Author Topic: which breed of pig to choose  (Read 777 times)

Offline CandyBabyE

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which breed of pig to choose
« on: November 21, 2012, 06:54:29 AM »
What breed of hog would you experienced keepers recommend for a beginner?

I would like to begin raising a few hogs for meat.  My son, 17, would like one as a pet.  I am on a half acre in a town that does allow livestock, up to 10 medium size stock (pigs,  sheep, goats), and 4 large animals (horses, cows) on a half acre. I already raise rabbits (2 does and a buck) and 5 hens.

I've never kept pigs before and from my stand point they seem the most efficient thing to raise of the medium stock .being omnivores, can be fed some of the household leftovers that the chickens and rabbits don't eat. I can place the pen where the manure can go into the compost heap and the overflow can add to the fruit trees. And make a larger portable area for foraging when we have grass and weeds.

I recently went and looked at some Red Wattled piglets.  They were friendly and the sow was calm when I scratched her and the piglets. They grow fast but get very large.

I also have access to kunekune piglets locally.  Their size is more practical on a half acre (250 lbs max), but they seem like they might be more along the potbelly line and I'm not sure how they would be for meat. 

I'm looking for suggestions, tips and recommendations any one can give me.  The internet is helpful, but there's nothing as good as the information that this great community can give.  The "been there done that" type of information is always best.  ;)

Thanks for your help. 

Candy

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Offline Head Farm Steward

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Re: which breed of pig to choose
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 10:48:09 AM »
I would just buy a couple of cheap hybrid shoats from a producer.  By the time they are bacon sized, they are no longer pets.  You won't want to play with them anymore.  They are just too big and dangerous.  They have been known to grab a lamb or goat kid through the fence.  Send them to freezer camp and get a couple more to play with.

But if that's not your gig, potbelly pigs are generally cheap and tasty.  Kune kune are probably tasty but I don't think they are cheap.

Offline quartzridgeranch

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Re: which breed of pig to choose
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 02:56:36 PM »
Have you checked into American Guinea Hogs? They are very well mannered and not as large as the commercial hogs. They take a little more time to grow to finishing weight but they don't eat as much food!

You can check out our farm blog http://quartzridgeranch.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/raising-american-guinea-hogs-fencing-housing-food-and-water/ for more information and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Teresa
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Offline Cedar

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Re: which breed of pig to choose
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 05:12:40 PM »
If you are not breeding them, just get crossbreds. They generally have hybrid vigor and grow out faster. I used to raise Landrace/Yorkshire cross and now getting into Hampshires

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Offline Roundabouts

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Re: which breed of pig to choose
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 08:04:28 PM »
Oh I have AGH and have looked at Kune Kune.  I have tons of information that I can and would love to share with you.  If you PM me I would give you my number and we can chat.  I did type a huge reply then lost it.  :o

I think the most important this is that you have to do what is best for you.  What are your goals?  How much meat do you want?  How much land do you have?  What is the quality of the land that you have?  Do you want to have on going meat?  Then breeding would be in order. 

 I know many say the price is to high.  I don't really think that way because I can have 4-9 piglets per litter and 1-3 litters a year for yrs and yrs.  Personally I only want 1 litter a year.  I will only sell breeders that are of excellent quality.   I know they can go any where from $100-450 each for AGH  and have seen kune kune for $150 a pair. 

I like small size and slow growth.  It fits for us.  makes Processing easier and I look at it like I am storing my meat on the pasture and not the freezer.  So it is all in what you want.  I can't speak for the taste of the meat.  Flavor is so subjective.  So many factors go into the flavor.  Feed processing age gender your likes and dislikes.  You might just get some and try it your way.  That truly is the only way you will know. 

Kune kune forage very very well as do the AGH both are very mild mannered.  My AGH boar Sunny will let baby chicks and turkeys sleep on him.  I have even seen the chickens take food out of the pigs mouth!  Not one snap or grunt.  You do have to take extra care as not to forget they are still pigs.  Both the girls were very mild mannered when they had their litters.  Didn't even mind the dog sniffing the babies.  But were very quick to run to the rescue if a baby was squealing.

Drop me a line I love to talk pig.  I live in WA so if you are close you are more than welcome to stop by and see for your self.   Let me know what you get!  Oh this is so exciting.  Oh and there is a facebook group on the AGH.  Great group of people can answer many questions.
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Offline Darby Simpson

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Re: which breed of pig to choose
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2012, 11:58:28 AM »
As a beginner, four legged ones with tails is a great place to start.  You will probably have access no matter where you are to berks, hamps, yorks or a cross of the above.  Berkshire crosses make a great tasting pig, and can finish around 250lbs.  Don't get all caught up in what exotic or heritage breed to raise until you get your feet wet.  Those guys can be expensive and hard to find.   Berks have a state wide breeders list in nearly every state, generally these are small farms who raise them as show or 4H projects.  They will be willing to sell weaned piglets pretty reasonably.  I would suggest two, they are very social animals and love to sleep as a herd.  Be sure and do some rotational movement, even on your limited space.
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Offline CharlesH

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Re: which breed of pig to choose
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 12:08:21 PM »
It's been a couple years since we've kept any hogs but I second the notion to just go with a local cross to start.  I think some sort of Yorkshire cross is what I normally ended up with.  I read the previous posts about Kune Kune and AGH with interest, however,  I had steered away from smaller breeds because I had heard their meat was not as palatable.  It sounds like I may have got some bad information. 
 
If I was going to try and keep some breeding stock I might look at Berkshires.  I've heard good things about the quality of their meat and they seem to do fairly well living outside (I'd usually set them up in a new area each year where they could clear a patch of land for me.  My crosses rarely needed any more shelter than a three sided shed since I only kept them in the spring and summer.)
 
I love keeping hogs.  They grow quickly, and eat a lot of different things.  Be aware, however, that if you are selling them there are laws that dictate how you have to treat human table scraps before feeding them to hogs.  This wouldn't apply to one you were keeping for yourself, but if you wanted to start a business you'd have to make sure the food they ate was permissable.
 
  Charles
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MightyRunt

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Re: which breed of pig to choose
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2012, 02:05:12 PM »
We just always got chubby pink squealy ones.  :)