We recently bought a bred AGH sow and she is so far above our expectations. We had built a long hoop house for her with extensions at both sides of her pen out of cattle panel trellises arched to make them predator proof so she would be safe. However, planned to turn her out a little if she appeared to be willing to “stay at home” and not try to get out as our perimeter fences are not pig proof. Now we just go out and open her gate every morning and shut up at night so she is safe from coyotes. She never wanders far and comes when we call her or if she sees us.
She was raised in an environment with no green forage and in a small paddock and given pig pellets as ration. She didn’t know what pasture was for, and these are supposed to be foraging/grazing pigs. I started with dipping grasses and clover into yogurt which she loved and then smeared some on the pasture. Now she herds with the goats and eats with them and forages just great. I’m definitely impressed. Also, her demeanor is so meek and gentle. You approach her and touch her side and she rolls over for a belly rub. She follows us around like a puppy and lies down with the dog for naps. We just love having her here.
When my husband was barely a teenager his parents had a dairy farm they had just bought. But it came with about 10 mature brood sows (don’t know the breed, but they were a large mix), and 10 young sows. His math teacher suggested they could make more money with pigs than with cows. He did the math and sure enough, looked good on paper. That same year milk prices bottomed out and they could not sell milk for enough to pay for the grain they bought, not to mention all the labor growing and putting up hay and the grain they did grow. Horses were becoming optional, as they had always used them for plowing. Sold the horses, turned the horse paddocks into farrowing stalls (winter pigs because they bred too late the first year). The milk got turned into clabbered milk and fed to pigs and when they took that load to market (about a 100 feeder pigs) when people found out they were milk fed, brought 4 x the regular price. His parents paid off the farm in three or four years, totally, from money made from the pigs, but of course, the milk was a big input too, so the cows indirectly contributed too. He ended up managing the farm at age 14, still going to school and working part time at another job after school, while his father was away in town at his “paid” job. I’m so very proud of him. He’s 79 and still working as hard as ever.