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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would it be stupid to have a pet sow but to breed her? My dad said I could have a pig a long as i showed it and earned its keep. I was thinking instead of a feeder hog because I tend to get quite attached to my animals I could have a sow that is used for breeding and sell the piglets to 4hers amd such.. Is this a stupid idea?
 

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If that is what you want to do, I don't see a problem. Not sure what their temperament is when pregnant or nursing babies.
 

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Hmm. Tough question.
You can have a pet sow, but it takes 6lbs of feed a day to just maintain them when they are full grown, and when they have a litter they eat about 12lbs a day, plus all the piglets eat (average litter size is 8-12 and they gone up to 16 in my herd). So when they are 2 weeks old, you might be going through 20-25lbs of feed a day.
Newborn piglets need a heat sorce until they are about 5-6 weeks old.
Plus if they are going to be 4-H and FFA market hogs, then you would have to vaccinate, give them iron boosters, tail clip, ear notch, and clip the needle teeth on all of them, and castrate all the males (which has to be done surgically).
And sows with a litter can be extremely protective and even aggressive.

You need really strong fences to keep them in. My sows on average are 500-600lbs at a year and a half to two years old.

Boar service is around $50-100.
 

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pigs - just like goats do not do well alone. If there are no other pigs around she would not do as well as if she had a companion. If you research the breeds you can pick a more gentle breed that is easier to work with- not all sows are aggressive. Also we raise ours outside and therefore do not need iron shots. We don't dock tails, trim teeth or notch ears in our feeders. Castrating is easily learned- find an old hog farmer to show you how a few times. Soon all you will need is someone to hold the pig while you do it. Swine AI is quite easily accomplished and there are a few very informative youtube videos. If you are not looking at a huge fancy name registered boar it is also inexpensive. There will always be problems- and yes you do need heavy duty fences and a warm dry place for her to have her pigs. Good Luck and let us know what you decide
 

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True^ piglets will not need iron shots if the sow was in a dirt pen while pregnant.

Clipping the needle teeth is better for the piglets and the sow. The teeth are called needle teeth because they are incredibly sharp and can really mess up their tongues and the sows teats (making her not want to nurse them and prone to infection if the teeth cut her udder)

The ears have to be notched for market hogs, and tails are preferred to be clipped.

Clipping the tail is for show preference and to prevent tail biting at a young age.

Hampshires have been the most protective and aggressive about their piglets in my experience, Yorkshires are the niceset IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is it possible she will be going through less feed if on pasture? I understand that they are pigs and yes they need a lot of food to sustain themselves but do they really need that much if raised on pasture. IMO thats just not natural for them to eat just human made food specifically for pigs. I think they need a variety. And I have thought about miniature pot belly pigs but the start off price for good ones around here are pretty high. Plus there are more and more people wanting them but not keeping them because they realise what they have gotten into and dump them at shelters and such.
 

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Hmm. Tough question.
You can have a pet sow, but it takes 6lbs of feed a day to just maintain them when they are full grown, and when they have a litter they eat about 12lbs a day, plus all the piglets eat (average litter size is 8-12 and they gone up to 16 in my herd). So when they are 2 weeks old, you might be going through 20-25lbs of feed a day.
Newborn piglets need a heat sorce until they are about 5-6 weeks old.
Plus if they are going to be 4-H and FFA market hogs, then you would have to vaccinate, give them iron boosters, tail clip, ear notch, and clip the needle teeth on all of them, and castrate all the males (which has to be done surgically).
And sows with a litter can be extremely protective and even aggressive.

You need really strong fences to keep them in. My sows on average are 500-600lbs at a year and a half to two years old.

Boar service is around $50-100.
I'm never getting pigs. LOL
 

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There are many things that hogs can eat to lessen the amount of "manufactured feed" needed. We get the unsalable produce from our local grocery store and feed it to our sows- somedays there is not a lot and somedays there is more than our sows can eat. Look into things like this. The grocery store is HAPPY that we come and get the scrap from them as it lessens their dumpster bill and they know it is not a total waste. We also give our sows hay or straw and they eat both readily. Our sows are maintained on 4 pounds of 16% protein a day with the use of the produce or the hay. When I don't have scrap produce I give them low quality hay that I can not use for the goats. Pigs can eat pretty much anything- bakery left overs, salad bar left overs ( I do not recommend feeding meat scraps to them), the by products from wineries. There are heritage breeds of hogs that are extremely good mothers and their piglets fetch a good price.
 

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Agreed on the meat, never, ever, ever give meat scraps unless they are very well cooked!

Grocery store leftovers are fantastic, mine quit letting people pick it up though, to many laws and issues. But if your grocery store lets you pick it up that is great. Check the restaurants too.
 

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Keep in mind the size and temperment. These yorkshire, hampshire, landrace and duroc sows can easily reach 500lbs fully grown. While they are usally gentle when they have babies and are in heat they tend to be moody. So be careful then. The boars are very unpredictable so if yoy ever get one be sure to use extreme caution with him.

The other thing is cost which like anything you just need to research rations and see what would work for you. Supplemental scraps will help like others have mentioned but no meat.... pigs, in my opinion, shouldn't have meat even if they will eat it.

I personally love pigs- they're smart, personable and very sweet when they want to be. On the other hand they're big, stubborn and quite strong willed at times. You have to be patient with them
 

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Are you wanting to get a pig to show in 4-H/FFA, then after showing keep her to raise new project pigs from? I did that one year with one of my pigs. I bought two gilts as weaners, raised them to market size, showed them. One made it in to the sale so she was sold and I kept the other. She was AI'd in the summer time and had pigs born at the right time to be fair pigs. Sold all but two for me to show. When I lived in AZ, show piglets sold for $100 and up depending on breed and quality, so if your sow has 8 or more pigs and you sell all of them that is $800 for pigs assuming they all make it to weaning size.

My pig was very tame and very gentle even when she had her piglets. The only time she acted aggressive was when we were clipping the teeth and when we cut and notched the pigs, naturally piglets scream when you pick them up and she did not want us hurting her pigs. We always notched the ears, for show when you enter them they have to have ear notches as permanent ID for that pig along with a premise ID tag. All of the pigs I raised were very tame and friendly, they would lay down if you rubbed their belly and as long as you kept rubbing them you could clip them laying down. lol I always had Durocs they seem to have the better temperaments of the main show breeds. At the shows it seems like the Yorks and Hamps are always needing to be broken up in the ring (they get into fights). At the shows there are always several adults in the ring with boards, when the pigs start fighting, you just holler "FIGHT" and they run over and stick a board between them so no one gets hurt.

I would look into some of the heritage breeds like Herefords and Red Wattle Hogs (I think they are pretty cool, they have little wattles! lol). They are all very nice pigs, they can be raised for show, but also have a pretty good market as a breeding hog. One thing to remember when looking at pigs is PSS or Porcine Stress Syndrome. This can cause sudden death in pigs that are stressed or over exercised. It is genetic and can be tested for.

As far as feeding them, I've always fed them pig feed and some hay once or twice a week. Since I have a lot of it, they also get goat milk. Pigs love to root around in the ground and will usually make a mud hole to cool off in. Pigs can not sweat, so if you have them in the summer, make sure they have plenty of shade and a way to cool themselves. Pigs do fine by themselves, but do like to have friends. I have read it is not good to feed pigs raw potatoes.

Pigs do have very sharp teeth, even with the needle teeth removed, so do be very careful when you are around them that your hand doesn't accidentally end up in their mouth.
 

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Chester whites are nice with babies. When they castrate them if they're under 50 they just do it with a blade. You could get someone out from the vet or a local pig farmer to do it for you. I've seen it many times, quick and easy
 
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