Raising Pigs for Meat: 5 Things to Consider If You Are Thinking of Rearing Pigs for Meat


Raising your own pigs for meat can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience when done properly. Pigs are not difficult to raise, but it does take an efficient and organized approach to get the best results. In the end, you will enjoy a sense of accomplishment and many delicious meals as rewards for your effort. There are a lot of reasons to give raising your own pigs a try. We are hearing news stories of animal diseases such as “mad cow” and other health concerns in commercially raised meat. Raising your own gives you control over what goes into your animal’s body, and into your food. Many people say their home-grown pork is the best they have ever had. Much of the cuts are on the lean side, and there are countless ways to prepare the various cuts of pork. However, there are things to consider for getting the best results. Raising pigs with the proper environment and nutrition will result in high quality meat, while raising the animals in poor conditions and without proper nutrition and care will result in meat that is mediocre at best.

Here are five things to consider if you are thinking of rearing pigs for meat:

1. Get in touch with your local agricultural agency about rules and limitations for your area. A minimum land area requirement may apply, as well as laws about odor and noise issues. This is especially true if you live within city limits.

2. Pick a number. How many pigs do you want to raise? This depends on how much land area you have available. Typical guidelines are 50 feet for housing area and an additional 100 square feet for an exercise yard. There may also be a limit on the number of animals per acre where you live. This is the point at which cost should be considered. The cost of raising one pig for meat is not much, but if two are raised you have double the feed, time, effort, and manure. It is a good idea to start with no more than two animals if you are new at it.

3. Your pig’s home. A good pen should provide protection from all weather conditions. Your swine will need shelter from the sun in warm weather and from the cold temperatures in winter. A well ventilated shelter is needed, plus a good outside area for laying around and roaming. Pigs appreciate a good supply of hay for nesting. The area should be secured with posts buried at least six inches deep, with a barrier of hog wire penning the pigs in. The six inch recommendation for the posts is important because pigs love to dig and could easily escape if posts are set too shallow. It is best to have the pen ready before you bring your animal(s) home.

4. Feeding your pig. In order for you to get good meat, your pig must receive good nutrition. Basic feed for pigs comes in pellet or mash form. Pellets are generally higher quality feed and result in less waste product. It isn’t practical to bother with organic feeds because a high-quality feed that does not contain hormones, antibiotics or animal products is just as good. Be careful to feed the proper amount. If you allow your animal to “pig out” you could end up with an overfed, sickly animal with fatty meat. The same goes for underfeeding. A malnourished and underfed pig will not produce high quality meat. Also, water your pig well. Pigs love water, for drinking and for wallowing. Pigs do not have functional sweat glands to cool them down. Providing plenty of water will keep your animal hydrated and juicy, as well as provide mud for staying cool. Mud also protects against flies and parasites.

5. Time’s Up! When should you slaughter your animal? Some get concerned about becoming attached to their little piglet and not following through with slaughter. Try not to see the pig as a pet. It is best to view it as a smart economic decision, and a wise choice for feeding your family. Your animal should be market ready in about four months. The best weight for slaughtering is about 200 to 250 lbs. Slaughtering the animal at home is always an option if you have the proper knowledge, but sending the animal to a slaughterhouse is quicker and easier. Try not to miss the pig’s weight window or you may find yourself with a 500 lb. monster that is difficult to manage, and full of fatty meat that is hardly edible.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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