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  • Pigs


    Just doing a bit of research on pigs and pig breeds for the farm.

    We're trying to get to a point of self-sufficiency with food production.

    We're looking for a medium sized breed and a heritage breed.

    Is anyone raising pigs? Any advice?


  • #2

    I have had pigs both wild and domestic. I would consider Berkshires or Tamworths [now rare] as being pretty good home type breeds.

    Someone on this forum has 'Old Blacks/Gloustershires' [i think that's the breed] with a lot of success. Spend a fair bit of time planning the food and confinement regimes. Google 'pastured pigs' there is a lot of info available that would suit the homegrower.

    The only pitfalls to having pigs are noise and personality.

    Noise, a pig will very quickly associate you with food and kick up a fuss if you are about or they are hungry - which tends to be all the time.

    Personality. Pigs are very easy to train and quite bright and can develop endearing personalities making it hard to despatch them.

    I would start with a barrow [castrated little pig] and have an execution date planned in advance.



    • #3

      Gidday Blink,
      How we used to get our pigs was we just rocked up at the local piggery and asked for a runt piglet. They were usually just a day or two old and very cute - just like Babe! They used to quite happily almost give them away. We were told runts are not cost effective and will be killed anyway because their growth weight is too slow. We take them home feed em up and have them butchered about 3 to 4 months later.
      We always used to get a piglet in November (the start of the fruit season) and feed it up on less than perfect apricots from our orchard.
      However last year when we asked for a runt we were told the cost of pork has gone up and runts were now kept. This wasn't our usual piggery so we will ask again (at a different piggery) in November this year.
      Try your local piggery, it's always worth asking.
      Whats the most important thing on earth? .....WATER. Without it we have nothing.


      • #4
        Hello Blink,

        We started keeping pigs only a couple of years ago and if you've got space, then it's well worth the bucket carrying for the amount of food (and fun) you get from them.

        They're clean and easy to house and manage with electric fencing - just don't let the battery die down. :shock: You can use them to clean up a bit of land for next season's veg planting and they eat anything you can give them, which is useful if you have excess milk, eggs, veg etc.

        They are also great at puddling a pond, if you've got clay soil dig a hole and they use it as a wallow, next year the pond will keep it's water because they've compressed the clay.

        You get a lot of pork chops and steaks for freezing, make hams, sausages, bacon, for air drying and loads of joints for sterilising in jars to keep you in food all year round.

        HERE are some photos of the food from a one year-old 140 kilo pig.

        I hesitated because I was scared, but my partner's family has always kept them and he persuaded me to try. They really are easy and I wish I'd done it years ago.

        I'd say do it.
        La Ferme de Sourrou projects with PHOTOS


        • #5
          Wow. That's a lot of meat! Well done, you!


          • #6
            Great pics. And what a load of pork !
            People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing.
            That's why we recommend it daily.


            • #7
              Hi Blinkblink

              We keep pigs and LOVE them. I am now selling my pork at farmers' markets I love them so much!! Pigs are easy to keep and great fun. It's best not to name them if you intend to eat them. We keep Large Blacks and have just ventured into a couple of other heritage breeds - Wessex Saddlebacks and Berkshires.

              Let me know if you want to know more. I don't think you are too far from me either?

              I love my pigs!

              Oxley NE Victoria



              • #8
                Thanks for the replies everyone.

                We were looking at Wessex Saddlebacks. The seem to be a reasonable sized pig. We will be in Lancefield so we're not too far from you.

                We'll be moving on to the block probably in late spring. Once we've done that I'll build an enclosures and shelters for some of the animals were getting. I'll PM you when we're a little closer for info and maybe a piglet or two.

                The whole thing with naming animals is tricky. We've got some Pekin Bantam chickens which have names, all 14 of them. Those are our pet chickens. I've got to convince my wife not to name the Faverolles when we get them as they'll be the 'Working' chickens. I don't know how successful I'll be with not putting names to the pigs though.

                It's really easy to get attached to the animals. Our next door neighbour has a Jersey Cow. She is such a sweetie. Every time she sees us she runs up and checks us over for food. Failing the food bit she's happy for a pat and a hug. It would be hard to use her for food.

                I keep telling myself animals that we grow and eat are 'Happy Meat'.



                • #9
                  A great piggy blog

                  This is a north american blog but beautifully simple and a site worth exploring if you have any interest in farm livestock.




                  • #10
                    Bill M is in the process of writing a book all about pigs, apparently there is none around. Don't know how far away it is but undoubtedly worth waiting for.


                    • #11
                      We breed pigs for the freezer. Landrace and Hampshires. Those who are destined for the butcher get given names like Ham, Bacon, Chop, Roast.

                      Having sent many off to the meatworks now I don't look at a litter of piglets and think how cute.....I think....Hmmm nice little hams on that one. :lol:


                      • #12
                        Hi Blinkblink
                        Pigs are great we ran a 30 sow piggery for 8 yrs , i also had pigs when i was in high school as a money earner .
                        If you "Name" them with a number you dont seem to get so attached , its a lot easier to eat number 27 than to eat Susie .
                        The Ladies used to check me out ---- Now they just keep an eye on me !!!


                        • #13
                          We always name our pig for the pot "Marçel".

                          The kids round here love watching our pigs in the fields, but they know when Marçel's no longer there what's happened to him.

                          La Ferme de Sourrou projects with PHOTOS


                          • #14
                            The comment about electric fence is spot on. Pigs respect electric. Most other fences they can rip through in almost no time.

                            An important rule is that if something smells off, you're doing it wrong.

                            Some articles and pictures I put together:



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