad on my cow forum for 3 FREE AGH about 2-3hrs from me.
    I'm not set up for pigs right now but DO intend to add them to the farm at some point and have always planned for it to be AGH. So, at that price, I can't hardly not consider moving that time line WAY up.
    I've PMed for more info - but, in the mean time I'm scouring threads to get real, hands-on insights and info from folks who have raised pigs recently.
    I might be asking a bunch of questions real soon about your pig adventures :D
     
  2. Jan 17, 2019
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    Cane, I have never raised pigs on my own but every spring Dad would get one or two and we'd butcher in the fall. Depending on how much you do yourself butchering can be a lot of work crowded into a short time period or you can get someone else to clean and package it for you. Dad would haul the carcass off and we'd get a lot of raw meat back later, sometimes with some of it already turned into sausage, sometimes we'd grind our own. After he quit farming full time and got a regular job we did less on our own. I have clear memories if rendering the fat into lard. We'd get several gallons of lard which Mom would use for her cooking. Things fried in lard are just that much better and oh, those biscuits she'd make. Occasionally Dad would salt cure a ham but most of the meat was wrapped and put in the freezer. How big is your freezer?

    I don't recall pigs being hard to raise, they are pretty tough. It will be interesting to see what @baymule says about that. They do eat a lot so if you keep them penned you have to feed and water them regularly. They are not as bad as a milk cow or milk goat in tying you down but you know how much animals restrict your freedom to just get up and go. They require a stout fence, they are incredibly strong and pretty smart. You don't want one running loose. Some people pasture them but that would be an expensive fence.

    As for them eating, Dad would plant 2 acres of field corn every year. Some of that was ground for cornmeal but really a negligible amount. A very small amount was fed to the chickens in winter, as long as no snow was on the ground they foraged OK. The nubbins or shelled corn were fed to the milk cow as we milked her. The two plow horses regularly got their portion, so the corn was used for a lot of different things. But a lot of it, probably close to half, was fed to the hogs after they reached a certain size to fatten them up. We kept a slop bucket in the kitchen where Mom would toss all her kitchen wastes, practically everything not paper or plastic. Every evening that went to the pigs from the time we got them to the time we butchered. They got a lot of garden wastes and excess. We'd cut pigweed and other weeds for them. So while they were not that hard to raise they took a lot of feeding. We really wanted a lot of fat for lard so we fed for that. Lard was valuable.

    I don't know how big they have to get before coyotes would leave them alone. If you get one or two now I'd think about a building you could keep them in for a while, protection from weather as much as coyotes and similar. You'd have some time to build a pen. We lived fairy close to the Tennessee-Kentucky-Virginia border, probably not that different form your climate though I think it is a little warmer now than when I was a kid so our climate wasn't that different from yours. If I remember right Dad would get the pigs in March or April after the worst of winter was over.
     
  3. Jan 18, 2019
    baymule

    baymule Garden Master

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    FREE AGH? Ready or not, go get them! LOL Isn't that the way we do things? Get the animals, then figure out what to do with them. If nothing else, make a quick cow panel pen and a hay bale shelter. Then you can build what you want.

    I love, love, love my Pig Palace. Right now Pearl the horse is still in quarantine, living it up in the Pig Palace. A bin feeder and a water barrel with a hog nipple, sure makes them easy to care for.

    A lot of people run a hot wire around the bottom of the pen to keep the pigs from digging out or tearing up the fence. I don't have a hot wire, even Wilbur (820 pounds) stayed in. Maybe I'm just lucky?

    Home grown pork is the best! Let the fun begin!
     
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  4. Jan 18, 2019
    ninnymary

    ninnymary Garden Master

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    Run! Don't walk to get them! After caring for your cow, how hard can a pig be? You can do it!

    Mary
     
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  5. Jan 18, 2019
    baymule

    baymule Garden Master

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    Baby piggies are sooooooo cute!
     
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  6. Jan 18, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    yeah, it makes sense to get them later when the feed you give them goes towards growth more instead of keeping themselves warm...
     
  7. Jan 18, 2019
    canesisters

    canesisters Garden Master

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    She PMed back that someone was supposed to pick them up this weekend. :hit

    But, online things like that sometimes fall through so IF she's still got them after the weekend I'm next on the list.
    It's the mama pig and 2 of her last litter gilts. She said that she would prefer to let them go to someone who would use them for breeding rather than slaughter them and I assured her that if I got them at least one of them would stay as my 'pet pig & maker of future bacon seeds'.

    First on the list is arraigning transportation - but the promise of a meal & a full tank of gas afterward will probably be a sufficient trade - it's just a couple hours away.
    Next is housing - worst case - I can put them in the calf stall for a couple of days. It's only 10x12, but it's barn wall on 2 sides and cattle panel/wood planks on the other 2.
    I've picked out a spot for a pig pen that will let them have: an open area, some trees for shade, a slight slope for good drainage, a naturally damp area (spring??), one corner will touch the current pasture so I can easily tap into the electric fence if needed, far enough from the house so smell "hopefully" won't be a problem, but close enough that I'll only have to add one length of hose to the one supplying the chickens to have 'in-pen' water access.
    What little research I've been able to do so far tells me that AGH are generally friendly & easy to handle and are not generally aggressive rooters. Several people have described them as the perfect 'starter pig'.

    I'm terribly excited over something that will probably not happen.. but, hey, why not? Dreaming and planning is part of the fun of this whole 'mini-homestead' thang. :D
     
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  8. Jan 18, 2019
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    Dreaming and planning is a lot of the fun. It's even better when dreams come true without reality getting too much in the way.

    Another pig story. My uncle got a sow for breeding. She had a large litter but then rolled over on them and crushed them all shortly after they were born. From what I've heard that type of thing isn't unusual. I don't know what the right preventative measures are but I'd imagine there are some. If you do breed a sow for farrowing you might want to read up on it.
     
  9. Jan 18, 2019
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    It's a little simpler than that. That was when the farmer that sold the pigs had them weaned and ready for purchase. When they are born piglets are pretty sensitive to cold, you don't want it to be too early in the spring.

    The timing worked out pretty well. When we had pigs the kitchen slops went to them. From when we butchered them until we got new pigs the slops were available for the chickens. During winter that was a supplement to the chickens' foraging. When you are on a subsistence farm you try to be as efficient as possible. Nothing is wasted and you purchase as little as you can.
     
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  10. Jan 19, 2019
    baymule

    baymule Garden Master

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    AGH root too.

    Why don't you raise a feeder pig or two to start with? It is certainly easy to "get in" and "get out" of pig raising. That way you can see if keeping breeding stock is what you want to do.
     
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