Raising Hogs on Your Homestead

This excerpt from "Practical Animal Husbandry" lays out the fundamentals of raising hogs on a homestead or small farm, whether for profit or just for a family's personal food needs.


| September/October 1973



023-068-01-Poland china boar

Excellent Poland China boar which has good quality pigs and is a fine representative of his breed.


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As meat animals, hogs make more rapid gains, for the feed consumed, than any other members of the home barnyard. Seven-month-old hogs weighing 220 pounds (an ideal butchering weight) are not at all unusual, and contrary to general belief, one need not live in a corn-producing area to be successful with raising hogs, either on a commercial scale or for the production of excellent meat for the table. Then, too, the feeding of one or two pigs for home consumption eliminates the necessity of edible garbage removal, furnishes profitable animals for the consumption of skim milk, whey, or buttermilk, and produces the fine hams, bacons, and fresh cuts that have made pork the favorite meat of rural America.

As to feeds necessary for the finishing of hogs, all manner of grains, sorghums, peanuts, acorns, hay, and permanent pastures are ideal and there are few farms, be they large or small, that do not waste enough garbage, milk products, and roughage that would make the feeding of a limited number of pigs a profitable enterprise.

Despite many people's objections to the odors produced by the hog lot, there is no necessity for this obnoxious aroma, for hogs if given half a chance are fundamentally clean animals with most objectionable odors being the fault of man rather than that of the porkers themselves. Then, too, expensive feeding arrangements are not at all necessary, and if feeding utensils are kept clean, and if hogs are supplied with a reasonable amount of fresh bedding, they will be found no more objectionable than other members of the home barnyard.

From a dollar and cent angle, the hog is by far the most valuable of farm animals, will reproduce and fatten rapidly ... surplus animals always find a ready market and have done much to eliminate farm mortgages as well as helping to pay taxes on non-commercial establishments.

For the country liver who is not interested in producing more pork than he and his family can readily consume it might not prove profitable for him to maintain a sow and to produce his own pigs. Instead he may find it more advantageous to purchase one or two 40- to 60-pound pigs (sometimes referred to as shoats), to fatten them, have them butchered, and then to start afresh with another pair of young animals.

Yet if one should have considerable feed on hand, and one agrees with us here on Toowoomba that little pigs are a joy and delight, then perhaps one should maintain a sow and dispose of surplus pigs either at weaning time (about eight weeks of age) or, if grains are readily available, to fatten a dozen, as readily as one or two, and to sell off the surplus as butcher hogs weighing in the neighborhood of 200 pounds.





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