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Old 12-30-10, 04:52 AM   #1
HandsomeRyan
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Raising Pigs?

Anyone here ever raise pigs to fill their freezer? My wife and I are thinking about getting a couple and I'm interested in seeing the setups of other backyard pig farmers. I've found a bit of information coming out of the UK and Australia but not a lot from people in the US.

I've been sketchup-ing possible designs for a pig house...



This was a first concept and it needs a bit of refinement.
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Old 12-30-10, 07:04 AM   #2
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One of my sister was the proud owner of a "lechonera". It's like a bar/night-club but they raise pigs, kill them, bbq them and sell them along with the beer. This was in PR, not in the states. My first concern would be to keep the pigs from freezing during winter.

Apart from that, I have no more info for you... with sis being the owner you can imagine all the free beer... ergo I don't remember much.
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Old 12-30-10, 07:56 AM   #3
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Been there, done that: The problem with raising just a couple of pigs is that, well, pigs are smart & have a lot of personality. So, if you don't mind eating your pet (because that's what you'll end up thinking about them), by all means go ahead. We couldn't eat Wilber (OR Polly OR Limpy). Pigs are nice animals! I'd rather eat one I don't know personally. Your best bet would be to find someone else in your area to do the same thing, and then trade pigs at butchering time.

BTW, in MD, a simple, above ground hut-like building with plenty of hay/straw for bedding in the winter will suffice - no need to go overboard, unless you plan to convert it to a guest house at some later date! A concrete pad will help with cleaning, but aside from that, board & bat on a small pole-barn type structure would do the trick; if you're in the mountains of MD, add a heat lamp for the really cold nights... but most home farmers get piglets in the spring & butcher in the fall, so winter is not a concern. You could actually build a small straw-bale hut for them on top of the concrete pad - no muss, no fuss, NO ZONING - temporary building!
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Old 12-30-10, 08:04 AM   #4
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Back on the farm we had about a dozen. Seems to me that raising just one or two would be much easier. They're much easier to care for than cattle or even chickens really. The hard part is keeping their pen clean, there's a reason the plot of the simpsons movie revolved around pig crap. Males are surprisingly quick for large animals and can be aggressive.
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Old 12-30-10, 10:21 AM   #5
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http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/strawbale.htm
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Old 12-30-10, 10:25 AM   #6
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If I recall, brick is the material of choice for pig houses. The stick and straw ones will just get blown up and the wolf will eat your pigs.
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Old 12-30-10, 10:46 AM   #7
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Been there, done that: The problem with raising just a couple of pigs is that, well, pigs are smart & have a lot of personality. So, if you don't mind eating your pet (because that's what you'll end up thinking about them), by all means go ahead. We couldn't eat Wilber (OR Polly OR Limpy). Pigs are nice animals! I'd rather eat one I don't know personally. Your best bet would be to find someone else in your area to do the same thing, and then trade pigs at butchering time.

BTW, in MD, a simple, above ground hut-like building with plenty of hay/straw for bedding in the winter will suffice - no need to go overboard, unless you plan to convert it to a guest house at some later date! A concrete pad will help with cleaning, but aside from that, board & bat on a small pole-barn type structure would do the trick; if you're in the mountains of MD, add a heat lamp for the really cold nights... but most home farmers get piglets in the spring & butcher in the fall, so winter is not a concern. You could actually build a small straw-bale hut for them on top of the concrete pad - no muss, no fuss, NO ZONING - temporary building!
Never been involved with raising animals for food (and I do like pork) - my father was raised by his German born parents on basically a self subsistence farm - where he milked the cow in the morning, fed the pigs and chickens - and once a year they killed off the pigs and butchered them there and froze them, etc. It would be hard for me though.

On another bike forum there is a guy in Montana who has a sheep ranch - and he posts the post remarkable pics of his lambs/sheep and of the landscape - however he agrees they are cute and beautiful - he also is in a business. I would have a hard time discerning between the two (which is why I'm not in the business and others are).

Here - there is something like a co-op type of thing (used to be anyway when I lived out of the city) where you put monies into the care and raising of say an angus (quarter/half or whole) - and at butchering time you would receive your half a "cow", all packaged and wrapped for the freezer. If I were to have a big family - I'd probably look into that.

Also - there is one awesome meat market here - out in the stick - where they do a lot of butchering for the local farmers - plus lots of deer, emu, etc ---- and they have a meat plan where you purchase a quantity of product (beef, pork, chicken, etc - one or all) - so many pounds and of so many cuts - great for people with freezers.
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Old 12-31-10, 08:43 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. I think my initial building plan is unnecessarily expensive and complex. I'm now looking at something simpler.

As for eating our pets, I don't think that will be a problem. I'm a pretty rational person and although I'm sure the pigs will be cute and I'd be kidding myself to say I don't think there will be some attachment but at the end of the day they are being raised for meat. I'm not planning to kill them myself, we'll pay the meat processing plant to do that so all I have to do is drop the pigs off and come back and pick up my meat cut and wrapped a few days later.

Instead of focusing on how awful it is to kill an animal, I think I can focus on that fact that the animal led a good and happy life (much better than if it were on a 'factory farm').

Now I need to decide on fencing. Stock fence, electric fence, or both?
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Old 12-31-10, 09:07 AM   #9
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It would be more fun to buy some rural property that has feral pigs running around, and whack one of them once in a while. They taste better, and you'd be doing the local, ecosystem a favor.
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Old 12-31-10, 09:18 AM   #10
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Yep, a simple structure is all that is needed as long as it's sturdy. Put the extra money into the fencing. My sister has a few pigs, and I can't even count how many times they have found ways thru my Brother-in-laws version of fencing. He's the master of jury-rigging things that don't hold up, Ha-ha! The concrete floor is a bonus for cleaning as others have mentioned.
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Old 12-31-10, 11:24 AM   #11
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Anyone here ever raise pigs to fill their freezer?
My freezer is pretty full of frozen veggies, so I imagine that a pig would enjoy it in there, but I'm not sure there would be room for the pig inside the freezer itself.
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Old 12-31-10, 07:17 PM   #12
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Stock fence with a strand of electric at the bottom to keep them from rooting under.
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Old 12-31-10, 07:31 PM   #13
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Anyone here ever raise pigs to fill their freezer?
Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!
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Old 12-31-10, 07:40 PM   #14
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Better check with the neighbors...pigs are pretty bad smelling.
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Old 12-31-10, 08:37 PM   #15
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I don't mind eating my pets. Especially if they're tasty!!! Damn PETA folks messed it up for the rest of us! I have to fly halfway around the world just to eat some horse!
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Old 01-01-11, 07:43 AM   #16
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pigs by the ones or twos are not smelly - if you never clean up after an animal, any animal is smelly. Pigs got thier reputation after the invention of the pig farm - when thousands of them were shoved together in a mucky wallow until slaughter. Left to their own devices, pigs wander about, rooting for worms, etc. Pigs do not crap where they sleep - when penned up, the pig will do its business in one area only. Settlers used to vaugly fence thier pigs into a woodlot, so the pigs would undermine the tree roots, thus killing the trees and making it easier for them to clear the trees out (with their mules) so they could have a field to plant thier crops in.

OMG. I get up on New Year's Day, grab my daily vitamins & water, move on to my yogurt, and fine myself defending.... PIGS!!! Better be a good year for bacon!!
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Old 01-01-11, 08:48 AM   #17
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If I recall, brick the material of choice for pig houses. The stick and straw ones will just get blown up and the wolf will eat your pigs.
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Old 01-01-11, 10:02 AM   #18
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wolf population (in the wild, anyway) of Maryland = 0. No problem.
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Old 01-01-11, 10:34 AM   #19
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I've been thinking of doing something similar...except I want it to stink to high heaven.

A little pen down by my pirate neighbor might make it so unbearable to live that he'll leave.

It's either that or start a skunk ranch.
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Old 01-01-11, 10:35 AM   #20
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wolf population (in the wild, anyway) of Maryland = 0. No problem.
You checked the faces under the red hoods?
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Old 01-01-11, 11:28 AM   #21
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I've been thinking of doing something similar...except I want it to stink to high heaven.

A little pen down by my pirate neighbor might make it so unbearable to live that he'll leave.

It's either that or start a skunk ranch.
Try raising mink!
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Old 01-01-11, 02:42 PM   #22
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for stinky, try a goose pen.
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Old 01-01-11, 02:48 PM   #23
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for stinky, try a goose pen.
Ooh, with the added bonus of obnoxious noise. Nice!
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