Here’s Ms. Porkchop 6 months after we first brought her home. She’s grown a lot, huh?! She busted out of her pen (again) tonight, so Jerry had to get in there with her to fix the fence. He likes to carry a big stick to push her back with when she starts getting too close. She’s never hurt anybody, but you never know!
If you’ve been following along with me, you are very aware of what TROUBLE she has been!! Man, pigs are crazy! We’ve definitely had some good laughs from owning her though. And although I am SO ready to be done with the pig, I am glad we gave it a shot. We’ve learned a lot from her.
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?
Unfortunately… No. Not for us, anyways. That doesn’t mean it can’t be worth it for somebody else, we just don’t have what it takes to raise pigs economically.
If you are thinking about raising hogs, to make it a good investment, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. 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. 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.
3. 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!
So, if you are considering raising hogs, these are good things to keep in mind.