Raising a Pig?
|August 18, 2009||Posted by Issa under Homesteading|
One of my big goals for homesteading is to raise animals for food. Bees are in the works, and eventually down the line there may be chickens and goats and rabbits. What I’m really excited about, though, is raising a pig!
I first settled on a pig because I’m curious about how I will feel raising an animal on my own and then killing and eating it. I’m pretty confident I will feel fine – even good – about it, but, still, I’m looking forward to the test. When I consider different animals, I’m not interested in an animal as big as a cow, and chickens and rabbits seem very inherently food-like to me, and I can’t imagine having trouble killing them. Pigs, on the other hand, are intelligent and fun and personable, and some people love them enough to have as pets. It seems like a pig will be a very good test of how I feel about killing an animal, because it seems very likely that I’ll come to love the pig over the time I own it.
We were originally going to be moving in March, but that’s been moved up to September or October. I’m happy about that because it gives us a few months to settle in and make plans before it’s time to jump into all the spring work. It seems piglets will be available in the spring, will grow through the summer, and then I’ll slaughter in the fall. I’ll have this winter to make sure I’ve got a pig-ready shelter and pen and to learn all that I need to know.
I’m busy reading up on raising pigs – how to choose a piglet, what they need to eat, how to build a pig-proof space, what kinds of diseases and other health troubles can arise, etc. It’s a lot of information to digest, but I’m really enjoying the reading and am anxiously awaiting the time when I’ll get my pig.
A lot of what I’m reading says that pigs are happier with company. With one pig, I’ll need to be extra careful to pay it close attention, giving it lots of petting and talking. I think that’s do-able, especially since it’ll be the spring and summer, when I’ll be doing a lot of other things outside. I’m also considering looking for someone else who wants a pig’s worth of meat but doesn’t want to raise it themselves. Then my pig can have company without me being seriously overloaded with pork come fall. On the other hand, I have to seriously evaluate whether I think I can adequately care for two pigs, my very first year attempting to raise a food animal.
On way or the other, I’m sure it’ll be a grand adventure!