We like to raise our own meat for our family. Piggies are definitely part of that. Raising them is not just about the end goal of filling the freezer. It has much to do with entire process of raising them from piglets to butcher weight. I really enjoy watching the pig’s antics as they play together and just do their piggy thing. I am quite fond of the
fat beasts little cuties. I always have some mixed emotions when they head off to freezer camp. That’s the nice way of saying butcher time. While I will miss the pigs, I am grateful for the nourishment that they will provide my family for months to come. The satisfaction that comes from raising your own food is unexplainable. It is also a great feeling to look in your freezer and see it stocked full of nutritious food that you and your family have worked hard to raise.
Here are my top 7 tips for the novice pig farmer
Name them food names– This may seem odd to some but it helps separate the animals that stick around the farm from the animals destined for freezer camp. We’ve had pigs named Biscuit, Gravy, Pork Chop (etc…), and……. well, Pigby. I know, Pigby isn’t a food name but that’s what one of the Farm Kids called one and it stuck.
Have a good fence– Be sure that your fence is pig proof. If you use electric fence, be sure it is hot and that it works. Pigs are good at getting out. Pigs+escaped=bad news.
Don’t chase them– If they do get out, DON’T chase them. I repeat DON’T chase them. Bad idea, trust me, I know. Use some feed and lure them back in. Pigs are very food motivated, imagine that.
Have a plan– It is easy to rush into getting farm animals without putting a lot of thought into it. Once you are set up and ready for the animals you need to have a plan for what’s next. What will you feed them? How much water will they need access to? How long will you keep them before butchering (for meat animals)? Will you process them yourself or have a butcher do it? All of these questions need to be considered and have an answer to them.
Processing– You need to decide if you will process them yourself or have a butcher do it for you. If you do it yourself you need to educate yourself on how it is done. If you decide to use a butcher you will need to schedule well in advance. Many butchers are booked up for a couple of months. You also need to figure out how much it will cost you to have the pig processed. You need to be ready to inform the butcher of what cuts you want, how much you want ground, etc…….. You may be able to provide the butcher with your own seasoning mix for your sausage to ensure that you know what is in your food. Be sure to have ample amount of freezer space to store the meat once you get it home.
Expect things to not go as planned– This is true for any homesteading venture. It may also ring true for many things in life in general. My best advice is plan for the worst and hope for the best. You can usually find yourself somewhere in the middle when it is all said and done. I count that as success.
Enjoy the ride– This is one of my mottos in life. It is so easy to focus on getting from point A to point B. It is vitally important to take time each day to enjoy the moment. Have fun watching your little piglets grow into fat hogs.
If you haven’t ever raised pigs before this is the best thing I could tell you from my experience. If you have raised them, you may agree with what I have said or have some other advice to add.
Want to read about our pig raising adventure?: