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Livestock/Horses Cows, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, and other four-legged friends.

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  #1  
Old 02-14-2016, 05:34 PM
LindaVMorgan Female LindaVMorgan is offline
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Default Getting pigs!

I am inheriting my daughters American Guinea Hog. She is a wonderful, funny, affectionate, vivacious girl; about a year old; and I'm thrilled to be getting her.

I'm going to buy her a "husband" and will raise her piglets for meat for the entire family. Any advice would be wonderful, as I am a San Francisco girl just starting to venture out into the dream.

Specifically, I am getting ready to build her yard. I have to make some decisions about fencing. She has lived in a suburban back yard up till now, and has never encountered an electric fence.

All my research is leading me to favor a 2 x 4" hog wire fence, buried about 12 inches, with 4" fence posts at about every 5 feet. I'll have to figure out a gate that I can get a truck through.

I am figuring on starting them out in a 25' by 25' pen. I'll put some kind of moveable shelter in there. I was considering also fencing the 25' x 25' space next to it for rotation.

Ok, my friends, pick it apart. What am I missing, and where am I deluding myself?
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:29 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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We raised pigs for a number of years, but we never bred them--we just bought feeder pigs and raised them to weight. we only encountered two problems: one was the tendency to dig. We found that was aided by the buried fence you mentioned with an electric fence wire rigged about 6" off the ground and 6" out from the fence to make it difficult to dig under the fence. We gave them lots of room, expanding the pasture as they got bigger. Having a playmate or two also seemed to reduce the tendency to escape. The other problem we had was getting them into a trailer to take them to the slaughterhouse for butchering. We chose not to kill and butcher our own pigs, but the slaughterhouse killed, custom cut, and wrapped the pigs, discarding the skin and saving the fat for lard. We rendered our own lard and I would highly recommend it if you can use it. Leaf lard is pure white and wonderful, but some of the other fat is useful only for soap, candles, or critter caloric supplement (chickens and wild birds). The American Guineas appear to be smaller than the hogs we raised, so it may not be as big a problem, but I would recommend teaching them to be fed inside something that could be used as a "pig walker" early in life, so that they could be easily moved as they get larger.

I'm sure there are folks here who are more experienced in pigs than I am, but that is my 2 cents.
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:47 PM
LindaVMorgan Female LindaVMorgan is offline
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"A Pig Walker"? Now THERE'S an intriguing word. What is a pig walker?
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Old 02-15-2016, 05:38 AM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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It is a box or a cage that is used to move a pig from one location to another. Here is a link to a very primitive one.

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/01/30/m...a-pig-in-wire/

Folks around here build a box (or cage if you are a welder) that has handles on each end allowing two people to easily move an animal from one pen to another, or into a truck or trailer for transport.
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Old 02-15-2016, 11:11 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is online now
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I used to raise hogs, though it was many years ago. I had 30 sows so I dealt with hundreds of babies along the way.

Woven wire fence should work but standard hog wire has larger holes the 2" by 4". You mentioned she was raised in a suburban back yard, which leads me to believe you are in the country. If so and usefulness outweighs appearance you can buy hog wire field fence that I believe still comes on a 330 foot roll.

You could have a very small fenced in area with shelter for overnight, and have that open to a larger area for daytime use. The reason I suggested a small area is the difficulty factor in digging down to bury all the fence. I'd hate the thought of that job. I'd place my wire on the ground, and put a hotwire about 10" or 12" off the ground about 6" inside the fence. If you wanted to bury the wire for the smaller pen to feel safer for overnight, you wouldn't have to bury so much fence.

In our larger pens we just used hotwires, but that was tougher to do in a smaller pen. Now the reason for that was having 30 or 40 hogs in a pen eventually one would get shoved into the hotwire and often times knock it loose trying to get away. We solved this by digging a small trench about 12" deep where we wanted the fence. Almost like you're going to do to bury the fence. Only we filled it with concrete, then just set the fence on top.

You should be able to space your posts more then 5' apart. That is if you're using a hotwire so they can't actually reach the fence.

To show you how effective a hotwire can be. I had a spot where part of the fence was made of metal roofing so it acted as a wind break. Just inside of that windbreak was the hotwire. One day I walked by and noticed the posts for the windbreak had rotted and about 30' of it had fallen over. I then realized it must have been that way for a couple days, and yet with no fence there at all none of the hogs got out because the hot wire was still there.

This does point out the downside of a hotwire. I also had a hotwire stretched across the gate. To move the sows in that pen to a pen closer to the farrowing barn I'd run them out the gate between the barns to the other pen. I'd open the gate, unhook the hotwire, and run them across. Problem was they knew there was a hotwire there, so sometimes it was about impossible to get them to go out the gate because they knew the hotwire had to be there even if they couldn't see it.
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:17 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is online now
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First, with 2 posts, welcome to the forum.. Hope you enjoy..
"Tear apart" your idea..... Not really, most likely, most here will encourage an idea.. And be more than willing to share experiences of what does, and does not work well with a project...

Depending on your location, state, rural, urban, will make a lot of difference it would seem in the success of your idea... With a Google search there seems a lot of info on successfully keeping this animal..

Like you said.. With no further information, since you are "inheriting" this animal from someone both you and they have emotional attachment to the animal.. That can make it hard to make economical animal husbandry decisions...

Many times this has been the case where a unique "pet" has outgrown its ability to be kept.. A quick Google says an average adult size of these animals is 175# each.. Again, depending on your location, available housing, and all for them, this could turn into an issue.. Double that with 2 adult, breeding animals, then eventually there offspring...

Feed issues... If you have to buy at retail every bite of there feed, it many times will not work out to as good a price for meat than buying a whole or half animal from the butcher/locker plant.. If you have secure pasture, at least a little crop land to supplement your feed costs, that helps... Time and equipment to grow these supplements..

Good luck, please keep us informed how it goes..
Take care..
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Old 02-16-2016, 10:39 AM
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Hey Linda. Welcome to the forum.

Very good advice has been given you above. You'll no doubt make use of it as it fits your time, talents and money, and then you can adapt as your situation requires.

I'd like to emphasize a point Don brought up: for a small operation, just buying a piglet or two from a breeder may make more sense. If you maintain your own breeding pair, you have to keep feeding them all year, increasing your feed costs & work load, and, unless you have a ready market for the offspring, you may be stuck with pigs you don't want. And don't forget that a male or a new mother pig can be outright dangerous to deal with.

Also, doing your own butchering can save you $250, but it's a lot of work, mess (don't forget the clean-up) and more risk of food spoilage if you don't get it done quickly.

But then, life is an adventure. Good luck.
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:52 PM
LindaVMorgan Female LindaVMorgan is offline
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Default Thank you, all!

This is so helpful, I appreciate all of it.

I hadn't actually intended to use a hot wire. I don't think there is a power source within 50' of the place. Can it be done with batteries?

I kinda thought about the cost of feeding a boar who will really only work for me 30 minutes at a time, once or twice a year. I was hoping Tilly would be more content, and maybe not try to break out all the time. And also, meat piglets ...

Getting rid of the meat WON'T be a problem, lol. I have three daughters and three nephews very close, all with young growing families. They have agreed to share the work and then share the meat.

Oh, yes. We will definitely be doing our own butchering. We always have. I may have grown up in San Francisco, but I come from a VERY long line of farmers.

I am in the country. I rent from one of my nephews, who owns 8 wooded acres. He is currently logging it, but when he's done, he says I can use a space near my house that looks to be about an easy half acre. I thought to fence off about 500 Sq ft, and then another 500 square feet next to it for rotation purposes. Then, yes, maybe I can sow some oats or something. Harvest the oats for feed, then move the happy couple there for the year.

Please don't dry up the feedback! This is unbelievably helpful and encouraging!
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:47 PM
hunter88 hunter88 is online now
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They do make solar powered electric fencers so that would solve your power problem.

I'd really consider a hot wire for hogs, it's about the only thing that will keep them in.

If you want to have something to keep your pig busy, try a bowling ball. We threw 2 or 3 old bowling balls in the pen and they would push them around all the time. Better they push a bowling ball then root around under the fence.

I tend to agree with the others, if meat is what you're after, buying small pigs and raising them to butcher size will be much easier. Also, and I'm saying this without being able to see where you're from and I can't remember, just raising feeder pigs would mean you don't have to care for hogs in the winter. If in a cold climate keeping water thawed out can be tough without electricity.
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2016, 11:02 AM
gundog10 Male gundog10 is offline
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I would recommend you check out a walk behind ditch witch (trench machine). It will cost you about $75 for four hours and cut a nice trench for your wire in no time. It would save you hours and hours of work and your back. Good luck.
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