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 some other 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.
Cost of Piglets
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.).
Slaughtering and Butchering Costs
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.
13 thoughts on “Is It Worth It To Raise Hogs For Meat?”
My experience has been that if you buy your hogs at 25-35 pounds, then feed them high quality grain only and butcher them yourself anywhere from 250-330 pounds, you end up with high quality, delicious pork at a cost that is less than you can get it for at the store, especially if you make your own ham and bacon since those are the most expensive items you would buy at the grocery. Initial purchase of equipment (grinder, sausage stuffer, knives, etc.) makes it lopsided at first but easily pays for itself over time. You don’t need a smokehouse to make bacon and hams. Any old smoker (home made or otherwise) does just fine. You tube makes it so easy to butcher with professional results (check out the Bearded Butchers, they are excellent). As far as keeping them contained, build a nice sized pen out of cattle panel and t-posts, give them some shelter from the sun and wind (barn metal can do this), install an automatic waterer (pig nipples piped to an elevated tank (55 gallon drum, old fuel tank, whatever). One tip I learned the hard way: too little space makes for a stinky hog pen. For one or two hogs, give them ample space (greater than 200 square feet) and it will help keep the smell down. Anyway, hope this helps. Raising and butchering your own hogs is rewarding, delicious, and money saving. And it is a great skill to possess.
We raised (bred) our hogs and butchered them ourselves. We didn’t have a smokehouse so bacon would be done somewhere else.( by someone else’s farm that had one) I assume. I was young and don’t remember but I do know we had bacon. All of our table scraps were fed to the hogs.We grew corn and the schucks, the cobs, and the stalks all went to the pigs. We also fed corn schucks to our milk cow.I miss that old farm.It’s not even there anymore.So sad. Anyway, you can raise hogs cheaper than you can buy the meat at thew store. You would need a lot more than 1 acre.
Hi! Love your website. A quick question on free ranging the hogs. In another article, you give the various diseases they get and many of them are linked to their waste. I assume you’d want to rotate the pasturing area. How long do you have to wait before that pasture area is safe for other animals or the pigs to use that pasture?
I watched Justin Rhodes keep a pig in 10×12 paddock with a metal roof on fresh wood chips. Deep litter method and everyone said no smells. Pigs dont need a wollar or mud puddle if they have shade. Justin did a video series just to show how easy, clean and economical raising a pig for meat can be. Lol Now all the homestead youtubers living in North Carolina are raising pigs. I live in Alabama, have 10 acres and Justin has inspired me to raise one for meat. We plan to keep ours in the tree line of our forest and finish it off on acorns. Though we do always a garden year round to feed it quite a bit of fresh produce. I agree with others thst raising a pig for meat could be an easy venture. We’re giving it try with Kuni kuni and American Guinea hog mix breed. I hear their fat is more solid and so blubbery. Then again its how their fed that makes a lot difference on how the meat tastes. All grain diet isnt tasty to me.
With the cost of meat, Gates wanting to take the meat and food shortages we’re hearing about, its a great time to be raising our food. Imo.
But thanks for sharing your experience.
I know your from the city and all but One acre is not sufficient to homestead let alone farm. Thanks for be real with this blog though!
Unfortunately my husband is the numbers person with our hog raising and he’s was sent out of town for the Southern California fires. There is a “number” that you need to stay around before it becomes “not cost effective” You only put so much into their feed, etc. then butcher. After that time frame, it’s not cost effective. I believe we buys our hogs at 45 lbs. and then in about 90 days (I believe it’s 90 days), then we butcher. It’s more than cost effective. Make sure you tame then from an early age so they they happen to get out, it’s easy to get them back in. Hogs are the cleaniest animal around and only get in the “mud” or water because they have no sweat glads, so their hot. We have a battery time we picked up very reasonable that turns on the water during the hotest part of the day – if you don’t keep them cool when it’s hot, they won’t eat much. This can be a problem when trying to get weight on them.
My hubby and I were discussing this subject based on your blog post title… mind you, I hadn’t read your post yet. He said, YES!!!!!!! IF you don’t buy so much grain for it. That you should go down to your local grocery, bakery, resturants and ask for day-old or even older items. Add a little bit of grain. But that you should have some well-t0-do hogs on your hands, for very little financial output on your end.
(Basically what Caroline said in her comment).
Learning to butcher them yourself (can be a challange for some) is VERY helpful in part of the deal. It’s wonderful knowing where your meat is coming from. We do our own beef, chicken, deer and as mentioned, hogs.
We have been there on the hog thing. raising them again this year BUT we now have a 16 x 32 foot “hog lot” with an attached building. the first year we built the pen. We used Cattle panels, wood posts and a few t posts where needed. Next year, we made the 3 sided hog house with sheets of metal that were used. This year, we added side 4 of the hog house. We also bought a waterer that is gravity fed that fits on the side of a rubbermaid tank. The pigs push a pedal and it releases water for them. We bought a 2 hole hog feeder we fill up with about 100 pounds of feed. It has taken us awhile, but now we have a nice place for the hogs and THEY DON”T GET OUT! Took us awhile, but it was worth it. animals without pens or fencing is really no fun. We are now trying to build a “chicken condo”. It will probably be the little by little method as well.
Yeah, that’s the way to do it. A little at a time! Sounds like you guys have a really nice setup though!
It would be nice to see your hog lot set-up. Any way you could post a pic or two?
Curious…why did you need to worm it? I don’t recall using any meds at all on our pigs. When we raised them, we pastured and had access to a Hostess bakery, they sold a pickup full of bread and cakes for $5 for animal consumption. Not organic, but pretty cheap. Though it made the pigs rather too enthusiastic when you came with the bucket. As for slaughtering done “right” it depends on what you really need. We found a great field dressing video that tells how to cut up an animal with only a knife so it looks like it came from the store and leaves just skin and bones. We played the video as we went, learning on a sheep, deer, etc. it isn’t so bad, we skinned the pigs just like the other mammals we eat I would get such a video so you are ready for the next animal. (Never know what kind of tasty roadkill you might find next winter. ;0 )
Not only do you have consider your initial price of the animal, feed, medicines, and repairs to property damaged…you need to consider your time.
Every now and then, I see where someone is selling 1/2 a hog or a cow for people to buy. If you know what the animal has been fed, this can be more cost effective. This is also easier on the family…my boys would have a fit if I tried to slaughter a pig or cow after raising it and playing with it. 🙁
All of our chickens are just bought, tended to, and NO ONE is named !!
The only other animal we have tried that you haven’t, is a horse. Don’t do it either. LOL Oi, oh the stories I could tell you there too.
However, we have had some success with geese. Research the preditors in the area. They are pretty easy to raise and they will eat snakes just like pigs do.
We found ducks to be a lot of work, and they tend to get sick or hurt more often. Geese like big groups, ducks tend to be more loners.
You’ve already learned the most important lesson for any animal – have a secure home already ready for your animal.
Oh, rabbits are pretty easy too. Great starter animal for kids 8 – 10 years old – and they taste great!