Raising Pigs for Meat: The Second Time Around

Last year, we had a hell of a great time raising our own pork- we learned a lot, including things we wished we had done differently.

This year, we managed to do a few of those things

1. We switched feed types from 100% pellet to 80% mash 20% pellet. We still soaked it thoroughly with water for every meal. This was a major savings- we spent a total of $560 on feed for all four pigs this year. We cut our feed cost by over half!

2. We stuck with a feed schedule– they got 12 lbs of soaked feed 2 times a day for a total of 25 ish lbs per day. Between 4 pigs that gave them about 6 lbs of feed per day each. The last two weeks, I gave them lunch as well. And slop was free choice- if we had it, they got it.

3. We bought the first 40 bags at once and got a discount of 5% – the mash was also only $10.50 a bag compared to most pellets being $15 or more. I know I kind of touched on this before- but it was a HUGE savings for us. Also a savings in time and gas as we didn’t have to run around weekends finding food for them.

4 We pastured them in a semi forested area– they got more variety of foraging materials which actually took longer for them to destroy. It also kept them in the shade more naturally so they wasted less water from spilling.

5. We actually had an escape! One of the pigs managed to pull the solar panel away from the electric fencing and decided to go for a run thru the strawberries…. another one followed. They were very food motivated tho and followed MrGillis right back into the enclosure. They weren’t to bad out of the fence actually. They trotted up to me and snuffled at me and then kind of happy grunted at me. The alpacas and chickens were not impressed tho. And neither was our strawberry bed.

6. We started feeding them in their transport cages a few days before they were to be loaded up. The morning of, we chucked a few apples in, they walked right in and barely fussed as we screwed the doors shut behind them.

7. We bought a smoker! So we have been going to town on some home smoked bacon and hams and some chicken legs too.

Things to Consider For Next Year:

1 an even bigger forest pasture. It worked really well as far as shade, forage and in general a fun place for them to live. They were happy pigs living their lives.

2 actually sprout barley for them– we bought the seed but just never got it really going. Fail.

3. Feed them in their transport cages right from day one. We hope to design it in a way that they won’t throw their troughs around and also make it easier for us to feed them.

4. Keep them for an additional month. We got the pigs a bit younger this year- and took them to the butcher a bit earlier as well, because we just had such a busy fall ahead of us. We brought home two pigs but weight wise it was the same amount of pork as last year.

So that’s the big pig update for this year.

Happy to have them all spring and summer, but we are even happier to see the freezer full of quality meat considering salt pork was $5.29 a lb in the supermarket the other day…

Until next time, have a wicked good day!


Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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