The piglets should be ready for pick up in about 4 weeks. I'm so excited!
so far we ( by we, I mean my Husband) have built a 16' by 12' pen out of free pallets. We also built a little hog house and as per suggestions we put one strand of hot wire inside the pig pen at about 6". The little hog house is not wired.
.Inside the pig pen is a few ornamental shrubs. Dwarf korean lilac, rose of sharon, quince, spirea, a wiegela, a small mulberry sapping, taxus yew, blue rug juniper and a euonymus. and a bunch of weeds. I'm only planning to keep them in this tiny area until the piglets realize we are not monsters. We have two other areas designated to pasture them.
I'm thinking they will be in the starter pen for about one month.
I'm hoping that is long enough for 3 piglets to kill all of those shrubs. I want to turn that area into an herb garden, and I'm too lazy to dig out the shrubs. I should note that I grew most of them from cuttings a few years back, and have more shrubs than I can possible need. The soil is great but only a few inches deep, then it's shale. If you've never dealt with shale, let me tell you... it's extremely hard to dig. I'd rather "hire" piglets to do the dirty work.
Hopefully none of these shrubs are toxic. And that pigs can taste a poisonous plant and not eat it.
I have a water nipple and a 5 gallon bucket to water them, and haven't found a trough yet. My husband wants to cut a 55gallon pail in half lenght wise, but I don't think we'll need any thing that big yet.
We also have a bail of straw for inside their house. so they don't have to sleep on the dirt.We are also going to use a little plastic kiddy pool as their wallow.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of things. Any advise or good "cheap" ideas ?
How exciting Laura! I hear pigs are so much fun to raise. I don't have any advice on the topic myself, but will be sharing a link to this thread on our Facebook account, so hopefully you'll get some great advice soon!
Hi Laura; Welcome to the world of piggys ! Oh and permies as well ! I have been raising wieners to butcher for ten years now. Yes they are personable animals ,You will quickly think of them as a pet. Very intelligent, experts at eating sleeping ,pooping ,oh and rooting-rolling under fences. I have not used a hot wire (off grid , no power at pig house) So after capturing a few escapees, I discovered used metal roofing! Readily available, generally free, A 1 ft or more deep trench with the roofing horizontal and then your hog wire and NO piggy will get loose. Unless your wieners are very small you will be amazed how well adjusted they will be after one night in their new home. For watering rather than a nipple on a 5 gal pail (they will knock over your pail quickly) I recommend a 14" round low rubber horse bin , easily available at a farm store. They will stand in it, bite it and knock this upside down as well so checking their water is a repeat chore during the day. I wire the water tray off to a wall to keep it in one location. Locate and purchase a pig feed bin if you are feeding grain , attach this to a wall as well, they will knock it over also . Very Important, you should locate & purchase a 50# sack of food grade Diamatatious earth also at farm store. Mix 2% into their grain , this will eliminate parasites in their system as well as keep the poop smell at a livable level. Keep a scoop in the sack and sprinkling it over all poop piles will also kill any fly eggs that are trying to hatch , and continue to keep the smell down. If you are really lucky you may locate a neighbor who has milk cows... PIGS LOVE SPOILED MILK !!! Most people milking have waste that they have to dump , buddy up to them and you may find yourself hauling home free spoiled milk. A used horizontal air compressor tank with feet, cut length wise makes a handy bowl to pour treats into. Avoid meat products... only feed them grain and veggies... they will eat enough (good meat) with worms & grubs from rooting. Try to avoid growth hormone in bagged food , look for a local farmer you can buy your grain from direct. I buy 1000# per pig of grain with only the necessary minerals added . When the food is almost gone piggys are ready to visit the butcher. As one poster mentioned , pigs will bite, and after a few months they are big enough to knock you down...so always BE AWARE ! As far as letting the piggys wander.... I don,t recommend it . Would be like trying to herd cats ! Nothing wrong with raising (barrows) cut boys, as mentioned, either sex can be aggressive , a sow with a litter being the most dangerous. I find that the boys end up a small amount larger when weighed at the butcher. Good luck with your new venture ! Once you eat home grown natural pork you will not be able to eat the drugged up genetically modified (meat ) that they sell in the stores. I should mention that the reason we started raising our own piggys , was my wife could not eat hormone filled pork ... got sick feeling every time... as a test we bought a package of very expensive organic pork chops and AMAZINGLY ENOUGH without all the commercial additives she just licked her lips and said , get to work we are going to start raising our own pork from now on ! Best thing we ever did!!!
Laura Stevens, I just took my first pigs to slaughter. I put them in the garden over the winter. It was new ground and they rooted up roots, briars, and glass shards from previous old burn pile. They turned the soil over for me, dug moon craters and fertilized it for me. Your pigs will definitely dig up the unwanted shrubs for you. Only one thing, I believe the yew is very poisonous, maybe you would be best to dig it out yourself.
thanks Dana, I thought for sure you were mistaken because the deer used to eat it . So I googled it and unfortunately for me you're right!
I hope those stupid deer got a huge belly ache. lol
I'm going to hack it to the ground and put rock on it. Hopefully that will be their bathroom area.