Thinking Of Starting With Pigs

I think the first thing to decide is what breed of pigs http://www.farmingfriends.com/breeds-of-pig/ you want to keep and this will be helped when you decide what purpose you are keeping your pigs, the age of the pigs and whether they are to be reared outdoors or indoors. Are you going to get a couple of sows, with an unrelated boar and breed the pigs or are you going to buy in the weaners and fatten them up and sell for meat.
Breeding the pigs your self means you can sell the piglets as weaners to other small holders. But if you don’t want to have to farrow the sows then buying weaners in at 6/8 weeks old and fattening them up means that you won’t be paying for the sows and boar. The weaners may cost £35 + depending on age and breed and if they are pedigree. I have saddlebacks and I have found them to be a hardy breed, good natured and good mothers with a good sized litter. ( 6 – 11 piglets)

You will need to decide if you are rearing indoors or outdoor pigs and how many pigs you can keep in the area of land or barn you have.  In the UK we have a Welfare Code for pigs. As far as space is required it says:

The unobstructed floor area available to each weaner or rearing pig reared in a group shall be at least –
(a) 0.15 m2 for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is 10 kg or less;
(b) 0.20 m2 for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than
10 kg but less than or equal to 20 kg;
(c) 0.30 m2 for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than
20 kg but less than or equal to 30 kg;
(d) 0.40 m2 for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than
30 kg but less than or equal to 50 kg;
(e) 0.55 m2 for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than
50 kg but less than or equal to 85 kg;
(f) 0.65 m2 for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than
85 kg but less than or equal to 110 kg;
(g) 1.00 m2 for each pig where the average weight of the pigs in the group is more than
110 kg.
The figures are minimum requirements, the type of housing and itsmanagement may mean that greater space allowances are necessary. The total floor space should be adequate for sleeping, feeding and exercising. The lying area, excluding the dunging
and exercise areas, should be of sufficient size to allow all the pigs to lie down on their sides at the same time.

You will need a herd number/ holding number if you don’t already have one which can be obtained from your animal welfare office at your local authority. You will need this if you have pigs or other animals and this will be needed when you move pigs onto your holding or off your holding when you sell them or take them to the abattoir.

I have a forum which is free with a section on pigs with information that may be useful
http://farmingfriends.com/forums/forum.php?id=3

I have a pig category if you go to the site map all the pig posts are listed and if you
click on a title it will take you to the specific post. Here is a link to the site map
http://www.farmingfriends.com/site-map/ Here is a link to the pig category
http://www.farmingfriends.com/category/pigs/

My favourite pig book is Teach Yourself Keeping Pigs by Tony York which is a British book
£8.99

An ebook on rearing pigs for the table that maybe useful can be found here
http://sallygardens.typepad.com/photos/courses2007/gloucestershire_old_spot_pig.html

If you are thinking of starting with pigs and want to ask any specific questions then just leave a comment.