Have you thought about raising pigs for consumption or sale? Here are a few things you want to consider:
Volume and Space. Pigs are social animals and so keeping multiple pigs keeps them happier and healthier than raising a single pig. Keep in mind that each adult pig will need about 30-50 square feet of space.
Housing and Fencing. Metal hog panels can be held in place by metal T-posts or wood posts. These panels are usually 4-5 ga. steel and come in 16′ lengths, 32” or taller. Four of these in a square will be enough space for two pigs. Secure the bottom well, as pigs like to root and escape. An electric fence is also possible, but pigs must be trained to recognize it with a solid backing, otherwise when first shocked they tend to run forward, through the fencing.
Provide a Hutch. A basic wood shelter to keep out inclement weather, high winds and provide a place out of the sun. Pigs sunburn easily, don’t pant well and only sweat through the bottom of their feet, thus they overheat easily. A three-sided structure with a roof is fine, covering 15-20 sq. ft. per pig, with a roughly 4′ tall opening. Smaller openings under the eaves will allow heat to escape during the hotter months. Remember that this structure needs to be built well enough to withstand being used as a scratching post by a 200 pound pig.
Remember the Wallow! A mud wallow assists pigs in regulating their temperature, keeps sunburn off and helps them avoid lice. Section off a small corner of their pen, till the earth and water it once a day.
Feeding and Watering. A water trough will need to be provided and will need to be secured to the ground or else the pigs will knock it over. Each pig will drink 2-4 gallons of water per day. In addition, pigs tend to relieve themselves close to their water source, so locate this far from bedding & feed trough.
A commercial feed with 16% protein (20-25%?) should be fed. A healthy pig will gain about a pound a day and eat about 3-5% of their body weight (10 lbs of feed per day for the first 90 days, then 5 pounds per day after, roughly). Pigs have only one stomach (not four like a cow) so a grain-only feed is not appropriate. Blue Seal carries a wide array of food specially formulated for pigs, from Medicated Piglet Crumbles to our Pork Maker Mash.
Food scraps should be a supplement, not the pig’s primary diet.
- OK Scraps: milk, fruit, vegetables, cooked meat, garden clippings, weeds, eggs (even spoiled), beans, cheese, yogurt
- Not OK Scraps: Raw meat, raw potatoes, rhubarb
Prepare for Cleanup. A 100-lb. Pig can create up to 2 pounds of manure per day. Have a plan in place for how to dispose of it. Composted pig manure and spent bedding makes for fine fertilizer, but you might run out of garden pretty quickly. Trade excess to your friends who don’t have pigs.
Anti-Parasitic Parasites and worms are a concern for an animal that spends all day rooting. Combat them with a dose of ivermectin every 6 weeks. Vaccinations are always a good idea. Check with your veterinarian.