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Author Topic: Basics advice for newby  (Read 4052 times)


  • Joined Mar 2009
Basics advice for newby
« on: March 25, 2009, 07:39:00 pm »
hi there, we are planning on taking on some pigs, we are complete newbys, we currently only have fruit, veg and a few chickens so any advice would be more than welcomed. what would be a good breed for beginer? what do we need to keep them, pig arcs etc? any good books recomended? any good courses recomended? generally any advice or experience you could share would be great. cheers.  :pig:


  • Joined Jan 2008
Re: Basics advice for newby
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009, 08:40:51 pm »
Hi Greg,
 best advice I can give you is,trawl through all the postings in this section and also the section marked "Fencing for Houdini-like JCB Digger-like Crashing Rhinos" to see what's needed. I'm confident that all the questions you have,have already been asked before on here.

You don't say where you are in the country,so difficult to direct you to the nearest pig keeping courses,but there's a few on the net. The best all-round book I can recommend is the Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency,covers everything you need to know in general terms and gives you a good grounding to go off and get your own experience.

Housing; 3 sq metres per pig in a dry,draft-free,knee deep in straw construction.
Feed;    1lb per month old per pig per day of Farine d'Orge (french for porridge esentially) plus any spare fruit and veg.. eg 3 month old pig gets 3lb of food per day split between two feeds.
Fencing ; Galvanised sheep fencing 1m high attached to posts on the inside of the pen,posts 2m apart. Barbed wire at ground level. Two strands of electric wire,1st at 6inches and 2nd at 18inches off the ground.

Make sure you have a vet organised,feed and straw supplier sorted,all that DEFRA stuff (unknown to me,someone will advise) and an abbatoir and butcher.Ensure you have everything built,tested and ready to receive your pigs before you get them. Lastly,try to source your pigs as close to you so you have back-up in an emergency or just a guiding hand. Oh,and enjoy them,and if they're for the freezer,Don't Name them!!

Any other questions,just ask away and far more experienced than me will answer..... Ree
They don’t join cliques — more times than not, they stand alone — but they recognize and gravitate towards one another. Only warriors understand other warriors.


  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Basics advice for newby
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2009, 09:19:22 pm »
thanks, great advice. cheers.  :)


  • Joined Aug 2008
  • Belcoo, Enniskillen, N.Ireland
  • Crazy Pig Lover
Re: Basics advice for newby
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 11:01:32 pm »

We chose intelligence over something docile. As such we started off with Tamworths, which, if treated with care and respect will do what you want them to do. We have Oxford Sandy & Blacks as well and whilst they are a fine pig (and indeed are often recommended as the ideal beginners pig) just can't understand what you want them to do, nice but dim as Harry Enfield would say.
Ensure that you have stock proof boundaries (we have a bottom strand of barbed wire to stop their snouts pushing under the fence). The inner defences are electric fences (we use tensioned steel cable and as such is semi-permanent in nature). After that we have the crocodile swamp and the minefield ! : ).

Great things to have around and very sociable creatures.




  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Basics advice for newby
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 07:05:33 am »
Starting with Pigs by Andy Case is a good beginners book.  As Mr Ree said, go through all the old posts on here, they will give you a good idea of what to expect and how to avoid pitfalls.  Pigs are very addictive.  My advice would be to start with 2 males neutered if pos. rather than females.  Aim to get them to a good killing out weight by the time they are 8 months old.  Dont overfeed the last couple of months as it becomes fat (tasty but expensive).  Above all enjoy your pigs, and dont forget when up to your knees in swamp, mud or other stuff, stop and remember why you started all this in the first place. 

Thats right it was to keep fit whilst avoiding the expensive gym, and to do a lot of running carrying a bucket and shouting come back, without looking totally mad.  Its a great life.


  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: Basics advice for newby
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 07:18:27 pm »
cheers everyone. Greg.


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Nottinghamshire
Re: Basics advice for newby
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2009, 08:50:44 pm »
Hi Greg,

My advise to you would be, think about what sort of Pigs you require do some research into different breeds and go and meet some Pigs and their Breeders, it always pays to befriend a breeder locally that you can call on later down the line for help and advise.
 Breeders generally are more than happy to help out a newby - they are proud of the pigs they produce and especially proud to show them off! Dont feel that you are under obligation to buy some weaners just because you have gone to look at some. On the note dont go to see a breeder letting them think you are coming with intension to buy if your not sure, Aslong as your straight with people they will welcome you into their porcine world with open arms!

All that aside the basic requirements for keeping a couple of weaners for meat are as follows,

A Solid weather proof ark, if your ark has a metal roof, ensure there is some other shade in there inclosure as metal arks get very hot in summer months.

Enough space, If your rearing two or three pigs for meat an area about the size of a tennis court would surfice, it may prove prudent to split it into two area'a to allow for rotaing the pigs on fresh ground. If you live in a area where the ground is heavy clay it pays to give them more room as in when wet weather they can soon become swamped in knee deep mud! Not nice for them or you!

Stock proof fencing, Many people i have seen use pig netting with barbed wire across the top and bottom with a strand of electric fence on the in side, this is a good way of fencing pigs. However it can prove to be an expensive out lay for materials and a big job to erect. If you have a mains power source i would reccomend using an energiser and 4 strands of high tensile wire mounted to posts 5 metres apart. This is just as safe for pigs but is cheaper,easyer and quicker to errect.

Water, If you have a tap near to where to are going to keep you pigs invest in a trough with a ball cock pigs can prove to be very thirsty at times and filling up troughs by hand can become a bit laborious!
It also helps having water on tap for creating those all important wollows!

Feed, growing pigs need to be fed twice a day to allow them to grow naturally, as said above growing pigs require 1 lb of food per day per month of their life, until they reach six months then the max they should have is the 6 pounds from then on in.
It is also important to take into account how much vegtable supplement they are getting too their diet ajust the food rations accordingly, always ensure they are getting enough protein food to allow them to grow naturally.

I could go forever but i'll let you digest this lot first!

As reccomended before Andy Case's book starting with pigs is a good start. Another is teach your self keeping pigs by Tony York.

« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 08:59:06 pm by BillyBerridge »


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Nottinghamshire
Re: Basics advice for newby
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 08:53:08 pm »
Sorry I've missed the vital part! Make sure you can get a CPH number before you even think of pigs to avoid disopointment!



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