Pork Power: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Pigs for Meat

Dawson Steele

Have you ever been interested in raising pigs for meat farming but need help figuring out what to do and where to start? Look no further! I put together all the need-to-knows for all your questions about pig raising for meat farming. We’ll go over the feeding, housing, different breeds of pigs to choose from, and the necessary health care for your valuable swine. So keep reading to get all of the up-to-date info! Let’s get into it!

Table of Contents

Feeding Pigs for Maximum Yield: The Secrets of Raising Pigs for Meat Farming

My 35-Year Success in Raising Pigs on the Family Farm

For the past 35 years, I have been raising pigs on my family farm, and I have definitely learned a thing or two about feeding them for optimal growth. In the early days, all our pigs were free to roam around the pastures to find food, and they also got pig starter feed at the local feed mill and whole-kernel corn once they got old enough to start on solid food.

The Benefits of Keeping All Pigs in One Central Location on the Farm

These days it is more convenient for us to keep all of our pigs in one central location – a big old red barn on our farm – rather than let them forage for food all over the place. This is more efficient for the upkeep of both animals and pastures!

Plus, it also saves us a lot of time by no longer having to look after all of those extra maintenance tasks in different areas of our farm when the pigs are out foraging.

Using Whole-Kernel Corn Feed in our Big Red Barn

We use large bins to store whole-kernel corn to give out daily meals once they get old enough to start on solid food. All my children have also followed my path in raising pigs on our family farm over all these years.

It has proven to be a successful business for all of us! Even now, when the pigs are all kept in one central location, we still choose to use whole-kernel corn so that they get good nutrition and put on weight before meeting their destiny at butchers!

A Thank You to My Wonderful Wife, Who Does All the Hard Work!

I want to give thanks and credit to my wonderful wife, who does all the hard work feeding all the hungry pigs every day at our big old red barn on our family farm!

The Right Feed for Raising Pigs for Meat: Ensuring Maximum Nutritional Value for Your Farm

Animal husbandry in livestock farming for pigs is all about providing the right care and upkeep to keep your pigs in good health. In addition to choosing the right breed of pig for your farm, it is also essential to pay close attention to their daily diet to keep your animals at an optimal level of health and to ensure steady growth for them to reach market weight on time.

What Do Pigs Eat in the Wild?

Wild boars have been on this earth for a very long time, so it should be no surprise that one of their natural instincts is to forage for food. They have evolved into omnivores through generations, searching for all they need to sustain themselves in the wild.

A wild boar can eat all types of insects, frogs, worms, grubs, and other small creatures like rodents and lizards, as well as eggs of ground-nesting birds. They also take advantage of any fallen fruits or roots they can get their snouts on!

Domesticated Pigs vs. Wild Boars: Comparing Feeding Habits

If a domesticated pig were set free in the wild, it would need to get up to speed on all these things it once didn’t have to think about back on its home farm! But transitioning from being hand-fed by humans over many years to fending off in the wild should not be too big an ask!

Interestingly enough, all of this is no big deal for domesticated pigs either – while on-farm, they get full access to troughs bulging with prepared meals set out at regular feeding times by humans.

Modern Farm-Raised Pigs: What You Need to Know For Optimal Growth

When you have chosen the right pig breed for your farm, it is up to me to suggest setting up a healthy diet for them! All pigs need access to limited amounts of commercial free-choice feeds, but give careful thought over vitamins and minerals, too – now is no time to forget about essential supplements!

All essential nutrients need monitoring carefully at all times per batch of porkers for them to avoid malnutrition. Some signs of lack of nutritional balance include; Lack of appetite; Pale-colored gums; Sunken flanks; Brittle hair; Slow growth; Reproductive problems; Listlessness; Rough or bumpy coat, and ear/tail/feet/skin infections.

Tips on Making Sure Your Whole Herd Eats Well on the Farm

Remember always that once you have set up a good routine around feeding – it is up to you to keep up with the costs of all the commercial feed necessary per the whole herd, i.e., choose wisely! Keep supplying all the required vitamins and minerals across each entire herd’s meals regularly if you want to see maximum health results over the year! Never leave out check-up meals, either!

Building a Sustainable Pig Farm: Learn the Basics of Pig Housing & Fencing Requirements

Pigs Need to Be Free-Ranged Responsibly and With Protection

Although free-ranging of pigs is still practiced in some parts of the country, it can be impractical for most pig owners to let their livestock go off into the woods to forage for food. Pigs have been known to uproot whole gardens in their search for a snack, which can be bad for both the gardens and the pig. Furthermore, they need to be safeguarded from predators in most areas of America.

Keeping Your Pigs Stimulated is Essential to Avoid Troublesome Behavior

It is important to remember that pigs are intelligent animals and need something to keep them occupied. Allowing them to play with small hay bales is one good way of doing this, but keep in mind that it will take a little while before those bales start falling apart!

An alternate idea is to provide old tractor tires for your pigs to play on or around. Larger smooth rocks or tree stumps also make good playthings, like other natural items in their environment.

Safety Checks Should Be Carried Out Regularly in Play Areas

When it comes to playtime, it is essential to be aware that once your pigs get big enough, it can be easy for them to hurt themselves on any rough edges or nails sticking out of playthings like hay or old tractor tires. Checking these regularly is always a good idea to help keep your pigs safe.

Selecting the Right Pig Breeds for Raising Meat Pigs

Pigs have two defining features in common, no matter their breed: four legs and a snout for foraging. But the breeds of pigs can vary in size and climate resilience, so choosing the right one for your goals and the environment it will live in is important.

Choose Pigs by Needed Use

If you’re raising pigs for meat production, keep in mind that you need at least two to help keep each other company. So start with no more than three to get to know them better and avoid needlessly aggressive behavior. It is also best to choose breeds of pigs with calm dispositions to create an atmosphere of mutual respect on the farm.

Color of Pork & Meat-Production Breeds in North America

North America’s most commonly bred pork generally has a light-colored pigment, but this could change if you choose a breed small enough for show-ring use, like Duroc, Hampshire, Yorkshire, or Landrace, which all have origins all over Europe and Asia.

Making Sure to Look Into Climate-Hardiness for Different Pig Breeds

Depending on where your homestead is located (in extremely cold or hot climates), it is essential to look into what type of climate the pig breed can take before making a purchase. All breeds at Cackle Hatchery have all-natural traits that can fit your needs, no matter show-ring use or meat production!

Keeping Sows and Gilts

Many of the best farm-raised porkers come from litters of up to 13 piglets. However, it is a mistake to think that big litter sizes come naturally to sows and gilts; it is necessary to use well-chosen breeding stock to efficiently produce large litters of good-sized, uniform piglets at regular intervals throughout the year.

Sows typically begin their first heat cycle at around 7-8 months old and have heats about once every 18-24 days when they are not being bred; on the other hand, gilt start at 6-8 months old, but it is better to avoid all chance of premature breeding by waiting until after at least one estrus before doing so.

Methods of Keeping Sows and Gilts

Farmers have two main methods for keeping sows and gilts – in confinement in individual farrowing crates, group-penning on free-range pasture, or back-yard lots. Free-range pasturing is more labor-intensive as it necessitates making sure all of the sows in a litter go into heat at once for one boar to breed them quickly.

Keep in mind also that for three weeks before and after breeding, no contact should occur between the boar and any of the sows to prevent diseases from transferring. On the other hand, using individual farrowing crates can lessen these problems while keeping boars in seclusion for health considerations before they mate with any sows.

Using Quality Breeding Stock

Using purebred animals with known parentage can help you get an idea of what to expect from their offspring before they are bred; you can then choose to use only the best out of all young pigs for your herd’s improvement. 

Weaning Your Piglets

As the time to turn your piglets into delicious, juicy morsels of meat approaches, it’s time to start thinking about weaning them off of their mother’s milk and on to solid grub. Piglets can safely have their nursing cut off once they hit about 6 weeks old. But to keep them nice and healthy during this transition, there are a few things you need to have in check before you even begin the weaning process!

When it comes to weaning, all good hog owners use a gradual approach; your pigs must get all the necessary vitamins and minerals to live up to their full butchery potential! Get your supplies ready before starting – it’s a good technique for all non-human butchers!

It’s also essential to put your piglets into a small pen away from other animals when cutting off their mother’s milk; this will help keep stress levels down! Give out small helpings of solid feed several times over the first few days of weaning.

After you get through those first few days, start increasing the food portions but decreasing the number of meals! Look for any signs of stress in your porkers, like loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, sickly-looking skin, uncharacteristic aggression, and other atypical behavior. Call your veterinarian if you see anything wrong!

Feeding Techniques for Healthy Adult Pigs

Once it is clear that your piglets have successfully enrolled into hungry adult hogs, it is time to think about proper feeding for these full-grown animals. You want to make sure that all of the feed is free from contaminants like E-coli which can hurt or even kill your animals! Also, look into clean drinking water at all times – tap is no good for swine!

Think about investing in nutrient supplements like Wheat Bran or Molasses Meal; this help keeps their coats clean, reduces bad parasites like nose-worms, and gives them some getting energy while they eat mainly diets of grass. Consider giving out free-choice licks as rewards for good behavior – make sure NOT to overfeed! Avoid giving too much grain, as it can hurt digestion in adult pigs.

Using Hog Houses For Comfort And Health

With cold weather looming, it’s important to have comfortable hog houses for adults and piglets alike. Put hay down at all times – it is comfortable and helps keep warm in chillier climates! Also, use woodchips on the ground near any water sources to keep things sanitary in wet conditions. Try coating earthen floors in glossy paint or something slick like linoleum, so give yourself an easier job cleaning up all that dirty mud in breeding seasons!.

Making the Most Out of Pig Waste

It’s no Job for the Squeamish: A Look at Lagoons and Manure-Management Regulations.

Producing all sizes of pig waste is no job for those of a squeamish disposition! Lagoons are the most common way to deal with pig waste on small to mid-size farms, but it can get tougher in areas where land is at a premium – and lagoons may not be allowed. The complexities of related regulations can often create barriers that small operators have difficulty overcoming. All producers agree that it takes someone who can take on comfortable on the dirty job of manure removal daily!

Pigs Can Get Hungry for Strange Things!

Pigs show no pickiness towards their meals as other ruminant animals do; they will eat anything put before them! This means that much of what is put into their hungry mouths come in manure! Back-feeding practices (where pigs eat one another) are going down in the pork industry thanks to improved grain-based diets for swine-but it is still an accepted practice in some small-hold farms.

Old-School Meets New-Age: Waste Management Tools

Over the years, large-scale pork-producing companies have developed different methods to tackle pig waste management. But whatever the size of your farm operation, it’s worth taking note of both old-fashioned techniques like back-feeding and newer technology emerging in this field of expertise. Every good farmer knows it is about finding a balance between these two!

Manure Forks: Helping Get Rid of Everyday Waste on the Farm

Manure forks (also known as shovel scrapers or skid-loader buckets, depending on where one live) are one of the simplest go-to tools for everyday use when it comes to getting rid of pig waste on small to medium-sized farms. All you need to do is drop it into the pile at hand in the barns and use the fork to push it through for collection before dumping it into its correct place. Generally, farmers try and keep up on it before it gets away from them by using it once in the morning and once in the evening to ensure no mess is left unturned!

Harvesting Delicious Pork from your Home

Find the Right Plot of Land for Your Pigs

If you want to raise pigs for meat, it is easier than it is made out to be. All it takes is some knowledge and planning to make your venture successful. The first step is to look for an appropriate-sized plot of land to keep your pigs on. Most people say at least an acre of land is necessary for up to eight pigs, but it depends on the breed of pig and how much upkeep you plan on doing. Remember that overcrowded pens will lessen daily tasks, which is also not good for their health. All in all, giving your oinkers enough space to live in is ideal – no one likes to be cramped!

Where to Get Your Pigs

Once you have set up a secure plot of land for your pigs, it’s time to get the animals! These can come from local farmers or through auctions if need be. Ask around for reputable farms that care for their animals before purchasing. Also, when buying through auctions, consider how healthy-looking they appear and check their fat count! If they seem sickly in any way, avoid them, but also stay away from overly obese ones, as it could mean worse deals for you in the end.

What Food Should I Give My Pigs?

Feed for pigs can easily be purchased at feed mills and tractor stores like Walmart or another local store, so there is no need for special food! Give them lots of fresh vegetables like potatoes in moderation- overfeeding them can cause bloating, hurting the pig over time. Letting them eat anything pumpkins can help put on weight cheaply and give them something delicious to eat! Avoid corn at all costs as it does nothing but put on empty calories- bad for their overall health!

Raise Your Lively Oinkers into Big Old Porkers!

When it comes to raising small piglets into hearty porkers, think about providing some shelter to save them from bad weather conditions during frigid days, like sheds with windows letting in the fresh air- this also helps on hot days by allowing airflow while using fans can help keep them cool in stifling heat. Heating lamps during colder winter also help keep things comfortable when temperatures drop down low- use only common sense and avoid overusing electricity! format

The Impact of Butchering at Different Ages on Flavor and Tenderness

Regarding butchery, the age of your pig can have a significant impact on the quality of the flavor and tenderness of the meat. Butchery at six weeks of age will give you the most tender cuts, for instance, as the muscle is yet to be fully developed and is less demanding compared to butchery at older ages. Butchery at six months of age or more can give your pork fat a richer taste, as fat has had ample time to accumulate in this time frame.

Butchery at an intermediate age of three to five months can give you an exciting mix. On the one hand, it can give you more tender meat than butchered at six months or over. Still, on the other, it will have a different amount of tastiness in either its fat or meat as younger pigs can offer.

So What Does it All Mean in Practical Terms?

Ultimately, it all comes down to a trade-off between tenderness and flavor when it comes to choosing to butcher your pigs for consumption purposes; if you want better-tasting pork chops but also expect them to come off the bone quickly during cooking, go for butchery at about six weeks; if however, you want richer-tasting bacon but also hope it to take longer for it to cook through thoroughly, go for slaughter at about six months or over.

Managing Demand vs. Measure Feeding for Raising Pigs for Meat Farming

Introducing the Basics of Feeding Pigs at Each Stage

If you want to start raising pigs for meat farming but are still determining how to feed them in each growth stage, it can seem overwhelming to get started. But once you get a handle on demand-feeding, it’s easy to keep your pigs healthy and on track for butchering weight after about six months.

The general idea is to let pigs eat all they want of a mixed ration of starter, grower, and finisher in self-feeders in outdoor pens or big bunks or racks. Let’s take a look at what it takes to feed your piglets!

Feeding Your Piglets: Get Them off to a Good Start!

In the first two days after it is born, give your piglet some of its mother’s milk to give it the right start it needs to live in your care. During the initial two-week period, you must provide the piglet all of the colostrum it needs to help fight off diseases down the road. This also helps create natural immunity by providing all the proper nutrients in all the suitable measures to help it grow into a strong pig ready for butchering at just the right time for all of your favorite dishes.

Ensuring Access to Water and Food at All Times

Your pigs need access to clean water all throughout their life. Still, once they get old enough, it is good to give them water in one place daily for familiarity and ease for both of you. Also, remember that your pigs need food at all times and should have free access to all of their feed through self-feeders so they can eat as much as they want at any given moment.

Understanding Animal Deworming Commercial Products

When it comes to DIY natural/organic homesteading, it can be tricky to keep up with all of the topics to choose from for beginners. One of the more overlooked topics is deworming for your livestock, chickens, cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, etc. But there is also a range of commercial wormers on the market that can get expensive to use on your animals. Thankfully, you can make your own at-home wormer for a fraction of the cost and get good results in naturally keeping your critters worm free.

Spotting Unnatural Ingredients to Avoid in Wormers

Some ingredients to look out for in animal wormers can be bad for animals and humans. Fenbendazole is one of these, and it is banned in food animals in over 100 countries but is still used in the US and Canada.

It has also been linked to human cancer through studies on rats showing reduced fertility in males after receiving only 1/10th of the recommended dose for cattle. This can build up in your body over time when exposed to wrong contact methods, like by accident or carelessness.

Other harmful ingredients you should avoid include endosulfan, which has been known to cause disruption of hormones in animals, humans, and fish; has been found in drinking water in at least 22 US states; and has been linked to cancer in humans.

Using Natural Formulas at Home

If you want good results without these harmful commercial products, try using some natural formulas at home! All-encompassing combinations like garlic tea, long-term herbal formulas like wormwood and clove capsules, diatomaceous earth with sugar molasses makeup, or parsley oat-garlic mashes can help keep worms away over time. All these options can help keep your farm away from nasty chemicals while keeping your livestock healthy!

The Pros and Cons of Castrating Pigs for Meat Farming

We have to make tough decisions on our farm at the moment. We currently have four piglets and need to decide whether to castrate two before slaughter or keep all four and use two for breeding stock before putting them down at 12-18 months old.

Space & Number of Sows

Having enough space for all the sows is a big issue for us. We need to think about how many we want to keep, what it would take to keep that number comfortable for their entire lives, feed them all, get into the black numbers-wise financially on the farm, and also think about any other animals on the farm like cattle or chickens.

Keeping Boars

Though it’s technically an option to keep boars for free-ranging on large farms, our small free-range setup is only adequate for one boar at a time and all of them at a time. Not to mention their testicles can start to smell in high heaven! In this instance, it could be a better idea as they all have to go to slaughter at a certain weight anyway, which negates any chance of keeping one in such a small setup.

Castration Benefits

Castration can be quick and inexpensive, but it takes away any chance of testicular cancer in males and alleviates the idea of putting down both sexes at 12-18 months old anyway. All of our breeding stock get to live out their natural lives by allowing the chance for having intact females running around too.

Free-Range Males/Females

For us, it wouldn’t matter if we have free-roaming boys or girls due to the chance of them running wild no matter their gender. This also plays into our decision on whether to keep them for breeding or have them castrated at all.

Raising The Right Pig Breed for Meat Farming: How Breeds Matter

We get it, dog people – all dogs are great, but putting them all in the same category is wrong. The same applies to all livestock; there may be specific preferences on appearance but let’s keep in mind that these animals have unique histories and purposes for existing in the first place.

Bad-Tempered Cattle Also Exist

It can’t go unacknowledged that bad-tempered cattle also exist, and to think of all sheep as looking, acting, eating, and grazing in the same way, is wrong. Let’s give all of these animals the respect they deserve by at least acknowledging that their differences do, in fact, matter.

Cattle Sheed Goats & Horses Have Different Purposes & Breeds

For example, Angus cows have one purpose, Longhorn cows have another, and Hereford cows have another. Then there are dairy cows which need to also be considered when it comes to differences between breeds of cattle.

But this concept of respecting their differences applies to all farm animal breeds like chickens for instance or ducks for egg-laying purposes, not to mention pigs for use in meat farming!

Consider All Breeds of Livestock Alike

In the end, it is up to all of us to treat each of these breeds with an impartial eye and try our best to see value in each one of them no matter their size, look, or origin – all livestock deserves to be recognized for what it is! in this style.

Raising Pigs for Meat Farming: Is Hiring a Butcher the Right Choice for You?

Considering Butcher Shop Options for Your Pig Butchery Needs

When it comes to butchering pigs at home or at a butchery of your choosing, it can seem daunting for those who are not accustomed to it. To make sure you have the right set up for butchering at home or at a butchery of your choosing, take the time to call around to at least three different butchers in your area to see who can do it, at what price and ask if they specialize in pork butchery on-site.

Research State Laws on Butchering Livestock at Home

Suppose you want to go through with butchering at home. In that case, there is, of course, the option to look into laws in your state about the legal matters of conducting such butchering on-site in terms of livestock, which can be found on your state’s Department of Agriculture website.

What to Keep in Mind When Freezing Pork for Butchring

Post-butchering, it is also good to keep in mind common ways to freeze pork for use all year-long – though it is also essential to take extra care in preservation as improper freezing can ruin the sound quality of meat.

Tips for DIY Butchering at Home for the First Time

For all first-time DIY butchers out there on their own, the following tips can help ease stress by knowing what to expect before even getting into it:

  • Check into all up-to-date laws on butchering at home before starting.
  • Start by knowing precisely what cut(s) of meat you want/need before beginning (ex., shoulder butchering).
  • Take all necessary industrial-grade safety measures like gloves and eye protection before starting.
  • Have all the right tools like trimmers, boning knives, saws, etc.
  • Take small breaks throughout the butchering process to keep calm and relaxed.
  • Keep all necessary parts of meat frozen so no germs contaminate them.

Are Some Pigs Too Cute to Become Bacon?

Raising Pigs for Meat Farming: Pros & Cons of Turning Adorable Piggies into Bacon

The Struggle for Survival of the Species

Most animals have the instinct to avoid death at all costs by trying to run away, but for pigs, it really does matter to them if they get to live or die. This is due to their strong emotional bond, as pigs seem to have much more human-like characteristics in comparison to other types of livestock. It is inhumane to take away their right to live freely like any other animal on this planet.

What it All Comes Down To

At the end of the day, it is up to people to care for all of the pigs in the world and give them a chance to live by considering their lives have worth and value. We all need to take a step back and think about it for a second; put ourselves in their shoes and imagine having to get killed and eaten by humans with no way out. Ask yourself at that moment if it is right for us to take away their right to free-lively existence?

The Pros of Pig Farming for Meat Production

Pigs have seen tremendous growth in terms of how efficiently they can provide agricultural products like pork, bacon, and ham on an industrial level, as they have become one of the most efficient types of livestock farms on small plots of land. For farmers all over the world, raising pigs can be incredibly profitable when done right and at a minimal cost.

The Cons of Pig Farming for Meat Production

While it is understandable why small-scale farmers choose pigs for meat production over other types of livestock, the cons associated with this type of farming cannot be ignored either. Firstly, when done unethically, hogs do release massive amounts of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere; worse still, male piglets are vaccinated through nose-rings before being sent off for slaughter before reaching full-age maturity. Finally, pig remains also generate more waste compared with other food production processes in factory farms.

Raising Pigs for Meat Farming Can Quickly Devour Your Budget!

Why People Used to Let Their Pigs Run Wild in the Woods

It’s said that in the 1800s, people let their pigs roam free in the woods. Once winter set in, neighbors would get together for a “drive” to round up all the free-roaming hogs they let out over the summer. All of these pigs, once caught, would be butchered at once to have enough meat for all throughout winter.

The Impressive Need for Collaboration

What’s amazing about this is all of these individuals gather together to share and help each other out in catching all of their free-range hogs and ultimately to have enough meat for all of them to have meals through an entire winter. All these animals running away in all different directions at once is also quite impressive!

Using Pork from Wild Hogs over Domesticated On-Site Agriculture

Nowadays, it’d be a whole lot easier to get all of our pork from wild hogs- but it goes without saying that thorough research is needed before doing so! But in general, it really can put into perspective how helpful old-fashioned collaboration can be for sustaining all of us through tough times.


All in all, raising pigs for meat can be a rewarding experience. But it also requires a lot of planning to get it right. From selecting the right breeds of pigs to feeding them regularly and giving them enough housing, it is important to put in the necessary effort to make sure that your farm is functioning at its best. At the end of the day, all this hard work is worth it when you see the delicious end product on your dinner table!

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