Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Perfect Pig for Profit??  (Read 11206 times)

Pundyburn Lynn

  • Joined May 2012
Perfect Pig for Profit??
« on: February 07, 2015, 11:19:02 am »
Experienced pig people...


We are inexperienced pig keepers, and are looking to take on a couple of weaners.  This is a tentative part of a business venture, so we want to find out as much as possible before committing.


We've looked at the pig calculators, but surely these figures would need to be adjusted according to the breed, as I'm sure a Large Black would cost more to feed than a Kune Kune! We would also consider a cross breed or a non-rare breed if anyone could advise.  Could people also comment on what age their pigs go for slaughter so that I can calculate feed costs more easily, and what weight they tend to be at this age?  Also, our local abattoir will only take pigs up to 100kg - will pigs ever get to 100kg??? 


Is there such a thing as a perfect pig - predictable and good-natured, cost effective to keep, providing good pork AND bacon, and making a reasonable profit? 




devonlady

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 11:26:35 am »
Oxford Sandy and Black :thumbsup: Look for a nice long one for your bacon.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 11:41:38 am »
There is no such thing.


Traditional breeds will take longer than commercial breeds to reach finished weights but will taste better.


You will find through trial and error what breeds suits you and your location. If you compared for example welsh, saddleback and oxfords you would find they would reach finished weights in that order - welsh, saddleback and oxford. The longer it takes to finish the more you have to charge to make the same profit.


Abattoirs charge the same to kill a small pig as a large one. Yes, they get to 100 kilos. I would keep a lop to that weight and know I would get a relatively lean carcase back. Keep a middle white or berkshire to that weight and you will have a lot of fat.


Keeping a couple of weaners for your own consumption provenance is important so cost maybe not so.


You want to make a profit you have to be realistic. How many people selling weaners are realistic about the price? If they worked out costs they wouldn't be selling at 40 but people end up selling for what they can get.


If you want to make money at pigs do plenty of research and go on a pig keeping course.

fsmnutter

  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2015, 11:42:46 am »
We have only kept kune kunes, but are very happy with them. I think we tend to break even with them where other people seem to struggle to make pigs pay. They are generally friendly (only exception was a slightly temperamental rescued sow who took exception to me but was fine with everyone else!) and love petting and belly rubs. The meat is great, really meaty and sweet, and we've had bacon from them as well as the best sausages in the world! The last pigs we sent were about 13 months and deadweights of 69 and 61 kg, probably about 80 liveweight. The next ones are now 11 months and a similar size, usually over 40" around the chest behind the front leg is about ready. Bigger breeds tend to eat more, ours graze and get carrots as well as pig nuts, and your bigger traditions breeds may go at 6-8months but could grow too big for your abattoir, eat more, and are less reliable at being friendly.
 :pig: are fun to have around, so enjoy whatever breed you choose, and don't be too upset if you don't make much or any profit at first, remember you just cant buy the joy of the pigs and the delicious meat!

honeyend

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2015, 12:00:15 pm »
My first pigs were Berkshires, just kept them till 6months. I didn't think they ate that much, 31/2 lbs nuts a day and a bale of straw every two weeks and they were way too fatty for us so perhaps I gave them too much. Very docile and walked into the slaughterhouse following a bucket. 

Fowgill Farm

  • Joined Feb 2009
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2015, 02:36:47 pm »
I hate to be negative but unless you have economies of scale (ie a big set-up) you can hope at best to break even with pigs, we send GOS pigs to the butchers at 22/24wks around 75/85kg dead weight (sent a baconer this week and got charged extra as she was 102kg whoops kept her a bit too long! but on the plus side got 37kg of sausages and the rest has gone for curing)
I would echo what Harmony wrote, do your homework, go on a course or visit somebody nearby who has pigs and give your pigs when you get them the best life you can and at the end you'll have some wonderful meat for your freezer but you won't be buying a Ferrari anytime soon ;D
Mandy :pig:

Porterlauren

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2015, 02:55:56 pm »
In my relatively limited experience, I have found the ideal pig for us to grow on for meat, is the saddle back x pie train. They seem to inherit their mothers hardy and pleasant nature, and taste, and from their sire, they get their excellent conformation and growth rates. There is a lot of hubris surrounding keeping only traditional breeds, but we have found that most folk are more (or at least as) interested in getting free range, well cared for and excellent pork, as they are the exact breed.

The Woodsiders

  • Joined Aug 2011
  • Near Horley in Surrey
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2015, 04:29:55 pm »
I think the most perfect pig for profit is the one that's got wings and flies across the sky  :-J  Still trying to find one.

Pundyburn Lynn

  • Joined May 2012
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2015, 06:58:45 pm »
In my relatively limited experience, I have found the ideal pig for us to grow on for meat, is the saddle back x pie train. They seem to inherit their mothers hardy and pleasant nature, and taste, and from their sire, they get their excellent conformation and growth rates. There is a lot of hubris surrounding keeping only traditional breeds, but we have found that most folk are more (or at least as) interested in getting free range, well cared for and excellent pork, as they are the exact breed.


Porter laurel, I am intrigued!


Not having dealt with many pigs before, how large is this cross breed?  What are the benefits of crossing these particular breeds?  At what age do you send to slaughter?  Approx what weight?  Are they good for pork joints and bacon?  How much do you sell the weaners for?  (My list of questions is endless...!)

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2015, 08:18:50 am »
Cross bred pigs absolutely fine for fattening. I can see the advantage of pietran cross in terms of conformation but they were bred to be fast growing, feed the masses and like many continental cattle just don't have taste. Cross breds will be cheaper than traditional but buying traditional breeds keeps preserve the breeds. You have to eat them to keep them.


You can't say a pig will be ready in six months. Some will be ready before and some after. As Fowgill said visit people with pigs see what you are aiming for.


We weigh pigs on our courses. They can be very deceptive. You are aiming for a finished carcase not a fat pig. Interestingly we also weighed with a fearing tape last time. We reckoned it was within 5 kilo's of the weigh crate.

hughesy

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2015, 08:44:16 am »
I think the idea of making a few quid out of a few pigs is to say the least looking at it through the old rose tinted glasses. Generally the smallholder who rears a few weaners doesn't count in all the costs and as Fowgill Farm has said economies of scale are necessary. If you're just going to keep a few weaners then treat it as a hobby, don't be too concerned about costs, and enjoy it. If however you want to make it into a business be prepared for some very hard work, a lot of dissapointment, an above all some potentially big losses while you try to build up a customer base. And think very hard about who you want to sell your pork to because you'll need to get top dollar for it to make it pay.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2015, 09:37:46 am »
I think the most perfect pig for profit is the one that's got wings and flies across the sky  :-J  Still trying to find one.

 :roflanim:

but sadly true!
Forget profit go for fab bacon!
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
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Porterlauren

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2015, 02:34:30 pm »
Roundlawlyn - I would say that they are about the same size as my saddlebacks, as growers, as adult sows, the saddlebacks are probably a bit taller, as they are more 'rangy', but the pie-train crosses have far better conformation (butts like J-lo, shoulders like frank bruno), and so weight more at the same size (if that makes sense).

I would say that the biggest benefit of crossing these two breeds is that you get the best of both worlds. They seem to have the flavour, the hardiness and easy temperament of the saddleback but have the conformation and growth rates of the pie-train. The biggest thing the pie-train ads though, is that conformation! The hams, shoulders etc are far far fuller, and more rounded, and the chops are huge.

I have a litter here now, that are five months old, bearing in mind they have not been pushed, and have been free ranging in the winter months, they are at the 55-65 kilo live weight stage now, some are probably 70 kilo. I will send them at around 80 kilos. If I push them, they could reach similar weights much quicker. These guys, since weaning have been on 4lb of feed each per day, if they were fed ab-lib they would be killable by the 4 month mark.

They are good for both pork and bacon, and do not seem to run to fat anywhere near as easily as the pure traditional breeds can at times, but it can be added if desired.

The best i've ever got for weaners is 50 for birth notified saddlebacks, so taking 45 for these, i'm happy.

Basically it's the same model as I operate with the sheep, a terminal sire over a good maternal animal, in order to produce a good marketable offspring.

Harmony - Now i'm not going to start an argument, but do you actually have any evidence to support what you have said? Or is it just the usual small holder hubris? I hear it a lot that the traditional breeds taste far far better than any x-breeds. . . . but usually folk have never actually done the taste test. They are merely putting their experience of the bland, mass produced supermarket crap, against what they have produced at home. I would suggest that there are far far more factors affecting the taste of pork, than merely its breeding, the way its reared and fed, probably being most important. Also these particular cross breeds, are half saddleback anyway.

We did some taste tests, and basically most folk have not noticed any difference, and if they do, it's more likely to be the size of the chop they notice (in a good way!). They have all without fail, said that the cross breeds tasted 'fantastic'. For the record we also keep traditional / pure breeds.

I do understand the idea of supporting traditional and rare breeds, but i'd hardly say that the saddleback, osb etc are endangered! They are under going a massive revival with all of the 'good lifers'.

oaklandspigs

  • Joined Nov 2009
  • East Sussex
    • OaklandsPigs
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2015, 07:13:00 pm »
See the pig calculator at the top of this page

As others have said pigs and profit don't equate.  You can make make a paper profit - but you'll never get rich

Pigs and taste - now that's a different story - keep a few to fatten for meat for yourself and family and friends, and you and they will never eat plastic supermarket pork again !!!!

Courses - try ours www.oaklandspigs.co.uk  - make a weekend of it and visit London one day and us the other !
www.Oaklandspigs.co.uk
"Perfect Pigs" the complete guide to keeping pigs; One Day Pig Courses in South East;
Weaners for sale - Visit our site for details

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Perfect Pig for Profit??
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2015, 08:41:08 pm »
I have no problem with cross breeds. I've crossed myself. Porterlauren has found a cross they are happy with and that's fine by me. Just wouldn't be my choice. We all have different tastes - thank god. I actually said traditionals taste better than modern breeds. I didn't say better than cross breeds.


I have kept traditional and modern pure breeds - I prefer the traditional in taste and so do those who have my meat.


There is a general decline in pig numbers across the species not just individual breeds due to various factors. Some traditional breeds were enjoying an increase in the number of breeders and that is why the Rare Breeds Survival Trust has catergories and doesn't say all traditional pig breeds are endangered. I don't believe any pig breed is presently undergoing a massive revival with the "good lifers".


I keep Lops and for me they tick my boxes but if someone asks me what is the best breed I can only say, like Porterlauren, which type works for me.

 

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