How to Start a Small Pig Farm

Everything you need to know to buy, feed and raise pigs for meat.

  • pigfarm
    Raising pigs on your farm provides bacon, sausage and other tasty pork products.
    Photo by Fotolia/AUREMAR
  • Use this guide to learn the different meat cuts to pork.
    Photo by Getty Images/FoxysGraphic
  • Use this diagram to learn the different parts of a pig.
    Photo by Getty Images/Counterfeit_ua
  • pigs 3
    Figure 3: A small pork smoker.
    Photo by Mother Earth News Staff
  • As smokehouses are growing more popular today, people can buy commercially built ones or build simple ones.
    Photo by Getty Images/MartinFredy
  • pigs4
    Figure 4: A smokehouse.  
    Photo by Mother Earth News Staff
  • 018-070-01m
    Suggested feeding mixture for pigs.
    Photo by Mother Earth News Staff

  • pigfarm
  • pigs 3
  • pigs4
  • 018-070-01m

Home-smoked, mahogany-colored bacon, plump juicy hams, fresh spicy sausage and snowy lard are mostly nostalgic memories in this country today... but there's no reason why the time-honored art of curing and smoking meat can't be revived by the modern homesteader. As a matter of fact, there's a couple of very good reasons why it should be.

In this age of antibiotics, hormones, overcrowded feedlots, preservatives and quick-cure methods, producing one's own is practically the only way to be assured of quality meat. Furthermore, raising a hog is a project especially suited to the small or beginning farmer because:

• The capital investment is low.
• The project is short term.
• The family garden can provide a substantial amount of high-quality food in the pig's diet at negligible cost.

Last summer my husband, Arthur, and I undertook the project of raising and butchering two hogs... one for ourselves and one for a friend. We rendered the lard, made sausage, cured and smoked bacon and hams... all with reasonable success on the initial try. Our experience should offer encouragement to anyone else contemplating such an undertaking for the first time.

How Many Pigs Should You Raise?

First of all, should you raise one pig or two? The fact is that a lone hog doesn't grow well at all (he likes to have company)... while today's average family probably doesn't eat more than one pig in a year. So what's to do?

There are at least two ways out of this dilemma. One is to find a friend who would like to raise his own porker but has no place to do it. Offer to raise a second pig for your comrade who will, in turn, bear his share of the cost and help with the butchering. It will be no more trouble for you to raise two hogs than one, the pigs will have each other for company and you'll be doing someone a favor besides!

10/31/2017 12:03:10 AM

Where do we have auctions around Phoenix az

10/19/2017 12:43:52 PM

where can u take hogs to auction around az?can find any places?

8/17/2017 2:35:29 PM

Hi all I am in need of some help. I'm new to breeding and raising of pigs. We have aboar and two sows. I think our one sow is fixing to drop a litter but don't know for sure. I have pictures if anyone can help me please let me know thanks

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters