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Pigs

Discussions about how to grow your own food or raising livestock.
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RachelM
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Pigs

Postby RachelM » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:30 am

Was watching several of the BBC "Farm" series, and saw the wartime idea of a "pig club", wherein a group of families shared food scraps to raise a pig for meat, and split the meat. Is feeding pigs scraps alone viable? I work as a cook, so my own family's scraps, plus some I can grab from work/school would feed more than a few pigs if viable.
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Re: Pigs

Postby farmgal » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:57 am

if you meals are balanced, and you are raising the pig for your own use only, then yes, if you want to sell pork, then you will need to read up on the rules on what they can or can't be feed, example a pig being raised for myself, I can and will feed meat scrapes, butcher scrapes and eggs/raw whole milk for their protein, but there are rules in place for any pork that is to be sold farmgate style..
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RachelM
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Re: Pigs

Postby RachelM » Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:53 pm

I'm looking mainly for home production. Any selling would be done live at the market, though I'm not sure on the legality of that.
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/liv ... 04-055.htm
Based on this, it seems only to be illegal for pre-slaughter hogs?
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Re: Pigs

Postby runswithscissors » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:29 pm

Having raised 4 hogs last year and selling halves legal in Ontario last year here's what I went through.

You have to get them killed somewhere that is provincially inspected (unless your shipping it across provinces, then federally inspected). They literally just look at the meat to make sure it's not obviously diseased badly.

For home production you can do exactly what your asking. But your pig needs a certain amount of feed each day to grow out. 3 pounds of feed to make a pound of flesh. It starts to add up as they get bigger too obviously. I started with 45 pound weaners, feeding each a half pound a day. Near my target weight, I was feeding each 7 pounds a day. Don't get just one pig, it'll take longer to grow. Two or more compete for feed. That's they way they do it. Plus, having a playmate is more likely to keep them out of trouble out of boredom.

Table scraps are good. Stale bread. Off milk. They'll eat it. I would and did avoid meat scraps, just because the risk of transmitting trich, but really the risk is pretty low. I feed meat scraps to the dog instead. I did however rinse the meat fat from plates into my bucket for added fat.
Also, don't discount garden wastes. Weeds. There are a couple to avoid, as they are poisonous to the hogs but I doubt that you'd have them in the garden or yard. Scavenge nuts and windfall apples and fruits. It does make a big difference on the feed bill.

Legally in Ontario as long as you have inspected meat you can sell it. If it's not inspected, it's supposed to be for your own or your immediate family's use. BUT, if it's not inspected, technically your not supposed to transport it off farm. If you sell inspected meat, say at a farm market, then you'd need to have a vendor's permit as well and do all that it requires (refridgeration and all that). The hoops aren't really that bad unless your marketing hundreds.

Oh. And if your selling meat, selling live at market isn't really the way to go. You'll not make enough to make it worth it. Sell it retail if you can, for example selling a whole half or by the pound or smoked product or whatever. Market price really only benefits the large scale producer, and even then its not that great. It benefits the processor more.

Last year I spent 550 dollars feeding 4 weaners to my market weight (220 pounds each) on pasture. I should have spent about $800. Feeding weeds and garden scraps and scavenged fruits and nuts saved me money. On pastured also made them leaner in the end because no matter how much I fed them, they had enough room to run around and burn off the excess calories. But they weren't belly deep in crap. I didn't make them a fancy hut, just scavenged some material. They only cared about getting out of the rain. I looked at marketing the extra - because I wanted to just raise two for my family. I'm working off of memory, but I believe last year price was about $160 per hog (not including marketing fees and transport). I sold mine in halves for $300 a half hog. I thought this was high, but the folks I sold to were willing to pay up to $400 a half. I pulled that number out of what I seen a retail store in around London charge for a whole hog ($600). Add up the retail cuts in the grocery store, and it comes out slightly more then $300 a side. But if you factor in the new public perception of pasture raised meats, charging more then $300 a side is possible.
Inspected killing, cutting and wrapping will account for quite a bit per hog (flat rate charges for killing and disposal and cutting charges per pound). If you go with inspected meat for selling purposes, I really highly suggest you let them kill it, cut it in half and then you pick it up (or get it delivered if they do that) and cut it down from there. That's what I'll be doing from now on.

Do it. Don't overanalyze it. There's not much to it really. Get weaners. The fella selling them will give you an idea how much he's been giving them to eat. Start there. Feed them. Watch them for signs of ill health - straight tails, not eating, excessive gunk around the eye for example. About every month raise the amount of feed by a pound (or listen to the pigs, they'll let you know if they are hungry or not. Feed them what they should get and if its still there fifteen minutes later, it's too much.) Feed twice a day. Have as much fresh water as they can get too. Water buckets WILL be tipped and tossed. For water I used a rain barrel and attached a hog water nipple to it and strapped it to the fence post and I kept the barrel about half full every 3-4 days. Pigs don't sweat, so in hot weather try and give them some shade. And mud. Mud helps to cool them off and it keeps the bugs off them.
You care about their weight. There's a way (using a measuring tape and some math) to tell pretty close how much they weigh. 220 pounds gets you about 170 pounds of meat. For example, one of mine weighed 240 going in for processing. After it was gutted (dressed weight) it was about 210, and it yielded about 178 pounds of meat after the larger bones were removed.

I'll stop rambling here. Good luck with it. You'll enjoy yourself if you do it. Pigs are fun to watch raise. I loved having mine.
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Re: Pigs

Postby runswithscissors » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:36 pm

RachelM wrote:I'm looking mainly for home production. Any selling would be done live at the market, though I'm not sure on the legality of that.
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/liv ... 04-055.htm
Based on this, it seems only to be illegal for pre-slaughter hogs?


Most of the regulations on that website are geared towards barn producers that have like 1200 hogs in each barn. Most of the stuff in there you won't need to worry about, as your not stocking them in the densities to have to worry about it.

As a small producer (hehehe, very small if your raising less then 10) you really don't have much to worry about. Legally, for selling meat, you need to worry about getting inspected processed meat. And then your looking at local by-laws and whatever. Like a vendor permit, which is the same thing a hot dog vendor or fry truck needs.
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RachelM
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Re: Pigs

Postby RachelM » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:35 am

Good info runswithscissors. For some personal use, we could cover only partial feed with scraps anyways, and I was fortunate enough to learn to butcher a half hog in school. As for mud, there' more than enough on our farm! I've heard you can even let them run in a forest and they'll forage, which is nice since probably 1/3 of our 10 acres is forested. Just string some fencing between trees and they can pig out on the weeds growing in the woods! Looking into it for the future, as our farm is forever stuck between fixing up and trying to find time to build.
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Re: Pigs

Postby oldschool » Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:24 am

Anyone breeding both regular meat pigs and Mangalitsa pigs (for the fat)?
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