This past winter I was talked into getting pigs on the farm. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add another thing to my list, but I knew that I was had a little more help this summer and I’d always wanted to do pigs so I said we’ll give it a try.
I started by doing a bunch of research and talking to people I knew that raised pigs on their farm. They seemed fairly easy so that was encouraging. I wanted to find a good heratige breed that would do well out in pasture. Finding the type of pig I wanted turned out to be harder than I thought. I talked to other pig farmers I knew, but the best place it seemed was to look just keep watch on craigslist.
While I was keeping an eye on craigslist, I needed to figure out what fencing I wanted to buy. They were going to be rotated on the pasture in the north field where the apple trees are located. Pigs don’t need much fencing, just one line of electric wire, however, it does need to be movable. I got a solar fence charger that can stay up there and keep the line charged. This will be plenty to keep the pigs where they need to be. The biggest worry I have now isn’t keeping them in, it is keeping unwanted guests out. I don’t mean other animals, but humans who may think it would be fun to mess around with the animals. So I’ll use two lines of electric wire, one for the pigs and one for the humans.
By adding pigs to the farm we wanted to give another fun animal for camp kids and school kids to see while they are at the farm. Kids get more excited about animals than vegetables growing in the field unfortunately. But it is still a great opportunity to teach kids about where their food comes from.
We don’t plan to keep the pigs into the winter. Once they reach an appropriate market weight we’ll harvest them for meat. The goal live weight is between 200 and 250. They will be available as a half or a whole pig to who ever wants them. I have not set a final price, but it will be around $6/pound. We are using non-gmo feed, which is more expensive than conventional, which is one of the reasons for a higher cost.
It did take me a while to find the pigs I wanted. The timing had to be right for camp and I didn’t want them too late in the season so I finally settled on a batch of 6 hampshires. Their names are Porky, Kevin Bacon, Hamlet, Christmas dinner, Chops, and Oreo. While these may be their names I don’t know which one is which yet. There are a few that are much more distinct, but they all look too similar for me to distinguish.
They are super fun and they grow so fast. Already they have put on a lot of weight after just 2 and a half weeks. But that is how they go from a new born to 250 pounds in just 6 months.