How to select pigs for meat or as pets
As it happens in nearly all livestock categories, selecting an animal is not an easy task. It requires research and time. You should never trust unknown sellers that “just want to get rid of their pigs today, because they are moving abroad tomorrow morning”. Most probably, those pigs are suffering from a disease (e.g. erysipelas) and they can infect your whole farm, costing you a fortune at the end of the day. You must always choose legitimate sellers or breeders that have strong reputation in consistently raising healthy and thriving piglets. Keep in mind that if you want to sell your meat through local shops (butcher shops) or if you want to breed pigs and sell the piglets for living, you will probably asked to prove the pedigree of your pigs through official papers. Thus, always ask for as many documents associated with your pigs as possible.
We never buy piglets younger than 6 weeks old, because they still depend on their mother. A good season to buy our 7-10 weeks piglets is June-August. In that case, they will be old enough (4-6 months old) when the first winter frost appears. Generally, crossbreds grow faster and are more efficient than purebreds. The average crossbred piglet costs 60$.
The quickest and easiest way to check if the pigs you are about to buy are healthy is offering them some food. A healthy pig will run with enthusiasm to eat the food, while a lazy pig ignoring food is a first sign that something goes wrong. However, this does not guarantee the health your pigs. The coat and the eyes of the pig can tell a lot about its health and well-being, but someone needs to have a lot of experience in order to come to a safe conclusion. Thus, you are advised to visit the pig seller’s farm with an experienced pig farmer.
Meat Pig Breeds
The average meat pig weighs 50 lbs. (22 kg) being 7 weeks old and will have a weight of 230 lbs. (100 kg) being 20 weeks old. However, these figures apply to established pig farms managed from experienced (some of them 3rd or 4th generation) pig farmers, who offer their pigs feed rich in proteins. Thus, do not get disappointed if you are a new pig farmer and you cannot stick to these figures. The second and third year you will surely improve.
Berkshire, Yorkshire, Poland China and Chester White are famous meat pig breeds that can thrive in an average environment.
Selecting Pet Pig
If you want to raise pigs as pets, consider purchasing miniature pig breeds. They require much less food and thus they produce much less waste. Again, buying such a pig requires a lot of research, because the market of miniature pigs is not the most transparent and honest in the world. Keep in mind that some irresponsible sellers or owners may try to sell or give you for free a piglet weighing 3 lbs. (1,5 kg) as miniature, and after some time this pig may weigh 500 pounds (227 kg). Read a related story.
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3.) Selecting Pigs
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