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.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • raising hogs - hog trough
    Common water heaters (cut through the center with an acetylene torch) make ideal waterers and feeders. Being metal they won't leak, and when mounted on 4" x 4" frames can't be tipped over.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Pig With Piglets
    Learn the basics of raising hogs, including how and when to breed a sow.
    PHOTO: FOTOLIA/PETR MASEK
  • raising hogs - hog shelter
    An excellent "A" type hog house. When built on skids it may be readily moved to clean ground after each farrowing. Note the side door so that the attendant may assist the sow during parturition should this become necessary. This house should be at least four feet square and about three feet six inches high.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • raising hogs - hog waterer
    Labor-saving hog waterer. The barrel is a common flour barrel to which has been attached a watering device that operates on the float principle. The animals push down on these floats with their snouts, permitting the water to flow freely from the barrel.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • 023-068-01-Poland china boar
  • raising hogs - hog trough
  • Pig With Piglets
  • raising hogs - hog shelter
  • raising hogs - hog waterer

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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