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Thread: Pigs as a winter animal

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    Senior Member Camp10's Avatar
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    Default Pigs as a winter animal

    So, I might be the last one to figure this out but I did hogs through the winter this year and it was a big success. I'll never do them through the summer again. I had no smell to deal with, I got 312 lbs of meat for $440 and other then the inconvenience of ice in the water, I had no issues with keeping them warm or anything. This next fall, the pigs will be put in the harvested garden (it has an electric fence to keep deer out anyways) and with the root veggies I'll be planting for them, I'm hoping to save even more in the way of pig feed. Free tilling and fertilizer will be a few other benefits. Anyone else try them in winter?
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    Wow, nice discovery Camp!

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Historically pigs/hogs were purchased in the spring, raised thru the summer butchered in the fall.
    Most couldn't afford to feed the pigs thru a winter.

    Was interesting to hear of you experiences.
    Thanks for posting.
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    Senior Member Camp10's Avatar
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    Hunter, that's how I was taught too... I was told they aren't cold tough and would spend so many calories keeping warm that they wouldn't get big. I didn't find that true at all. I kept records of how much money I spent but not how many lbs of feed per pound of meat.. ill do better this winter. I also learned ill never keep a female again.. they are too sweet and pet like.. my wife had to eat chops AND bacon before the guilt went away! (Giggle, giggle)
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Good to hear from some one that has done it......
    Anyone have any other experiences?
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    Good to hear from some one that has done it......
    Anyone have any other experiences?
    Just the eating part, not the raising part.
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    No pigcicles here.
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    We have had a hard time putting the pounds on during the winter, both for pigs and veal, and are going back to spring piglets. You are a little further south though, and it might be the difference. Did I gather correctly that you are raising them in a barn? That also may factor in. Have you had any problems with the new piglet virus? Pork has gone through the roof. Having a hard time finding the darn things. Market bulletin has them priced at $100 cut and wormed!

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Our feeder pigs were always raised spring through fall. That requires only an enclosed field and the most crude shelter, no barn or worries over frozen water or frozen pigs. Sows were kept year around and had access to the barn for raising their littlers.

    It is probably also the reason that the wild pig flourishes so well in the warmer states. They winter over better without shelter in the slightly warmer climates and produce 2 litters a year without proper management. In turn most of those piglets survive in the warmer regions, food is more available and the human population relatively thin.
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    Senior Member Camp10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainmark View Post
    We have had a hard time putting the pounds on during the winter, both for pigs and veal, and are going back to spring piglets. You are a little further south though, and it might be the difference. Did I gather correctly that you are raising them in a barn? That also may factor in. Have you had any problems with the new piglet virus? Pork has gone through the roof. Having a hard time findin g the darn things. Market bulletin has them priced at $100 cut and wormed!
    I lived in Maine for almost 20 years and never tried them in the winter. No barn, they had a big doghouse. I wanted big enough for them to stay dry but small enough to keep each other warm. In 8 months, I had a live weight of 279 on the male and 194 on the female. I'm not selling meat, so its plenty for us. I paid $70 each and they were 2 months old.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    So with all said and done, did the economics work out for you?

    Not that that is the only consideration, just having you own, and knowing what goes into the feed has to be big factor.

    Point is, with proper resources, .....heat, feed/water, lodging....most anything can and is raised almost anywhere.
    It's up to you to decide if it's reasonable and workable.

    The old ways made use of limited resources, made the best of the situation that the farmers were in, where they were.
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    Senior Member Camp10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    So with all said and done, did the economics work out for you?

    Not that that is the only consideration, just having you own, and knowing what goes into the feed has to be big factor.

    Point is, with proper resources, .....heat, feed/water, lodging....most anything can and is raised almost anywhere.
    It's up to you to decide if it's reasonable and workable.

    The old ways made use of limited resources, made the best of the situation that the farmers were in, where they were.
    It was worth it for me here in this part of the country. The other advantage I discovered is that hog feed is $2 cheaper a bag through the winter, that helped too. next year I will keep better records and give a better report on what my experience is. Not having to smell them is a pretty big incentive for winter pigs. I have 100 meat chickens coming in June.... Let's see what they work out to! $.40 a bird was a good start!
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    We live in WI and have russian boar and red wattle cross. They have more hair and need less feed than most pigs and can easily tolerate -40 temps.
    The russians grow slower but the hybrid vigor takes over and they do ok for us. We don't feed them in the summer, They just forage for food. We feed mostly alfalfa and clover hay in the winter. They have access to shelter in the form of a lean-to attached to the barn with a door on the front. It faces east so it gets the morning sun and the pen extends past the south corner of the barn. They prefer to roam the pasture all year round, but they burn off too many calories doing that in the winter. We do use organic grain as a supplemental food. Wheat, barley oats, and corn. We grind it fresh and put some vinegar in it. They think it's candy. Litters average about 6-7 and the babies are up and going the same day. Very alert pigs. Smart too.
    We don't sell the meat, so we just keep breeding the best and eating the rest. It doesn't matter if they are 20 lbs or 300 lbs, if we want meat, we shoot one. It keeps the freezer full.
    We do sell live pigs once in a while, but they fetch more than a regular pig.

    We have a young boar right now that looks fantastic! He will most likely replace his grand boar.

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    i used to raise bershire cross pigs for neiman ranch but mostly raised them for home use.
    also some chester white/poland china cross. the bershirecross were definately better tasting.
    don't raise them anymore i kindamiss it.

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