We have raised several different types of livestock over the years since we started homesteading. Lately I have found myself really missing the pigs that we raised on our previous 40 acre property. We had 2 sows (who each had a litter), 8 feeder pigs, and 2 mini pigs…not a whole lot, but it was plenty for us. If you are looking to bring in more animals to your farm or homestead then I encourage you to consider my piggy friends. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider raising pigs.
5 Reasons to Start Raising Pigs on Your Homestead
Reason #1: You get more meat for your money.
If you are raising animals for meat then you want to get the most return possible out of your investment. I have found that pigs allow me to do this the best as a small homesteader. You can raise one cow calf pair per 3 acres, but you can raise 10-20 pigs per 1 acre (10 if pasture is the only source of feed).
If you are breeding pigs then you can have about 6-8 sows with litters per acre. We had 4 acres cross-fenced into one acre paddocks. Rotating paddocks allows for pasture fertilization & regrowth and it limits the smell because there is very little smell with properly rotated pastured pigs.
Reason #2: You can turn pigs into profit.
When you raise pigs, you can really bring home the bacon. There are multiple ways to turn your backyard pigs into a profitable operation.
- You can buy feeder pigs to grow out and sell for meat. There is a good market for local pork -especially pasture raised- at farmers markets and in restaurants.
- Breed pigs and sell the weaned babies as feeder pigs.
- Breed and sell mini pigs as pets, but be honest in your marketing!
- Sell high quality piglets as breeding stock.
Reason #3: Reduced food waste
Pigs will eat *almost* anything so scraps that normally would be thrown away or composted can be given to pigs. Overripe produce from the garden? Leftovers that your picky children refused to eat? Gleaned extras from local farms and dairies? Give it to the little porkers:)
You can keep your kitchen scraps in a small filtered bin to keep the flies and the smell away until you have enough to take out.
Reason #4: Pigs are social and intelligent.
Our pigs were always so eager to see us when we would drive up each afternoon. They would run the fence line as we drove up and then they would nuzzle their heads on us when we entered the pen. This might have been because we had feed with us, but we will say that they just really loved us, k?
Reason #5: They can help teach your kids responsibility and respect for animals.
Farm chores are great to build character, responsibility, and respect in children. Our kids were big helpers with our pigs from feeding to fencing to checking babies. Kids can also raise pigs as 4H projects. The kids raise, show, and sell their pigs at 4H auctions. Most of the time the sponsor that purchases the pig will donate it back to the child so he or she can earn more experience and money.
Oh yea….and Bacon!
Books About Raising Pigs
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs
- The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation by Joel Salatin
- Small-Scale Pig Raising by Dirk Van Loon
- Homegrown Pork: Humane, Healthful Techniques for Raising a Pig for Food by Sue Weaver
- The New Livestock Farmer: The Business of Raising and Selling Ethical Meat by Rebecca Thistlethwaite
More Homestead Resources
- 29 of the Best Homesteading Resources
- 5 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Homestead
- The Livestock Management Binder
- The Pig Record Book
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