Starting as a pig farmer is a lot harder than most people perceive. Besides setting aside a large enough piece of land to build a sty, you’ll also need to buy piglets before you kickstart your pig farming journey.
How much a piglet costs depends on several factors, such as age, weight, breed, the breeder you’re buying from, and market value. For instance, feeder piglets tend to cost between $60-$150, while you might have to pay slightly more to purchase breeding stock like Berkshire piglets.
If you’re still reading, chances are you want to learn a thing or two about pigs and how much they cost. Luckily, I’ve got you covered. Read on as I’ll discuss everything you need to know about raising pigs.
How Much Money Does a Baby Pig Cost?
A baby pig from a reliable breeder will cost between $60 to $200. This is a piglet weighing between 50-60 pounds (22.7-27 kg). However, the price will also depend on other factors, such as the breed and market value. Buying from less reputable breeders is much cheaper, as you can spend as low as $35.
Be warned, though, that buying from a less reputable breeder can prove costly in the long run, more so if you end up buying sickly pigs.
The law of supply and demand will also affect the cost of a baby pig. You’re also likely to spend more on pigs if you live in an area where livestock farming isn’t popular.
What Is the Best Pig To Raise for Meat?
The best pigs to raise for meat include Yorkshire, Duroc, Berkshire, Hampshire, Landrace, Chester White, and Large Black. If you want large quantities of meat, go for Yorkshire pigs. But the Berkshire breed is one of the best if you want meat with good intramuscular fat.
Let’s go over these breeds in a little more detail:
- Yorkshire. The Yorkshire breed gives large meat quantities and lives longer than other breeds. Yorkshire pigs are also known to be productive, especially if kept in spacious sties and given the care they need.
- Duroc. This breed has a distinct reddish-brown color. Durocs are known to grow at a fast rate and have lean meat.
- Berkshire. Berkshire pigs are known to produce meat with good intramuscular fat. Moreover, Berkshire pork is well known for its rich flavor, juiciness, and tenderness, making the breed one of the best for meat.
- Hampshire. Hampshire pigs have low fat on their lower back and a huge loin. They’re also known for their good meat, a feature that makes them favorites for crossbreeding.
- Hereford. Herefords do quite well in farms as they thrive on pasture. These pigs can gain massive weight while feeding on pasture alone, which is in contrast to other breeds that require a lot of feeding to gain weight. Therefore, you can count on Hereford pigs if you want to produce large amounts of meat.
- Landrace. Landrace mothers give birth to large piglets and produce high quantities of milk. This breed was initially bred for bacon, which explains its long body. A long body also translates to longer loins, making this breed a great option if you want pork chops. Landrace meat is lean, more so in the loins, meaning these pigs are sure to give you more meat per pig.
- Chester White. Though considered a heritage breed, Chester White is preferred by producers for its white skin. You can also count on this breed to produce meat with good-quality muscle.
- Large Black. As the name suggests, this breed is known to produce large-sized meat. Large Blacks are also dual purpose in that they can be slaughtered when low in weight to produce pork or slaughtered when heavier to produce bacon.
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What Are the Easiest Pigs To Keep?
Some of the easiest pigs to keep are generally the Duroc, Tamworth, and Hereford. However, all pigs require a significant amount of attention to thrive in farm settings.
Durocs grow fast, gaining weight both in fat and muscle. Their tender meat is also another reason why this breed is popular. This breed also has a reputation for being docile, a feature that makes it possible to rear them outside.
Duroc pigs also have thick hair and dark skin, making them suitable for rearing in cold climates.
Tamworths are also easy to keep because they’re easily adaptable and can survive in different environments. They’re also protective, docile, produce a lot of milk, and have outstanding motherly qualities.
Herefords are another great breed to keep due to their ease of gaining weight. These pigs are known to gain weight by feeding on pasture exclusively, making them ideal options for farmers that don’t want to spend too much on diet-related costs.
What Breed of Pig Tastes the Best?
Some of the best-tasting pigs include the Hereford, Large Black, Chester White, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Tamworth breeds. However, the taste of pig meat largely comes down to personal preferences.
Hereford pigs produce large quantities of meat in a short time. They’re also known to produce delicious, high-quality meat.
Meat produced by Large Blacks is also succulent, delicious, and huge in size. These features make Large Blacks a popular option for farmers breeding for meat.
Chester Whites are known to produce meat that’s savory and rich in fat. This breed’s tender meat is also loved by many, with some people preferring to consume Chester White meat pork exclusively.
On the other hand, Hampshire pigs produce lean meat, which is considered to be of high quality in the pork world. Although Hampshires are smaller and noticeably leaner, they tend to have large loins, which explains why they produce large, lean meat cuts.
Berkshire meat not only looks different, but it also has good marbling characteristics. The meat also tastes juicy and is loved for its rich flavor.
Compared to other pig breeds mentioned, Tamworths appear smaller. Don’t be fooled by their smaller size, though, as they’re among the best-tasting pigs around. The breed is loved for its large hams and long, white sides. They also produce some tasty bacon, though they’re largely preferred as sows.
How Long Does It Take To Raise a Pig for Slaughter?
The average period before a pig is ready for slaughtering is 6 months, when they’re expected to reach the recommended slaughter weight of between 220 to 280 pounds (100 to 127 kg). However, this varies depending on the breed of the pig.
Other factors that affect pigs’ growth are the environment in which they’re raised, the type of feed used, and stress levels.
Availability of water is also crucial. Pigs not only need water for drinking, but they also need it for cooling as they don’t sweat. This explains why pigs love playing in water and mud pools.
Pigs reared outside might also grow slower than those bred indoors. Additionally, crossbred feeders are also likely to grow faster than purebred pigs.
How Much Is a 250 lb Pig Worth?
A live 250-lb (113 kg) pig is valued at an average cost of $132, according to the US Pork Information Gateway. The exact price will depend on the breed and condition of the pig. However, forces of supply and demand are the overall determinants of pig prices.
The pig’s live weight is also different from its hanging weight, also known as carcass weight. A live weight in the range of 220 to 280 pounds (100 to 127 kg) is considered the ideal weight before the pig is slaughtered. After butchering, a pig will weigh an average of 70% of its live weight.
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How Much Does It Cost To Butcher a Pig?
The cost of butchering a pig stands at $100 (slaughter fee) and between $0.4 and $1.35 per pound of cuts. Cuts are extra work that a butcher has to do to make the meat more packable and within a client’s preferences. Extra handling may include making cuts such as smoked sausage, curing, and smoking.
Ironically, butchering prices depend on hanging weight as opposed to the live weight. Also, cutting costs are calculated per pound of meat. Both costs may vary between butchers.
Can You Slaughter a Pig at Home?
You can slaughter a pig at home. With the right tools and skills, both farmers and those buying pigs can slaughter their pigs at home. However, for first-timers, it’s advisable to consult with experienced butchers or farmers.
Slaughtering at home isn’t easy, but you can get used to it with adequate practice. Slaughtering a pig is a 3-day process depending on the number of pigs on the farm.
The first day may involve killing and hanging the carcass. Skinning and cutting the pork pieces is done on the second day, with sausage processing done on the third day.
The major disadvantage of butchering at home is that it requires knowledge on curing ham and bacon.
Skills needed include:
- Handling tools like knives and firearms
- Animal handling
- A whole lot of patience
Tools that may be required include:
- A chain or strong rope
- Skinning knives
- Aone saws
- An extra hand
Remember to consult with experts if it’s your first time slaughtering a pig. Slaughtering with the help of experts or experienced farmers can help you reduce total waste and package your meat professionally.
It’s also advisable to assemble your butchering tools well in advance before you get started with the process.
How Much Meat Do You Get From a 250-Pound Pig?
You get approximately 175 pounds (79 kilograms) of meat from a 250-pound (113-kg) pig. The hanging weight of a pig is generally 70% of its live weight, as some components are discarded from the pig during slaughtering.
Some of the parts that are thrown away include:
- Unwanted organs
- Body parts such as the head and feet
Some estimates say 57% of a pig is edible, meaning 144 pounds (65 kg) of meat is likely to make it to the retail chain from a pig.
Are Pigs Hard To Raise?
Pigs are generally not the easiest animals to raise if reared in large quantities. This is in comparison to other animals, such as cattle and chickens.
A typical pig requires large amounts of food, water, and a lot of sanitary care if raised close together with other pigs, which can be expensive. High stress levels can also affect the growth of piglets, leading to low muscle mass and overall low yields.
If you have enough space to accommodate your pigs, then you’ll find them a lot easier to raise. However, you must be prepared to invest in terms of diet, grooming, and regular vet checks.
How Long Does a Pig Live?
A pig can live for an average of 15 to 20 years. Wild boars in sanctuaries are known to live up to 20 years. In general, the length of a pig’s life depends on genetics and how healthy the pig is, as some breeds live for up to 8 years while others live double that.
Your intention of breeding a pig will also determine how long it lives. If kept for meat production, pigs will only live for a few months until they’re heavy enough to be slaughtered. However, pigs kept as pets get to live much longer than that.
Do Pigs Bite Humans?
Pigs can bite humans and even charge toward someone if provoked or scared, more so if not well-socialized. However, not all pigs are aggressive, as Durocs and Tamworths are known to be docile and generally submissive.
That said, there are some things to keep in mind if you plan on keeping pigs:
- You should avoid mistreating or provoking a pig if you don’t want him to become aggressive.
- Pigs may also bite due to fear, especially if they were mistreated in the past.
- Pigs can also become aggressive when bred in small spaces with limited resources. Due to this, you should always make space considerations before you buy piglets. Consider starting with a small number of pigs if you’re not confident in accommodating their needs comprehensively.
Though piglets are relatively affordable, these smart farm animals require a lot of food and water. And as social animals, pigs also need a considerable amount of care and attention.
Remember to avoid stressing your pigs, especially when young, if you don’t want to interfere with their growth patterns.
Another important tip to keep in mind is to buy from reputable breeders. Buying from reputable breeders means you’re likely to breed healthy piglets, which boosts the chances of making high returns once they’re fully grown.
For more, check out 11 Best Tasting Types of Meat in the World.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.