You may be interested in a more self-sufficient lifestyle and in filling your freezer with delicious, nutritious, homegrown meat.
But is it worth it to raise your own pig? The whole point in doing so, well, besides knowing where your food comes from, is to save money. At least, that was why we did it. Has it been a money saving venture?
Yes, raising a pig for meat is worth it since you get a lot of meat and they grow out quickly. Raising a pig from piglet to freezer will cost around $3 to $3.50 per pound, including slaughtering costs and feed costs.
On the other hand, buying pork from the grocery store will cost an average of $5 to $7…
Now, there are certainly other factors to be considered here – namely, your labor. But especially if you plan on selling pigs that you raise alongside your own freezer pig, raising hogs for meat is definitely worth it!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the costs involved with raising hogs for meat so you have a better idea of what to expect.
How Much Does it Cost to Raise Hogs for Meat?
What are the costs associated with raising hogs? How much does it cost to raise hogs for meat, and is it really worth the investment?
The first step in calculating the cost of raising hogs is determining how many pigs you plan to raise. Once you have your pigs home with you, there are ongoing costs associated with keeping them healthy and happy. Let’s take a closer look.
If you want to raise hogs for meat, you’ll need some piglets. You can either buy them from someone or breed your own.
Buying them will cost you an average of $100 to $200 per piglet depending on where you live and what time of year it is.
If you decide to breed your own, you’ll need to house and feed both a sow and boar; however, if you don’t need all the piglets that are born, they can be sold off to help recoup some of your costs.
Artificial insemination is also an option, but semen generally costs around $150 per dose.
Feeding the pigs is another expense that needs to be taken into consideration. On average it will cost between $100 and $150 per pig depending on what type of feed you use (organic, table scraps, etc.).
The last factor in terms of costs is slaughtering and butchering which can range anywhere from very cheap ($100 non-inspected facility) up to a USDA inspected facility ($500).
A typical market hog (finished hanging weight) will weigh approximately 150 lbs per pig.
Factors That Influence the Cost of Raising Pigs for Meat
As with anything else in life there are risks involved when raising hogs for meat; however with research and planning these costs can be managed effectively so that everyone wins.
Let’s take a look at some factors that influence the cost of raising pigs for meat – after all, it’s quite nuanced.
1. Winter vs Summer Raising
Piglets tend to be cheaper in the winter months, and sometimes feed is cheaper too since there are fewer scraps around.
That being said, pigs will eat more in the winter in order to keep warm — so while they may be a bit cheaper up front, they may end up costing you more in feed over time.
2. Housing Availability
The availability of housing and fencing materials can also have an impact on the cost of raising pigs for meat.
If you plan on building your own shelter, make sure you do your research beforehand — knowing what type of housing is best suited for your climate can help you save money by buying locally available materials.
3. Pig Activity Level
Another factor that influences the cost of raising pigs for meat is activity level. Active or larger breeds will require more feed than less active ones (so make sure you do your research before selecting a breed!).
Additionally, faster-growing breeds will require more food over their lifespan in order to reach slaughter weight quickly.
4. Will You Be Raising Pigs for Other People?
If you plan on raising pigs for other people, this can increase costs as well, but since some of these (like building supplies for a barn) will be spread out among multiple animals for which you will later be paid back, you may be able to disseminate a lot of those costs.
Depending on how many people will be involved in the process (from breeding to butchering), additional supplies may need to be purchased or hired out such as tools and skillsets.
This should all be factored into your budget before starting any project involving livestock like pigs.
5. How Long it Takes to Get a Pig to Slaughter Weight
Ahh, now we can talk about the big factor that determines just how much you’ll be spending every month on food for your porcine pal. How long does it take for a pig to reach slaughter weight?
Well, that depends heavily on the breed of pig you choose. Generally, smaller pigs will reach slaughter weight sooner than larger ones (with some breeds taking as little as 16 weeks).
That said, if you plan on raising larger pigs (like Yorkshire or Berkshire), be prepared for a longer wait—anywhere from 6-8 months.
6. Where You Live
Location is one of the best predictors of how much it costs to raise pigs.
For example, if you live in an area where feed is expensive (and/or difficult to find), then you may need to shell out more cash each month than someone who lives closer to feed mills and other suppliers.
In addition, local regulations can have a huge effect on prices; some areas require special permits for keeping livestock or have limits on how many animals can be raised in one place.
So do your research beforehand and make sure that both you and your pig are compliant with all relevant laws.
Tips to Help You Save Money When Raising Hogs for Meat
If you are thinking about raising hogs, to make it a good investment, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Free Range Your Hogs
It is much cheaper to free range your hogs than to continuously purchase grains. It would be ideal to have a nice sized pasture to let them forage on, plus a garden to supplement their diet.
2. Breed Your Hogs
If you have enough space, breed your hogs. You can purchase a female (sow) and “rent” a male (boar) when you are ready to breed, or you can purchase a male and female and raise both.
Just make sure you aren’t inbreeding. You can sell the piglets for around $50 each (with an average litter size of 10-12 piglets twice a year), making the initial investment back very quickly.
Do Your Own Butchering
Learn to butcher a hog yourself. Sure, sending it off to the slaughter house and getting back nice little packages of meat is so much nicer, but you will pay for the convenience. If you can do it all yourself, you’ll really be saving some money.
We do not have a large enough area to pasture pigs on, and I am so not ready to try breeding pigs!! So, our initial investment of $50, plus the money we’ve put into feed and meds (which I haven’t even added up yet) will not be made back.
And since we’ve decided to send her away to be butchered instead of doing it ourselves (we want it done right), that’s another .30 cents/pound we’ll be paying.
And get this. I’ve been seeing ads on Craigslist for hogs for sale, $200 for a 250 pound hog. We’ve got that much in our pig, and she’s probably about 175 pounds right now… not to mention all of the hassle that has been invested in her (and the smell… oh! the smell!).
If we were ever to consider doing this again, for us, it would be more economical to buy a full grown hog, and slaughter it ourselves. No worrying about chasing it, worming it, penning it, and feeding it, just get it and eat it. That’s the way to go!
Raising hogs for meat requires an upfront investment—both financially and time-wise—but the rewards can be great if done correctly.
Whether or not raising hogs is worth it will depend on your particular situation; however, if done correctly it can provide delicious pork products as well as a sense of accomplishment that comes from taking care of one’s own animals responsibly.
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.