Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bringing our butcher piglet home

After putting in some hot sweaty hours over the weekend, our pig pen was pretty much ready, so Monday evening we went down to our wonderful neighbor's barn and brought our pig home. He is castrated and about 2 months old. He had a shot of deworming medicine this evening while we picked him up, and although the first day or two he was definitely missing his littermates and mother, he's really starting to settle in, get used to his chicken & human companions, and gobble down that food of his. We've named him Pat the Pig.

For his pen we bought 4 16' hog panels and a mesh-filled metal gate. We already had the t-posts, wood corner posts, and all of the shelter material except for some long screws, so that really cut costs down.

We're borrowing a feeder from our neighbor, and used some plastic pipe we had laying around for the waterer, in addition to a new water nipple. We've also got a trickle of irrigation water moistening a little mucking spot for him.

My husband is convinced that raising this pig will be too expensive for the meat to be worth it, but for me it's more than just the cost comparison of the pork in the end. It's knowing what went into the pig, knowing how it's life was lived, ending up with all the manure, and learning from the process of raising it. I'm lucky that my husband understands that for me growing and raising our own food, be it meat or vegetables, is more than a way to feed our family, it's a hobby verging on a way of life, just like hunting is for him.

If someday in the future we end up raising and breeding pigs, even just on a very small scale like our neighbor is currently doing, this first pig is teaching us valuable lessons that will help us move into that phase. Heck, it's teaching us valuable lessons about lots of things, building small structures, putting fence up, and most of all, just how to raise a butcher pig. Farming isn't something you just jump into, and the startup generally comes with increased time and cost. That's where we are at now, and I'm so happy we are :)
Linking up to the Homestead Barn Hop.


  1. Pat is quite the handsome little pig! Have fun! i can't get over how simular our lives are. My husband has the same approach, as it will cost more, then just buying farm pork. But he is supportive and now loving it. Our pig is about 220 now, so we are thinking around labor day will be his time....
    anyways, love your pen! i bet little M will love watch pat as well :)

    1. You guys picked a much better time to be able to slaughter, ours likely won't be up to size until Christmas or new years, which means snow & fighting with keeping his water warm :P Next year maybe we'll get the timing dialed in a little better :) Little M calls Pat 'my hig' not mama's, definitely just hers. I hope she likes him on her supper plate too! :)

  2. Pigs are so much fun to have around, and it's sooo worth it. I'm a firm believer that happy/non-stressed critters make for better tasting meat. Berkies are supposed to have incredible flavor, too. We haven't done berks yet, but are planning on trying them out.

    Your cost per lb in the end may not be as high as you'd think, and depends on a lot of factors... Cost of weaner, feed prices, when you butcher, your butcher and the cuts/cures you choose, etc. Keep a record of what you spend vs how much you get into the freezer. You may be surprised!

    Found your blog through the homestead barn hop. Looking forward to reading more!

    1. Hi & Welcome Rae!
      I'm definitely keeping a record of what we spend, dividing it into this pig in specific costs vs reusable items that will do for pigs down the road. I've heard the same about Berkshires, and am excited to see how he tastes! :) I'll be sure to do a follow up post about costs and taste and all that good stuff once we've had him butchered.


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