We are pleased to introduce you to
“Bacon’ator” and “Porky’Pickins” Ben and Jerry (left to right)… We did have a 3rd little piggy; but we made an amateur pig raising mistake and did not provide secure fencing in one section and lost one to our naturally inclined hunt/kill dog Harley. So we are down to two…
How we acquired the pigs: plus their pedigree
I did some Craig’s’listing and found a local’ish guy (40min drive) selling off his pigs (females and cut males) for what seem to be the area norm ($50-60 a pig) we talked a bit and I learned what feed he uses (which he was kind enough to give me a barrel of) also a little more about them and why he was selling them. He was raising the to butcher and to sell what they didn’t need. The main reason that he is no longer raising pigs due to health reasons . Their feed was a 5 grain mix with sweet feed (none pellet, very “rough” stuff) that he buys in bulk and uses the same feed for his beef cattle. I also asked about their parents/pedigree which is Landrace and Hampshire, their mix I was told will reach about 300pounds at 6 months and max out around 800pounds.
The Plan: why and what to do with them
We I wanted pigs for a while now, so while on NY Christmas trip I vocally committed us to actually doing so by sharing with friends and family to expect a pig roast sometime in the summer… X-mas passed, New years passed and then I realized in order to make the August deadline with a hog large enough for 15+ people I would need to get them soon, so I craigs’listed and surprised Jamie with 3 little piggy’s one Friday afternoon…
The plan for 3 pigs was for a reason, 1 to roast, 1 to butcher for the non-existent freezer and the last to sell to cover costs of the pigs and feed… However due to lack of readiness the pigs got out into the backyard, which is our dog territory. This means my animal hunter/killer got to them “Harley” whom has a history of getting/trying to get animals on our hikes, deer, turkeys, birds and porcupines (which he got a mouthful of quills from that I had to pick out of his tongue and upper mouth by hand because he was to in shock from the pain to walk, we where over a mile from the nearest road and 2 from the house) . One of the pigs got killed, one injured and saved, the other untouched.
The Work: Building a fence and hut
I used the Alaskan chain-saw mill and a circular saw rig to make the timber used for the pig pen hutch which is 8ft long, 5ft deep 5ft high front to 4ft slanted roof enclosure. I made 12 2x4s at 9ft long, and to date 14 9ft long 1/2 thick boards for the exterior of the pig pen frame and roof. We went to a local habitat for humanity re-sale store for roofing shingles ($6 a pack, though vent cap shingles) and some drainage ditch piping ($6 for 12ft with connectors). We grabbed 50ft x 3ft high welded fence from Lowes for about $30. Then after the pigs got out, we used the excess goat electric fencing and posts to run a low-line around the pig pen interior (about 1ft off the ground) and we where able to tie into the existing eclectic fence.
We still are not yet done with the pig pen. I need about another 3 boards for the roof and 3 for the front and 4-6 for the one side… but I am waiting on a new tool to complete the timber for that (much quicker then 10mins a board, less gas and less waste)
To date I have spent about 10hrs building the enclosure for the pigs, between planning, milling, and building. Most of this time was spent milling the lumber. For the feed dishes since we have young pigs we are able to use basic food dishes from tractor supply for water and galvanized for feed. I did get an auto-watering unit, but haven’t hooked it up as we have had 10-20degree nights since getting the pigs. I will hook that up once the weather gets better and I finish up the brew room (That’s another story).
Feeding: what we do
As mentioned above, we got lucky and received a free barrel of feed from the guy that sold me the pigs (though I did “pay” for it by having a 55 gallon drum of food covered in mud and pig smell in my front seat of the jeep while having 3 pigs stinking up the trunk), so it cost us about 2 weeks of stink. haha. I had before going out to get the pigs bought two bags of hog/pig feed from tractor supply, we also had a bag of really unused whole corn for the goats sitting around.
On day one I just gave a scoop of the new pig food which went untouched. I then started feeding them from the barrel of food (they ate that of course). Once there was enough free room in the barrel I added in one bag of the pig feed I had bought, after more time I added a bag of whole corn and mixed of course. So they are now getting a 1/3 mix of pre-us food, corn and bag pig feed. The goal is to mix out their normal feed with the mix we can sustain and buy.
Volume/Frequency of feeding was a topic I search for and searched for and the best I got was “whatever they want volume wise, but at least 2x a day”. So we do a scoop of pig feed for each one, 3x a day. We use a plastic 3quart feed scoop from tractor supply
MISC Feeding: Who doesn’t have food scraps
So on-top of the normal pig feed mix, we have extras we like to give. We found that after researching with the almighty giving google the general rule of pig feeding is: no meat by-products (oils included), and no large amount’s of raw potato’s; Otherwise you are free to “do it up.” We keep a fancy’ish bucket by the kitchen door for scraps to bring down whenever we go down to feed them.