Pig Raising 101: A Complete Guide To Pig Farming

Do you know an average pig farmer is generating a net profit of around $100 to $500 from one pig in 6 months? Surprised? Yes, it’s that profitable. Whether you are raising pigs out of admiration or solely for profit, it’s rewarding in all senses. No doubt, raising a pig is a little tricky but it’s more economical than the other livestock options.

A lot of my readers who are considering this profitable option must be asking “why should I start pig farming?” And other similar basic questions. Well, you should start pig farming because it requires a little investment and credits your bank account with a noticeable amount of money each year. Their upkeep cost is lower and they are ready for the world much earlier than the other livestock options. 

Pig farmers mostly earn from selling meat(both in the processed and unprocessed form), selling newborn pigs, and pigs manure. But the profit is mainly derived from meat. 

To be successful, one must need to know how to start, manage, and keep the farming running on a strong footing.

Since more animal admirers are interested in becoming a proud pig farmer we decided to enlighten our readers with a detailed guide. 

In this article, we would be discussing how can you start pig farming? How would you raise pigs? How can you generate more profit from pig farming? The impact of pig farming on the environment, And everything you need to know about pig farming.

How can you start pig farming?

Before discussing how you can start pig farming you need to know that pigs are more sensitive than most of the livestock options and they require special care and high-level management to get you something in return. 

To start pig farming you need to have adequate space, basic accessories, and some money in hand to buy feed and get them access to clean water. To simplify it for you, we have broken down the whole process into a few easy-to-follow steps. 

Select the type of farming

There are two types of pig farming; intensive and extensive. In intensive pig farming, pigs are kept and raised in a small housing system whereas, in free-range or extensive farming, pigs are raised at fields where oats, barley, Lucerne, or grass are grown. So, select the type of farming that suits you. Once you are sure of what you can afford it’s time to move ahead.

Draft a plan on paper

The first step towards pig farming is drafting a plan on paper. Since it’s a big step forward, you must be clear first which pig breed is going to rock your farm, whether you would be breeding or not? How would you be earning from them? How would you feed them? And how would you protect them from the weather?, Etc. Now note everything down and develop a detailed plan or get the plan developed from a professional. 

Arrange necessary capital

Once you have planned everything out on paper, arrange the necessary capital to build housing/prepare the field, hire helpers, get the hogs, feed, accessories.

You can take the exact idea of the capital requirement from the existing hog farm owner. So, get the idea and move ahead.

Build housing or prepare fields

As you have got the capital, it’s time to spend some of it on pig housing or preparing fields. The shelter should protect the poor little fella from extreme weather conditions.

Make sure you are building the rest and feed area separately as it makes the cleaning much easier. The pig pen should be durable enough to not get affected by pig abuse.

Get the basic accessories

Now that you are done with the shelter, you can order the necessities. You would be needing a feeder, waterer, feed storage container, odor eliminator, and the first aid kit, etc.

Starting a business from scratch is always hard so it’s okay if you can not afford luxuries at this point. 

These above-mentioned accessories are enough to kick start the operations. It’s better to take the necessities only as you still have to get the hogs for your farms.

Get the hogs

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You have got the farm ready; it’s the need of the hour to invest in the most profitable hog breed. As per the experts, starting with 250 sows is economical. Yorkshire, Landrace, and Berkshire are considered the most profitable breeds for pig farming. Since you have been living and breathing with hogs from now on select the breed that you find suitable. 

Hire helpers

An individual can’t run an entire pig farm. So consider hiring helpers. Two or three helpers would be enough to keep the operations running smoothly. It would be great if you can find experienced helpers for this job.

There, you have your dream farm ready to reward you. Before moving ahead, I would like to bless your eyes with the good news that this is the best time to invest in pig farming.

In ideal weather and growing conditions, the pig can grow 250 pounds in just 100 days. Pigs grow well in warmer weather so starting a pig farm in early spring would help you reap more benefits. It’s easier to start a pig farm if you have got enough capital but raising pigs is the trickiest part. 

How to raise pigs?

According to the Canadian Veterinary Journal, Pigs grow faster than most livestock. Pigs are ready to be traded when they reach 5 to 6 months of their age. For these five to six months, you have to keep these little fellas under intensive care. To raise them the right you have to follow these rules;

Give easy access to feed and water

Pigs aren’t hardy so they must have easy access to feed and water. A baby pig can easily drink 0.5 gallons of water whereas fully mature pigs need at least 1 gallon of clean water every day.

Drinking adequate water every day would help in keeping metabolic function, milk production, and reproduction functions healthy. Moreover, water is also needed to keep the movement of nutrients throughout the body intact. 

As per the general rule, pigs need 6 to 8 pounds of feed every day to grow and live a balanced life. Pigs appreciate eating scraps, it is also suggested to offer scraps once in a while. So, if you want your pigs to grow into fine healthy animals you must be supplying the feed and water as per the requirements.

It’s also important to choose the right feed. Their feed should contain a noticeable amount of protein. Since you are going to raise the entire farm on this feed, make sure the feed is healthy and affordable.

Keep the rest and feed area clean

Pigs are super messy. They don’t mind eating spoiled or rotten food scraps. Some farmers even have complained that they have to get their farms cleaned twice a day. To raise a healthy animal, you must keep the rest and feed area clean, safe, and healthy. 

Protect the pigs against internal parasites

Pigs wherever they are raised, whatever purpose they are being raised for, get infected by internal parasites. Internal parasites do not just infect pigs but other livestock as well. Internal parasites are mostly handled with pasture management or anthelmintics.

To raise healthy pigs, it’s important to protect the farm pigs from internal parasites. Vets usually suggest anthelmintic treatment every four weeks to prevent this deadly parasite from taking the animal down.  

Stay alert

Pigs are generally quite aggressive; they do not come to terms with humans and other animals easily.

Pigs attack humans and have been recorded to eat humans as well. No one on the farm can get loosened up, especially when you have been surrounded by so many pigs.

Keep snorting boards to prevent pig attacks. Stay alert even when the water is calm to prevent the attack from happening in the first place.

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How can you generate more profit from pig farming?

Once your pigs reach a certain age, generating profit from them becomes your concern. As mentioned above, you can make money from pig farming in many ways by selling pigs, skin, meat, and manure. Let’s discuss how can you generate more profit from 

Selling piglets or fully grown pigs

You need to know that piglets and fully grown pigs are both equally in demand. Piglets are mostly bought to raise as pets where fully grown pigs can only be demanded to slaughter because they are dangerous to keep otherwise.

The pig farmer can offer both piglets and fully grown pigs to generate more money from pig farming. It’s more profitable to sell fully grown pigs because their upkeep cost is noticeably lower and they don’t take years to grow.

If you are interested in making more money from pig farming, offer the pigs for sale only when they are at least five to six months. 

Selling meat

You can also generate profit from selling pig meat but to make money from selling meat you need to have a slaughtering unit.

Pig meat can be sold in processed and unprocessed forms. The answer to the question, what’s more profitable, selling processed or unprocessed pig meat? can only be taken from the management accountant.

The management account would take in the regular costs, the regular profit, and the further cost of processing and profit from selling processed meat, and judge what’s more profitable for you. 

Selling manure

Pig manure is in great demand because of it’s rewarding nature. Pig manure is demanded by the gardeners because it is enriched in calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, copper, boron, and iron, chlorine.

It is being used on a large scale to give the lawns and gardens a healthy boost. A single pig can produce 1.3 gallons of pig manure in one day. If one pig can produce approximately 39 gallons a month imagine how much pig manure your farm pigs would be producing. It is therefore recommended to sell the pig manure to generate more revenues from pig farming. 

Selling skin

A lot of you might not know the advanced pig farmers make money from selling pigskin as well. The pigskin is in demand because it is used as a protective wound covering and for treating severe burns.

Pigskin is also desired to make work gloves, wallets, shoes, and bags. The famous brand called “Louis Vuitton” is popular for selling pigskin leather handbags.

The impact of pig farming on the environment

Pig farming leaves both positive and negative impacts on the environment. The negative impacts can be minimized to a great extent by simply following the golden principles of pig farming. Intensive farming is a bit toxic for the environment but extensive pig farming is rewarding. It helps in managing the ecosystem and maintaining biodiversity. 

Pig farming, whether it’s intensive or extensive, causes less damage to the environment than agriculture. As per the data released by the American Farm Bureau, around 9.0 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture whereas, pig farming pollutes the with less than 0.3 percent greenhouse gas emission.

We all know what role plants and trees play in maintaining a healthy environment. Pigs contribute to the planet earth’s health unknowingly.

As in extensive farming, they roam around dispersing seeds, making conditions for new plants to grow. Moreover, The one most obvious advantage of pig farming is that it blesses us with highly nutritional meat. 

With all the goods pig farming has it’s bads as well. It’s not just the pig feces and wastes that pollute the surroundings there are some other threats as well.

Excessive pig farming releases nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment that pollutes our air, water and leads to algae overgrowth. Excessive nitrogen in the environment can impact our visibility and breathability. 

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Everything you need to know about pig farming

Frankly, that’s going to be a detailed discussion as there is a lot you still need to know about pig farming. 

Pigs can not be kept with any other animal

Pigs can not be kept with any other farm animal not just because they are aggressive but also because they have a high sex drive. Keeping or mixing pigs with farm animals(goats, sheep, donkeys, etc) would simply be an invitation to trouble.

Dogs and pigs never do well because dogs are predators and the latter species is a prey animal. However, if you can keep the farm animals to their defined places, you can run a multi-animal farm successfully.

Pigs farms should be located far away from the densely populated areas

Pigs stink! Even one pig is enough to give you a headache. Imagine how the environment of the pig farm would be. Fortunately, humans have come up with a solution, pig odor eliminators are usually used at the farms to make the environment breathable. The pig farms must still be located far away because pig feces and wastes pollute the surroundings.

Extensive pig farming is far less damaging

In intensive pig farming, several hundred hogs are confined to small spaces. The pigs in this system of farming would only be polluting the environment.

Extensive farming, which is usually not adopted because of the space it requires, is far less damaging. It encourages plant growth and does not pollute the environment that heavily.

You can breed the pigs or choose to increase the population another way, it’s totally up to you!

Pig farms can be grown with or without breeding. Breeding pigs on farms is economical than buying and raising piglets to sell in the market.

If you are ready to take the breeding responsibility, you can choose to breed but if you are raising pigs for meat then buying and raising piglets is more feasible.

The pigs that are solely raised for meat can not be bred. These pigs are castrated to obtain the delicious meat. The farmers that are raising pigs for meat have no other option than choosing to buy and raise piglets. Whereas, the pig farms that are made for no specific reason can choose to or not breed pigs.

Pigs are not hardy at all

Pigs appear strong but they are not hardy at all. If good food, water, and suitable housing can boost their health then it can affect them adversely as well.

Keeping and raising pigs is a huge responsibility, they must be entertained with nutritional food, clean water, and pig-friendly housing to generate more profit. Poor management, lack of food, water, and inappropriate housing can not affect one or two pigs but will destroy the entire farming enterprise.

Do not invest in poorly bred pigs

Since you are raising pigs for breadwinning it’s important to invest in some expensive pig breeds. The advanced pig farmers usually suggest investing in Yorkshire, Hampshire, Landrace, Duroc, Tamworth, Tibetan, and Meishan pig breeds.

The poorly bred or cheap pig breeds should be avoided as they are genetically inferior and take a longer time to grow. Moreover, they can carry diseases as well. The poorly bred pigs are also not in demand for meat. 

Pig farms should at least be started with 250 sown 

If you are dreaming of generating a noticeable amount of money each year, it’s mandatory to start pig farming with at least 250 sown. Going above figure 250 would be more profitable. And if you do not want to go big at this point, consider starting with the suggested number.

Pigs are omnivores, they need a variety of food to live a balanced life

 Like humans, pigs are omnivores, they can not be kept solely on commercial feeds. They must be fed commercial feed, clean and fresh food scraps, corn, soybeans, fish, insects, plants, flowers, roots, and leaves, etc. So, you must know that you would be struggling with the feeding and the cleaning part the most.

They need to be vaccinated more often

Pigs must be checked and vaccinated properly before selling them in the market. Pigs can easily become a victim of Foot and mouth disease, PRRS, swine influenza, swine fever, TGE, diarrhea, and Aujeszky’s disease. So to boost internal response they are vaccinated from time to time. You must also take into account the vaccination cost while summing up the upkeep cost.

One pig needs at least 20 square feet to stay sane

Pigs get insane when the living conditions are not up to the mark. The most experienced pig farms suggest dedicating at least 20 square feet to one pigpen. It would be enough for one average pig to roam around comfortably. However, if you are building a pigpen for an exceptionally healthy pig extend it to 50 square feet.

You can not place the feeder and waterer side by side

Generally, we keep the waterers and feeders side by side on the farms but pig farming requires you to do the opposite. The pigs generally prefer relieving themselves near the water or waterers. So, you can not keep the pig feeder and waterer side by side. The waterer should be kept far away from the feeder where the mess can be handled easily. 

Install electric fence if you can afford

Pig fencing should never be cheap but expensive and sturdy. The fence should be firm enough to take in the hog abuse. Electric fencing is a reliable option for pigs but it’s quite expensive. It’s suggested if you can afford it, go for the moveable electric fencing for your and pigs’ safety.

You must have a partial shelter for emergencies

When you are raising pigs at your farm, you must be prepared for emergencies. For a safety measure in the case of emergency, build a partial shelter to lock the pigs in.

Moreover, this partial shelter can be used to give pigs a breath from the usual environment. Make sure the partial shelter you are building can be wrapped or unwrapped easily. 

You have to control flies

Where there are pigs there are flies. Files find a home in pig farms. You have to control flies with fly control sprays and some precautionary measures. 

Despite being harmful to pigs and the environment, intensive farming is chosen over extensive pig farming

Intensive farming locks pigs to a small 20-50 square feet place, it’s super unhealthy for the environment and pigs. Even though we all know how harmful it is, still we choose it over extensive farming. Intensive pig farming is becoming popular because of the lack of space and limited capital. 

I hope my readers have gained a lot of knowledge from this short pig farming guide. Since it’s impossible to cover everything in this short guide but I have enlightened you with all the worth-sharing information. Now let’s move ahead and find out what the individuals, sitting behind the laptop and mobile screen, search about pig farming and what I have to say about it.

Food List of Pigs

There is some pigs feed list mentioned above which is a regular diet. Some fruits and vegetables can be fed as a treat to pigs. Pigs love to eat apples, grapes, oranges, onions and eggs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is pig farming profitable?

Yes, it’s profitable if one knows how to carry it forward. To make money from pig farming, it is advised to know this industry well before jumping into it.

How much can I make from pig farming?

You can make more than your expectations from pig farming. If one five to six months old pig can help you generate $100-$500 net profit, how much you would be earning from the pig farm monthly and annually? Most pig farmers in the USA are earning more than $136000 annually.

The pig farmers have a bunch of options to make money from for example; from selling piglets, meat, pig manure to pigskins.

How do pig farmers make so much money?

Pig farmers credit their accounts by selling piglets, fully mature pigs, unprocessed or processed meat, pig manure, and pigskin. They make the most money from selling meat and pig manure. 

How is pig farming so profitable?

Pig farming is profitable because pigs grow quickly. A five to six months old can help you get a noticeable return. Besides meat and quick growing, it is also profitable because the farmers can sell pig manure, pigskin as well.

How much does it cost to start pig farming?

Pig farming doesn’t require much capital, $800 to $900 is enough to build a little pig farming setup. The monthly upkeep cost of pigs is also considerably lower than livestock options, it’s simply rewarding.

What do pigs eat at pig farms?

Pigs are omnivorous, they can not be solely kept on commercial feed. The pigs at pig farms are eating a variety of feed including fishes, insects, corn, commercial feed, soybeans, food scraps, oats, barley, and sorghum, etc.

In brief, pig farming is rewarding but it puts a huge responsibility on your shoulders. Pig farming is super profitable, the average pig farmers are making around $136000 annually. It doesn’t require much capital $800 to $900 is enough to build a small startup. To raise healthy pigs, the aspiring pig farmers, must build pig-friendly shelters, give easy access to feed and water.

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  • Hi, I am Waqar, a passionate farmer, and Livestock Expert. I have done my graduation in Agriculture and Animal breedings. Relevant to Farm Desire as a research writer and data recorder. My writing material will help you to find valuable information about farming.

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