The idea of raising your own pigs can seem downright enjoyable. With some daily work, a sturdy fence, shelter from the elements, and a lot of food and water, you too can raise pigs. Before you go out and buy a couple of hogs and dream of saving money on the meat, there are a few things to consider.
Start with Two Pigs
When you start out, it’s best to get two swine. Getting more than two pigs at the beginning can put quite a strain on someone who has never raised one before. Additionally, pigs are social creatures, and while raising two will require double the food, double the space, double the water, and double the maintenance, it can make for a healthier and happier animal.
You Need a Sturdy Fence
Sturdy is actually an understatement. You want a fence that’s Fort Knox tough. Galvanized hog panels in 16-foot lengths are a great option. Constructed with 4-gauge wire, these panels are easy to put up and tough to knock down. Be sure to bury a portion of the panels into the ground so your pigs don’t attempt to root under them.
Give Pigs a Place to Sleep
cozy, warm, and sheltered place to sleep. It will also make for a nice shelter from the elements, including intense sunshine.
Pigs Can Be Pushy
Depending on the breed, a full-grown pig can weigh upwards of 300 pounds. They can easily push over an adult and can even harm a child or other animal. That’s why it’s best to keep them in a separate area or pasture. Better yet, be sure the pen and sleeping area you create can be managed from outside the fence.
Plan for Manure, Mud, and Muck
Pigs will defecate in one area of their pen in most cases. But the manure will pile up and smell if left for more than a day or two. To keep the odors down, plan to scoop the manure out daily, and place straw throughout their area to keep them from rooting and making mud. Some experts suggest adding upwards of 4-inches of straw where they sleep as well as in feeding and watering areas. If your pigs will be in a larger pasture, straw can be confined to their paddock.
You’ll Need Plenty of Food and Water
A 200-pound pig can eat quite a bit of food every day. Luckily, pigs will happily eat almost anything healthy, including your family’s table scraps. Bags of balanced hog food, grass, and other feed can keep your animals fed and encourage growth. Just be sure you have a plan to feed them every 12 hours. Additionally, clean water is a must. Ponds and sturdy troughs work just fine for most pigs.
Coastal Tip: Pigs can get aggressive at feeding. Make sure your pig’s feeder is sturdy and heavy enough to avoid being moved by your animals.
Pigs Aren’t Always Cost Effective
But the rewards can be well worth the hard work. Be sure to read our recent article on Livestock Butchering Options and how doing that work yourself can save you quite a bit of money.
Get What You Need at Coastal
You’ll find fencing, feed, troughs, straw, medication, as well as people who know a thing or two about raising pigs at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. Stop by and tell us about your pig plans and we’ll give you some tips on raising swine in your region, what to expect and how to get the most from your livestock.