A person I know from town has a piglet, but the person who was going to raise it for her no longer has the space to keep it for the season. I was asked if I would be willing to take the piglet for the season and care for it until her butcher was ready to take it. I'm trying to think of a fair deal that makes this worth my while. I'm terribly, horribly, bad with pricing anything. So I need some help.
I have kept pigs for a couple years now. I just got through my first over wintering of two from last years batch of six. Now they will be out on pasture til the weather cools and then I'll top off the freezer with some nice big cuts. So at this point I'm pretty comfortable with pigs and feel like I've got my shit mostly together with the pasture, fences, housing and all that jazz.
Back to the original point: This woman wants me to care for her pig until fall when her butcher will come to get it.
What is a fair deal for me in all of this? I'll basically be paddock shifting one piglet and watering it for a season. I thought that I would ask her to provide all of the other feed so that expense is on her. But what should I reasonably expect to get out of such a deal? Aside from pig shit, tilling and the permaculture wonderfulness that is.
One option is see how much a live, raised to your specs, pig costs - then start subtracting costs..... piglet, feed, time, a vet bill when something goes wrong. With only one pig, those costs per animal will be pretty significant.
Caring for animals is a lot of work - and should not be under valued IMO.
Having animals on ones land does bring some value, as you mention, however I would not consider this in lieu of pay, or even as part of my pay.
Buying animals and having them butchered are expenses to be considered, but one has to add to that the cost of raising which most of us raising meat for ourselves don't figure in.
So I would call a couple butchery shops in your area and ask about what pork is selling for per pound of hanging weight, then ask how much the cut, smoke and wrap costs for a whole hog run.
Check out Craig's List for piglet prices, and whole hog meat sales.
Now you can do the math and determine what farmers are selling whole and half hogs for in your area at this time (when they do the raising). Prices for naturally raised meats greatly increase accordingly.
What is the agreement if something negative happens....
...the pig dies
...the pig gets sick
...the pig becomes a nuisance (you could acquire a new neighbor who objects to the pig)(the pig could become too aggressive for you to want to keep)
...the pig become an escape artist
...you become sick or injured and can no longer care for the pig
...a personal or family situation occurs where you no longer wish to keep the pig
...you get out of farming and want to get rid of the pig ASAP
...something comes up and you have to move
...the pig escapes and damages neighbors' property
...the pig escapes and is causes an automobile accident where there is car damage and/or personal injury
...the pig bites someone
...the pig gets stolen
..an animal right activist lodges a complaint against your pig set-up and the pig gets confiscated.
...the owner decides to take back the pig early
...the butcher won't come for the pig, or is no longer in business
...the owner isn't happy with the way the carcass turned out
Personally I have raised other people's livestock before, but I have always legally transferred ownership to myself. The agreement is that , in lieu of a up front purchase price, they get back a percentage of the carcass IF the animal lives long enough to be slaughtered and is successfully butchered. Zero if something happens where it dies, gets stolen, is lost, whatever. We both loose then. Our agreement covers all the bases.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
I figure that to get pork to fork costs about
10% Other such as infrastructure, etc
The rest is profit. (Yes, do the math. )
The way I make money on that is by doing each of these things myself as much as possible. Raising the piglets means I keep that 30%. Raising the feed or finding it means I keep part or all of the feed 30%. Doing the processing lets me keep that. Even with doing each step there are still some costs.
$200 for a feeder boar weaner piglet
$675 for a finished pig ($3.75/lbs @ 180 lbs)
Processing is additional.
Thus if they're supplying the piglet you might figure that the raising is worth ($675-$200)/6months = $80/month
Caveat: I'm raising about 400 pigs out on pasture so I am already doing the work and have the infrastructure in place - the economies of scale. This makes the $80/month work. Just doing one pig would be much more expensive since it would take a lot of time to do one pig. Fortunately, doing four pigs vs five pigs is not that different. It quickly scales. In between those numbers probably the answer.