All About Pig Farming

Everything you need to know to successfully raise pigs on your homestead. Feeding, breeding, selecting a pig breed, raising piglets, marketing and more.

| July/August 1976


Learn to manage hogs on your homestead for meat, breeding and profits.


Pat Imig, her husband (Richard), and their three children (a girl, 11, and two boys, 3 and 1) live on an eight-acre mini-farm approximately 30 miles west of Lincoln, Nebraska. "This is the heart of agribiz country," says Pat, "and it's almost impossible out here to find information about the operation of a small farmstead. We had to learn the hard way how to make just a few hogs pay all the day-to-day expenses of our shirttail farming enterprise."  

And learn they did! The pigs that the Imigs market each year bring in enough money—over and above their own costs—to support a cow, two ponies, two to three sheep, 14 geese, 30 ducks, 30 chickens, a big garden, a bed of rhubarb, some mulberry trees, and a cherry, peach, apple, and pear orchard.  

"Except for a few staples—coffee, flour, sugar, etc—our little farm feeds us every bite we eat," Pat says. "We butcher a hog and a calf each year, eat a lot of geese, ducks, and chickens, have all the milk and eggs we want, and make good use of the garden and orchard. We even have a few eggs and some holiday geese left over to sell ... and that miscellaneous cash income goes a long way toward paying for the few staples we buy from town."  

To put it another way, the Imigs have all the same expenses—a mortgage, taxes, fuel, electricity—to cover with Richard's wages as a welder that they'd have if they still lived in town. All the expenses, that is, except food. And thanks to the hog operation they run, their tiny farm keeps the Imig refrigerator, freezer, and pantry filled with good things to eat ... at no out-of-pocket expense at all.  

"And besides that," says Pat, "we also get to enjoy the luxury of living in the country!"  

Income! Income to provide adequate "store-bought" feed for our livestock during the winter (when our pasture isn't good enough to carry them) so that we wouldn't have to sell our brood stock. Enough income directly from our eight-acre mini-farm to cover all its upkeep, maintenance, and other purely agricultural expenses. Enough cash income, in short, to make the little spread entirely self-perpetuating (over and above the rent or mortgage, taxes, fuel, etc., that my husband's wages as a welder would have to cover anyway if we'd stayed in town) ... and , if possible, leave a "profit" in our pockets of virtually every bite of meat, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and other food our five-member family could eat. That's the kind of income we hoped our tiny "estate" could provide for us.

In 1973—when my husband, Richard (a former farm boy), and I moved to our little homestead in southeastern Nebraska—we were determined to make the small spread "self-sufficient". That is, we expected it to both pay all the bills for its day-to-day operation (we couldn't afford to support a "hobby" farm) ... plus feed our three children and ourselves ... plus buy us the luxury of living far from the crime, pollution, and crowds of a city.

5/13/2015 3:43:34 PM

I will be purchasing two gilts and a boar this September 2015. I have never raised pigs from farrowing; rather, I purchased feeders and raised them to take to the meat processor. This is all new to me. I thoroughly read and re-read your article and found it to be very informative. I raise and breed Nubian milk goats, New Zealand, Chinchilla and Californian rabbits and four breeds of chickens with great success. I now know, through your very detailed article, that I will handle raising pigs just fine. Thank you for your article.... :)

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