How Much Meat From A Pig

Last year I raised two pigs. This year other people I know are interested in having a freezer full of pork, too, and I’m raising a total of 5-6 pigs. I can’t legally sell the meat, but I can raise the pigs and then my friends pay for the meat at the processor’s. I’m so excited about having pigs around The Wallow again! I’ve been busily putting together all the information that everyone needs to make a decision about having me raise a pig for them.

One of the questions that I want to answer is how much meat you actually get from a pig and what cuts make up that meat. I’ve looked at lots of different sites to get a good idea of the answer, so I’m putting all that information together here.

The Terms

There are several different terms you’ll run across when talking about how much pig there is.

First, there’s the live weight, which, like it sounds, is how much the pig weighs when it’s alive. Since I don’t have a scale, when I judge the live weight, it’s based on a tape measure and a mathematical formula, which gets me in the neighborhood but isn’t exact. This is also sometimes referred to as “on the hoof”.

Another term is market weight. Market weight is a target weight for when the pigs go to the processor. Market weight for pigs is in the 225-300 pound range. Any more or less than that and the ratio of how much meat you get versus how much money you put in isn’t as ideal. I’m aiming for 300 pound pigs this year.

The hanging weight is the weight of the carcass after slaughter but before butchering. The blood has been drained, the intestines removed, and parts like the head and feet cut off. This is the weight that the processor charges by, and the weight that I’m using for charging people this year. Other words used to describe the hanging weight are dressed weight and “on the rail”.

Cuts are the products you get from the pig. This includes meat cuts, like sausage and pork chops, plus bones and fat. Since it’s not all meat that you take home to your freezer, it’s more accurate to say cuts than to say meat when talking about what you get from a pig.

The Math

I’m aiming for 300 pound pigs, but the price to the customer is based on the hanging weight, so some math gets involved in predicting how much people will owe. Then there’s the weight of what goes into your freezer, which is another number. It’s also important to keep in mind that all these numbers are just estimates. Different breeds of pigs turn out different numbers, each particular pig is different, and the style of the processor also matters in the final number.

It’s common for sites to give the hanging weight as a percentage of live weight and then the cuts as a percentage of hanging weight. If you’re trying to figure out how much you’re going to have in your freezer based on my estimate of 300 pound pigs, this can get confusing.

Amongst the sites I’ve looked at, hanging weight is given as anywhere from 64-85% of live weight and cuts given as 68-90% of hanging weight. That’s a lot of numbers and quite a range. For my goal of 300 pound pigs, these numbers give a hanging weight of 192-255 and the cuts weighing in at 130-230. This would make the cuts 43-76% of the live weight. But 76% is way too high there. Most sites quote cuts as 48-65% of live weight. Besides, I’d like to give my customers a bit more certainty on what they’re getting for their 300 pound pig.

Instead of looking all over and combining everyone’s numbers, I’ll go straight to my two favorite authorities on this topic on the web. One is the The Meatman. I recommend checking out his site since it’s just a lot of fun to browse around. The Meatman has processed a lot of meat, and he gives an average of 104 pounds of cuts from a 215 pound live weight pig, which makes the cuts about 48% of live weight. Then I head over to Sugar Mountain Farm to hear from Walter Jefferies. Between the Sugar Mountain Farm site and Walter’s contributions on a pig-related email list I’m on, Walter is my online pig guru. Walter says hanging weight is about 72% of live weight and the commercial cuts 66% of hanging weight or 48% of live weight. Since Walter and The Meatman agree, that’s definitely the number I’m going with!

So, from my 300 pound pig, I can expect about 216 hanging weight and about 144 pounds in the freezer.

The Cuts

The next question everyone wants to know is exactly what they’ll end up with in their freezer. Again, this is inexact, since breed, individual pig, and processing choices will affect the end result.

Here are some examples I found of what you might get from a whole pig:

  • 18 lbs pork chops, 4 lbs spare ribs, 12 lbs sausage, 24 lbs ham, 20 lbs bacon, 12 lbs shoulder butt roasts, 14 lbs shoulder picnic, 16 lbs bone/trimmings, 30 lbs fat = 150 lbs
  • 7 lbs pork chops, 8 lbs sausage, 24 lbs ham, 20 lbs bacon, 17 lbs pork roast, 16 lbs picnic and shoulder butts, 7 lbs misc cuts, 5 lbs salt pork, 31 lbs fat = 135 lbs
  • 23 lbs pork chops, 6 lbs spare ribs, 18 lbs ground sausage, 30 lbs ham, 16 lbs bacon, 20 lbs shoulder roast, 8 lbs butt roast, 10 lbs stew bones, 16 lbs fat = 147 lbs
  • 23 lbs pork chops, 6 lbs spare ribs, 9 lbs sausage, 28 lbs ham, 23 lbs bacon, 9 lbs boston butt, 12 lbs picnic roast, 23 lbs fat = 133 lbs

I’m sorry to say I didn’t record the cuts we got from our pigs last year. I know we got a lot more sausage than these examples give, and we got more ham. We did not get nearly that much fat, and we got less bacon. I can never keep the shoulder/butt/picnic roasts straight, so I’m not sure what we got of those or in what kinds of amounts. I’ll try to record what I get this year so I have a better idea of what comes out of our particular pigs and our particular processor.

Space Needs

The final thing I want to cover here is how much space you need in order to have a whole pig on hand.

The first consideration is the coolers needed to pick your cuts up from the processor. Walter provides this photo of a half-pig share:

A full pig would need twice as much space, of course

The second consideration is your freezer space at home. You need a chest freezer if you’re getting a whole pig. If you only got a half pig, you might be able to fit it into your regular freezer, but not much else would fit in there.

The Meatman estimates that you need one cubic foot of freezer space for 30 pounds of pig. That means I expect people who have me raise their pig this year will need about 5 cubic feet of cooler space and freezer space.

In the end, all numbers aside, you get a lot out of a pig, and it’s all really yummy! It’s hard to go wrong, and I’m really excited to get started this year.

How to Raise Pigs // LoveLiveGrow #homesteading #livestock #pigs Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs // LoveLiveGrow #homesteading #livestock #pigs

For more information on raising pigs, these two books are both excellent sources – How to Raise Pigs and Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs. I used both of them when I was getting started. Whether you’re raising pigs for pets, getting started raising a 4H pig, or going purely for yummy pork, either of these books will help you out in getting started.

Comments

  1. I am so glad that I found this on the web. I am going to be butcher out a pig in the next two to three months and I was looking to see about how much meat I would be getting. Right now my pig is at a friends since I don’t have a place for it at my place. At this time all I know is it was born in Jan so it is around 9 month old now.

    • I’m so glad you found this post useful. We just picked up our meat from this year’s pigs, and I’ll be making a follow up post of exactly what cuts in what amounts we got. Keep in mind that if you do like we did and get things like the feet, hocks, head, etc, you end up with a bit more, but otherwise, my numbers in this post came out just right for what we got this year.

      How big is your pig at 9 months? Last year we processed our pigs at 5-6 months old and 250 pounds. This year we processed at 7-8 months old and about 300 pounds.

    • I had the same thought. If the pig’s not at market weight by 9 months, I wonder what is holding it back?

      • Ms. Mayhams says:

        I have no idea how much he weighs. One of the reason he has not gone to the butcher is we had to get a freezer to put him in and that is on its way. We should be taking him next month. I also think he is not getting the feed he needs for he is in a pet with like 7 other and 8 newer babies. The next pig that I have I will have at my place.

  2. Thank you for the information! We are in the procecssing of raising our first two pigs (Berkies). They were born in late April. Just wondering if there is a way of guessing the weight by height?
    Thanks, Karen

    • To “weigh” a big pig, you measure their length from the top of the tail to in between the ears and then measure the heart girth which is the length around the body just behind the front legs. Then calculate (in inches) length times girth times girth divided by 400. If you’re doing centimeters, you divide by 13781. I use a tailor’s tape to do this measuring. You could also use a sting or twine, tie knots at the measurement spots and then use a tape measure/ruler/yardstick to measure between your knots. If you’re going to do regular measuring (I do weekly), I highly recommend picking up a tailor’s tape. Much easier! Keep in mind that this is an estimate and will vary somewhat from a true weighing, depending on the physiology of your pigs and the accuracy of your measuring. For us, when we compare our measurements to the final weights at the processor, our calculations run about 20 pounds lighter than the true weight. But that’s pretty close on a 200-300 pound pig!

      Congrats on raising your first pigs! This was year two for me, and I’m completely in love. My motivation for talking my friends into buying pigs from me this year was just so I could get to raise more pigs! :-)

      • Thanks so much for your time! Much appreciated. I have a tailors tape, and I’m off to the barnyard! I can’t wait to try this meat I have so lovingly prepared all summer !!

      • These measurement calculations always crack me up. While they may be more or less accurate, I’ve never had an animal that would hold still long enough to be measured.

        • I’ve found that they hold still just fine with a food bowl in front of them. They may be a bit skittish at first and scoot to the other side of the bowl, but I stay patient and keep leaning over with the tape, and I get a good reading in a try or two.

  3. Ok so we have the chance to buy to hogs. Live weights are 678lb and 946lbs off these guys. Only reason he is sellin them is they are gettin to big for his sows to be bred. About how much meat am I actually looking at for each? I only got a 5 cubic ft chest freezer……

    • Using my calculations, the amount of cuts total from those two pigs would be about 780 pounds which would require 26 cubic feet of freezer space. If you are only interested in the meat, that will come down some. Pigs that size will have a lot of fat, for instance. Pigs are normally slaughtered at 225-300 to maximize the amount of meat to fat.

      A couple of other things to consider, if you haven’t already: don’t forget to factor in the cost of the butcher. At my processor, the cost to process those two together would be about $528 on top of whatever you pay the guy for the pigs. Also, these pigs are uncastrated males, which means you should read up on boar taint so you can make an informed decision about buying them for meat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boar_taint

      • I work at a hog farm and we have slaughtered a sow that got up to 725 and when we cooked her her meat was so tough. And this was with the whole hog if i was you i wouldnt buy tht sow if you want good meat buy a young gilt bout 260 to 300 pound thts were the good meats at

  4. I found this site while searching to find out why pigs/hogs have so much fat. My daughter and her hubby are cutting up a wild pig and the question came up. Any idea why?

    • No, I don’t know. I mean, it’s easy for pigs to get fat on commercial feed, and I assume a wild pig could find a particularly rich diet and be fatter than usual. But, I think what you’re asking is why do pigs in general have a higher body fat than, say, cows. I don’t know the answer to why some animals have a larger fat percentage than others.

      • Do we, in fact, know that pigs have a higher fat content than cows? Beef tallow used to be (maybe still is?) a major industrial product–used for candles, among other things. I don’t know if cows are fattier, per-pound, than pigs, but they certainly produce a lot of fat on an absolute scale!

        http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/showthread.php?t=32046

        The above thread references a body fat percentage of 27% for grain-finished cattle and 19% for hay-finished cattle.

        http://jas.fass.org/content/74/11/2663.full.pdf

        Meanwhile, the above-linked PDF found a sampling of pigs to have a body fat percentage between 9 and 24%, with an average of about 18%.

        Obviously, the actual fat amount will depend on many factors, most significantly the type and amount of feed given to the animal, but also the breed. That being said, it sounds like pigs and cows have roughly similar body fat percentages–at least under some conditions.

        Maybe pigs just carry their weight differently than cows? Or maybe it’s that lard is a more popular fat than beef tallow, and so we think of pigs as being fattier. If you are cutting up a wild pig, then I would expect that it would be much less fatty than a domesticated pig. I wonder what you’re using as a comparison? If you’re comparing a wild hog to, for example, deer, then the fact that the deer is a vegetarian and the hog is not may factor into it. Or maybe hogs just have slower metabolisms and hold fat better.

  5. Great information. Thank you.

  6. marcella buter says:

    hi, well i have a question that im sure some people are wondering… how much is the cuts worth? compared to the total amount invested in raising these pigs. if you buy 2 pigs at 60 lbs for 120$ and then feed them until weight 250lbs at about 60$per week and then pay for slaughter which is around 350$ for the two..1400$ is my closest estimate.. is that comparable to the value of the meat? if anyone knows please let me know… thank you

    • I pay $50-$60 per weaner pig, and then they eat about $140 in feed per pig. (Not sure where you got $60/wk…?) My slaughter fee is $30 per pig. The butcher fee is $0.40/lb hanging weight, which would be around $72 on a 250lb pig. That makes my cost for raising one pig to be around $300.

      Using your 250lb pig example, that makes the approximately 165 cuts about $1.81/lb. When I sell pigs to my friends, I build in extra money to cover my fencing/shelter/misc costs, and their cuts end up at around $3.50/lb. When I see similarly raising pigs in my area being sold by other people, it comes out to more like $6.50/lb.

      To determine the commercial value of the meat if you just bought from the store, you’d have to do some figuring based on the prices of different cuts (ribs, roasts, bacon, etc). Obviously my $1.81/lb for my own meat is a great deal, and the $3.50/lb for my friends is a pretty good deal, too, especially when you add in the value of non-industrial production.

      Does that answer your question?

      • Im trying to figure this out myself. I slaughtered my 2 hogs myself. but it cost me 1000. to feed them for about 7 months. thank god i did the slaughter and processing myself, cuz i lost them in a freezer “accident” 3 months later. i hear of people buying a hog processed from a hog fsrm for 250 bucks and cant imagine filing an insurance claim for half of what it cost to just feed them.

        have you recieved a retail value yet?

  7. Farrah Bauer says:

    I’m wondering if this “Pig Co-Ownership” has an official name? Three friends and I want to co-buy a lamb. But we don’t know where to start. We live in California so not too many farm options here. Any thoughts?

    • I’ve seen it referred to as “shares”. As in, “We’re going to buy a pig share or a half share of cow. http://www.localharvest.org/ is probably a good place to start looking for places near you.

    • You won’t get a whole lot of meat from 1/4 of a lamb in my experience. But then, I raise heritage breeds and not the big commercial breeds. Still…

      Some farmers will be glad to sell direct to you and arrange for the animal to be butchered. Then you pay the butcher for the meat processing when you pick it up. I do this and it works very well and I think you pay less that way. We sell our lambs for $80-$100 and the butcher would charge about $60 for an 80# lamb here in the far North of CA. Keep in mind you would only get about 35 pounds of meat from that lamb.

      • Jim Forry Jr says:

        I agree 1/4 lamb is not much. We bought two lambs, non-selling ones at the fair (fair only allows one animal per kid thru sale ring, others go to market or private sale or butcher for your own use) and with a family of three it was just about right. We also have one pig butchered each year. We did a pay a small preium for the lambs since it was a 4-H project so cost was a little higher. We do the same with the pig, but it is to our daughter so worth it and she HAS to pay for her own pigs, her feed and do 98% of the work.

  8. Brianna says:

    Glad that I found this. I just saw an anatomical sculpture of a pig and I was astonished at how hollow they are…it appears that there is very little meat even when you see one hanging but they usually show the open side. I love pork but it was disconcerting to think that so little meat is harvested from each animal…looking further I found this and now I know that nearly half of the live weight is meat. I am an animal lover but also an omnivore, and I hate to waste a life for a small return. But nearly 50% I can deal with that. Pass me the Bacon!

    • Jim Forry Jr says:

      Nice thing about pigs is the fast production compared to other animals. About a half a year from birth to slaughter and with large litters, you can get a lot of meat without taking up a lot of space. It has also been proven that it is actually healthy for us contray to what some want us to think.

  9. Thanks for all of the wonderful information. I am considering raising a few grass-fed pigs (with just a little feed). However, I wonder if I wonder if I would get the same amount of meat from them and if it would take longer to get to the 300 pound mark. Any thoughts?

    • You should be very careful about grass-raising pigs, especially if you have never raised pigs before. People who try to raise pigs largely on pasture are much more likely to accidentally under-feed and malnourish their pigs, because they don’t have a calibrated view of what a healthy pig looks like. Many breeds are simply not able to forage successfully enough to support themselves. Many pastures are simply not able to provide the nutrition a pig needs.

      It will absolutely take longer to reach the 300 lb mark on pasture, as opposed to convenient, calorie and nutrient-dense feed. Specifically, you may have issues with growth-limiting amino acids like lysine. I’m far from an expert on feed formulation, but you should consult with one to determine what nutrients are likely to be lacking in your forage, and provide the pigs with a supplement that makes up those deficiencies. You can buy feed concentrate that is intended to be mixed with corn. Possibly giving them some access to that would make up the difference–again, consult with an expert.

      • i am currently raising 4 pigs . i went and talked to a local grocery store and they box up there scrap fruit and vegetables for me and i pick them up once a day after the store closes and my pigs love it. they get watermelon, cantaalope, lettuce, broccoli etc. at no cost to me. and they have really picked up thier weight and makes it alot cheaper to feedthem. they still have there feed bin with chop in it.i haveby probably cut my feed bill by at least 1/2. i plan on giving the owners some fresh pork as a thank you.the grocery store is a small town store and i average anywhere from 3 to 10 fruit boxes full a day.it’s recycling at it,s best.

    • Amy,

      A similar question just came up on a pig-related email list that I read. If you’re not familiar with the Homestead Hogs list, I recommend it highly. The home page is here:

      http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/homesteadhogs/

      Here is the answer to the question (copied–I didn’t write it). I especially like Jerry’s suggestion of pasturing your pigs, but also providing them with a free-feeder. That way, you can be sure that they are getting as much nutrition as they need, and are growing at a healthy rate. You can also get a sense for what a healthy rate of gain is, so that if your pigs are gaining slower than that if/when you try to pasture them more exclusively, you’ll know it.

      This is going to be almost impossible to answer here correctly…

      100 pounders are in the high gain growth age and need the best available food you have for best gain.

      Pasture is good, but the quality of pasture is going to play a huge part of equation.. protein content, dry matter, digestibility .. all factors.

      Probably definitely going to need some additional feed…

      http://www.thepigsite.com has complete book chapters on line concerning swine nutrition. I would politely suggest learning all you can regarding that. Really look at lysine content…. critical for pigs to put on muscle (meat).

      If you are a newbie to pigs, and not familiar with the potential growth\rate of gain, I might suggest just going ahead and leaving this batch on pasture, along with a self-feeder with feed in front of them 24/7. That way this batch will grow as fast as their genetic’s will allow….. and gives you the experience to gauge the next batch where you can experiment with different feeding system. Creates a knowledge baseline for you.

      Cheers

      Jerry

  10. This is interesting info. I just purchased a half a pig from my butcher and only received 27 pounds. I called him and he had me return for another bag of meat. When I returned today to get it, he claimed I received the whole pig at this point. He said it was a “small pig”… It confused me since all the meat I received combined is 61 pounds :-( Is my butcher riping people off?

    • The standard metrics that we use are that a pig’s hang weight is 72% of its live weight, and its freezer weight is 55% of its live weight. Therefore, if your pig was 61 lbs in the freezer, it should have been about 110 lbs live weight. Perhaps a bit more if, for example, the hams had been deboned or something like that. A typical market weight pig is between 220 and 250 lbs. I would guess that a 110 lb pig would be about 4 months old. How old was the pig you had processed?

      Just to reiterate:

      Hang weight = 72% of live weight
      Live weight = 138% of hang weight
      Freezer weight = 55% of live weight
      Live weight = 181% of freezer weight
      Freezer weight = 76% of hang weight
      Hang weight = 131% of freezer weight

      What you know is that your freezer weight is currently 61 lbs. That corresponds to a live weight of 110 lbs, or a hang weight of about 80 lbs.

      Did you have the pig processed separately and then take it to the butcher? If so, do you know its live weight or hang weight? You could ask whoever processed your pig what its hang weight was. If it’s the butcher, and if he’s ripping you off, he could just lie, but if he gives a number larger than about 110 lbs, you’re owed some meat. I mean, he already lost one bag of meat. Who’s to say he didn’t lose another?

    • Another way to think about it is, what did you pay for the meat? What does that work out to per pound? A rough price around $4.50 to $5.50 per pound freezer weight is where I’d start. The meat could be more expensive than that. But if you run the numbers and it works out to $15 a pound or something, then you’re being over-charged, at the very least. I mean, I suppose if it was all tenderloin or something, maybe, but you said “half a pig,” so I assume you’re getting an even distribution of cuts.

  11. lou aquino says:

    mam good day! I am lou from Philippines, davao city
    i would like to ask if i have 104kls pig .
    how much meat i expect to have.
    since i sell the meat in retail.

    thank you , its my first time in the business , its a big help for my financial income. thank you please guide me for a profitable business. tnx

    • Lou,

      Freezer weight is estimated to be 48% of live weight. If you have a 104 kg pig, you would expect to get about 104 * 0.48 = 49.92 kg of meat.

  12. Can someone help with approximately how much it costs to raise a pig?

    • The answer depends on a lot of factors. Feed and fuel cost are two big ones, and are related, since as fuel costs go up, so do feed costs, as well as any fuel the farmer uses directly in his or her operation. Economy of scale factors in heavily too. Issa and I spend way more per pig than an operation with 50 or 100 pigs or more and a breeding operation.

      The short answer is that we spend approximately $300-$500 at today’s fuel and feed prices.

  13. What an excellent post! Thank you for all of your research and expertise. We just processed our first American Guinea Hog and I am trying to figure out how much meat we got from her as well. Is it ok that I link your post to my blog? Thank you again.

  14. Thank you for a proper and informative article! My use of this information in cartography. I draw maps for a hobby and I need to know factors contributing to a pork farm.

    Thank you.

  15. Even though beacon comes from the belly part of the pig, what is the optium weight to get the correct size of beacon? Thanks!

  16. 1.how much time required to a pig become ready to eat?
    2. how many babies can a pig gives at a time & through life time?

    • From birth, pigs take about 9 months to market size. About 7 months if you are growing from weaners.

      We don’t breed, so I don’t know much about pig breeding. I think average litter size is 10-ish. I don’t know about lifetime litters.

  17. Christine says:

    Love all the great information here – thank you so much!!

    We raised pigs the last few years, and each year we are finding we have too much ham when we are done. We don’t eat a lot of it – def not our fave part of the pig.

    Are there alternatives to making the traditional ham cuts INTO ham cuts? For instance, if it’s not smoked/cured, can we just put it in the slow cooker and make pulled pork?

    • You can try cooking a ham the same as you would a shoulder to make pulled pork. It will probably not be bad, but I don’t think it would have the fall-apart consistency and juiciness of shoulder. But I’ve never tried it, so give it a go! What have you got to lose?

      If I was ending up with way more ham than I wanted, I would consider asking the butcher to grind one of the hams into the sausage.

  18. Hello,

    I just found your site and I’m particularly looking at what we should pay for a hog to be butchered…. The pig weighs about #350lbs and the people are asking $250, is that too much? Thanks!

    • We pay $0.45/lb hang weight for butchering, or $0.55/lb hang for USDA approved, plus a $35 kill bill. For a 350 lb live weight pig that would be $148.40 to $173.60. That makes your number a bit high, but the right price is the price you can get, ya know? Do you have other options?

  19. I just had a pig butchered. I asked around for a shop, got a name. They came and killed the pig and transported him. Background on Pig. he was 10 months old. And by the string test, weighted about 270 close as I can figure. He lived in a round pen, and was fed: Alfalfa Hay, Orchard Hay, table scraps, pig growth feed, Horse feed, of the expensive variety. Cow milk we didn’t drink, so close to a gallon milk a day, rice bran (we feed to our horses, wanted to make sure he was nice and fat) and for the past month corn as much as he could eat.

    I was told his hanging weight was 135 lbs. They threw out the head, the fat, tail, ears, did I mention fat that I wanted, and the jowls….the jowls. This is what I was told anyway.

    I got the meat back and this is what I got. I shoudl add most is so tough and dry I don’t really want to eat it now.

    I swear on my Grandbaby’s life this is what I got:

    Bacon: 6.80 lbs extremely bitter, with NO fat on it at all.
    Pork Chops: 25.90 lbs
    Susage: 16.25 lbs
    Pork Steak 12.25 lbs
    Ham Hocks: 8.50 lbs
    Ham 27.75 lbs
    Ribs, Spare: 4.75 lbs
    Tenderloin 1.25 lbs
    Neck Bones 2.25 lbs.

    So how bad was I ripped a new one? Why is meat so bitter, it was a he, but was never around any other pigs to develop much. He didn’t get much exercise. So why bitter, why tough? think they kept my good hog, and substituted a wild pig? I do live in Florida.

    • From a 270 lb pig, I would expect a hang weight of 194 and 129 lb of cuts. Of course there’s some room for variation, but something is off in your numbers. If you assume the hang weight is correct, then your pig likely weighed more like 187. Without seeing your pig, I can’t guess about the weight… but I do know it can be really hard to get an accurate pig weight!

      You mention dry, tough, and bitter about the meat. I don’t know what would make the meat dry and tough, other than dry curing. Did you have your bacon and ham dry or country cured? How DID you cure your bacon and ham? We found ourselves not liking the taste of dry curing, so we do our own wet cure (brining), which dramatically improves the flavor of the meat. How is your sausage? Kind of hard to mess up sausage.

      As for bitter… you said you pig was male. Was he castrated? Some non-castrated male pigs develop what is known as boar taint, which negatively affects the flavor of the meat for some people.

      You also say “They came and killed the pig and transported him.” Do you mean they killed him at your place and then transported him somewhere else for butchering? That’s backwards, since he needs to get refrigerated/frozen as soon after slaughter as possible. We always transport the live pigs and they are killed & butchered on site somewhere else.

      Do you have other options for processing in your area? It really sucks to be in a position where you don’t know if you can trust them.

  20. Denise manager says:

    Thanks. We run a meat co-op and I spend hours trying to figure out the numbers after each animal is finished. Nice Job and I agree on your reference choices….they are terrific.

  21. George Collins says:

    One thing that can be done with hams for those that don’t like ham is to have them sliced and tenderized. Batter and fry like pork chops.

  22. We are raising eight Berk/Hamp/York cross pigs. We have found that the Berk in them really gives a lean weight even after the 250# mark. Other breeds have put on a larger amount of fat when they get near market weight. We are raising on a non-gmo grain that has no corn or soy. A great organic blend that has little fat.

  23. I just purchased 2 gilts and 1 boar from a farm in central Florida (I live in Fort Myers Florida) the pigs are Birk/Duroc mix with one gilt is from Birk sow and Birk/Duroc boar. Beautiful babies nice conformation. My goal is to breed these and sell the babies as fair/show hogs and then whole or butchered meats. My questions are these
    1. To sell meat do I need to do an LLC?
    2. Do I sell the meat or do I sell the hog to a butcher and they sell the meat?
    3. How do I sell to businesses such as grocery/ restaurants?
    4. If I sell to grocery/ restaurants do I sell live or already butchered?
    5. If butchered do they pick up from butcher or do I deliver?
    6. What information should I provide to buyers either way? Such as date of birth, worming, vaccines, weight at different stages
    7. I would like to make sure since in the end food industries are under a lot of regulations and want to make sure I am doing what is right by the regulations they are under to ensure my pigs/ name/ reputation and business is a success

    • I recommend joining the Homestead Hogs Yahoo group to help you answer your questions. The people on that list are all small to medium hog farmers, and they are amazingly helpful about anything you need to know about raising pigs.

      I’ll give a short stab at your questions, but people much more knowledgeable and talkative than me can help you out on that list.

      1. Not that I know of.
      2. You will sell the meat yourself. The butcher would not be able to pay you the price you need to cover your costs. They buy from bigger, leaner operations.
      3. You probably can’t at the volume you’re talking about, because they will want much more meat, more consistently. To try to make these deals, you just call the business in question and ask who makes buying decisions and talk to that person.
      4./5. Probably already butchered; you would deliver.
      6. For my customers who are individuals and usually my friends, I provide “feel good” information like the pigs’ growth progress, what they like to eat, pictures, etc. as well as any relevant health information. In a more business-like arrangement, I would think the breed, whether they are pastured or not, and delivery time estimates would cover it.
      7. If you are selling meat the main regulation you have to comply with is that the meat be USDA processed. You will need to contact processors in your area to find which provide USDA processing.

  24. Would you purchase a pig if it had a live weight of 400lbs? I have been told that once they get that big they have a lot more fat on them. I am just wondering how much meat I can expect to get from it and I am hoping that the meat will be good and not tough

    • Last year we purchased and had processed a pig that was about 400 lbs, and we were pretty happy with it overall. You’ll want to make sure that the pig is either a sow or a barrow and NOT a boar. Yes, they have more fat on them at that size. The fat is still valuable to us because we render our fat into lard. I thought I noticed with the bigger pig that the pork chops were a little dryer/tougher, but they were also cut a bit thin that time, so it might be because of that. All the other meat is as excellent as usual.

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