Raising Hogs

"By raising hogs, you provide all the pork that your family will need for the year"

Pigs are very intelligent and they are as smart as dogs or smarter. They can even learn how to puzzle out answers independently.

They often figure out how to open a simple gate or may root under the fence. That can get a little annoying. So be prepared if you decide to raise hogs. Always expect the unexpected and be proactive in your fence building and maintenance practices.

If you have leftover garden produce, raising hogs can be profitable for the small farmer.

They will eat almost anything, from table scraps to cafeteria garbage. I feed my hogs all the excess vegetable from my garden, cows milk not used, acorns and weeds I pull from my garden.

Raising hogs can give you a little extra cash, and owning a sow and raising the two litters of 10 to 12 piglets produced each year is to much pork for a large family so you have extra cash when you take them to the sale barn.

You can buy a just weaned pig, called a shoat, in the early spring and fatten it during the summer and this should supply your family with enough pork.

When it reaches 250 pounds in the fall, it will be ready for butchering into 170 pounds of delicious meat.

Here is a wild hog that was killed at 240 lbs. We have lots of wild hogs roaming the woods in Arkansas!

With wild hogs, you can fill your larder and freezer and you are free from the daily chores of tending to your pig.

On the other hand, when raising pigs, health is more important than the breed of the animal.

It is a good practice to buy from a reliable breeder who has a healthy herd. Talk with him well in advance, so he knows you want one or two of his piglets.

When the piglets are weaned, pick the biggest and best of the litter. Make sure it looks healthy, active, bright eyed as well as long and lean.

Never pick the runt. I know they are cute but even if the farmer offers it cheaper, it will not grow off as well. It will take too much extra feed to fatten up.

The shoat should be six to eight weeks old when you buy it and take it off its mother.

A good practice to follow is to select one that weighs between 25 and 40 pounds; if it weighs less, it may be a runt or just to young.

Make sure you give your pig an iron shot if it was raised in confinement and not able to roam. Pigs born in confinement are often anemic.

It also should have shots against hog cholera and any diseases prevalent in your area.

Contact your county agent for specifics is a good practice.

If you purchase a male, be sure that you castrate him. A castrated male will grow off better and the meat will be better.

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