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Author Topic: Starting with pigs:  (Read 637 times)

Shropshirelass

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • South Shropshire
  • A country lass who loves it all!
Starting with pigs:
« on: October 05, 2021, 01:32:40 pm »
So me & my cousin have recently inherited the family farm after working on it for many years with mixed sheep, cattle & poultry but we're considering doing a few pigs but don't know where to start or if it's worth it for the input vs output as opposed to sheep & cattle that you can stick out on grass for the best part of a year, depending on what you want to do with them.

We'd probably be looking to barn rear a few pigs in old cattle sheds, maybe weaners to start & then looking to get a small breeding herd depending on how things go. The sheds have plenty of space & ventilation ( we lamb our 400+ ewes in there & pens we can easily move & sort stock with, I like the idea of traditional / rare breeds as opposed to commercials.

We're not really looking to rear outdoors due to the grazing being too good for sheep & cattle & rental potential for it to be torn up by pigs & putting in the added work & expenses of fencing that pigs will destroy when I've seen similar set ups to ours where you can rotate stock easily & clean out nice & quick as well as ease of handling.

Money & work wise is there decent margins to be made with pigs? I know market prices aren't great at the minute, but ours wouldn't be going through markets, just down to the local abattoir & I was thinking along the lines of meat boxes & maybe doing mixed meat boxes with our lamb & beef.

But I understand with pigs its pretty much the conception that you're constantly putting food into them & for not huge return, I get that porks also more readily available what with bigger litter sizes ect. But what sort of amounts / prices of food would I be expecting to put into a beast & are sows or boars better for rearing?  & what sort of times would I expect to be sending porkers or baconers ect off for slaughter?

Also what would we have to consider health conditions wise? & would if we bought boars would they normally have been castrated? I think it used to be before 3 days, or are they easier & more cost efficient to rear entire? As I'm aware of boar taint but is that in older boars? & how long could I keep gilts & boars together, I've heard its 5/6 months? I have dealt with pigs briefly in the past with different kinds of set ups.

Sorry for all the questions but we're trying to work out if it's something viable business wise whilst we try to move in a different direction.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2021, 01:34:31 pm by Shropshirelass »

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Starting with pigs:
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2021, 02:26:00 pm »
You will getting better pork for selling if your pigs are reared outdoors. Rare breed pork tastes amazing. Less vet bills as your pigs get to do what pigs enjoy most. Study your local farmers market to see what sells well and for how much.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Starting with pigs:
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2021, 08:52:59 am »
So me & my cousin have recently inherited the family farm after working on it for many years with mixed sheep, cattle & poultry but we're considering doing a few pigs but don't know where to start or if it's worth it for the input vs output as opposed to sheep & cattle that you can stick out on grass for the best part of a year, depending on what you want to do with them.

We'd probably be looking to barn rear a few pigs in old cattle sheds, maybe weaners to start & then looking to get a small breeding herd depending on how things go. The sheds have plenty of space & ventilation ( we lamb our 400+ ewes in there & pens we can easily move & sort stock with, I like the idea of traditional / rare breeds as opposed to commercials.

We're not really looking to rear outdoors due to the grazing being too good for sheep & cattle & rental potential for it to be torn up by pigs & putting in the added work & expenses of fencing that pigs will destroy when I've seen similar set ups to ours where you can rotate stock easily & clean out nice & quick as well as ease of handling.

Money & work wise is there decent margins to be made with pigs? I know market prices aren't great at the minute, but ours wouldn't be going through markets, just down to the local abattoir & I was thinking along the lines of meat boxes & maybe doing mixed meat boxes with our lamb & beef.

But I understand with pigs its pretty much the conception that you're constantly putting food into them & for not huge return, I get that porks also more readily available what with bigger litter sizes ect. But what sort of amounts / prices of food would I be expecting to put into a beast & are sows or boars better for rearing?  & what sort of times would I expect to be sending porkers or baconers ect off for slaughter?

Also what would we have to consider health conditions wise? & would if we bought boars would they normally have been castrated? I think it used to be before 3 days, or are they easier & more cost efficient to rear entire? As I'm aware of boar taint but is that in older boars? & how long could I keep gilts & boars together, I've heard its 5/6 months? I have dealt with pigs briefly in the past with different kinds of set ups.

Sorry for all the questions but we're trying to work out if it's something viable business wise whilst we try to move in a different direction.


Yes, pigs need feed all year. Quarter of a tonne to finish plus buying in your weaner roughly so you can work out how much that will cost you in your location. Traditional's can grow slower. Pick your breed carefully. Outdoor - most people have somewhere they are not precious about equally over winter they can be better indoors if all you have is mud.


Can you make a good return? Selling in the market no unless you are going to sell suckling pigs before they start to need food. Farm shops and boxes yes but be realistic about the selling price. So many don't do their sums.


Depending on breed 20 to 24 weeks slaughter.


Boars or gilts? People have a preference sometimes and sometimes not. Boar taint is something most people talk about but happens very rarely. There are occasionally people who claim they can tell a boar from a gilt when eating. (There was a time when all tup lambs were ringed but not now.) I've finished mixed litters but suggest when you start you go for all girls or all boys.

 

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