When you’re starting out with livestock it can be hard to judge what your costs are going to be. If you’re getting started with pigs, let me walk you through your expected cost to raise a pig. We’ll be looking at a backyard or small homestead situation, not a large commercial operation. We’ll also be looking at a weaner-to-market process, not a breeding operation.
One note to start off with: when you ask, “How much is a pig?”, you actually need to ask, “How much are pigs?” Pigs are social animals, and you should never be raising fewer than two. Perhaps you could get away with it if your pig was going to be penned with cows, goats, or sheep. But don’t raise a pig all by itself! You should be able to find a friend or neighbor that wants to buy that other pig.
Homesteading gifts? Christmas is right around the corner, and you need the right gift for the homesteader in your life.
I’ve found a collection of lovely illustrated books from author Celia Lewis. All you have to do is pick the right one for YOUR homesteader. These illustrated books are the perfect combination of useful information and gorgeous artwork. That makes them the gift that’s both functional AND delightful!
You might need homesteading gifts for someone who is already raising livestock or who is thinking about branching out into livestock, in which case you can pick from cows, pigs, chickens, or ducks and geese. Or for the homesteader who is a nature lover, there’s An Illustrated Country Year and An Illustrated Coastal Year. One of these is guaranteed to be a hit.
You can learn how to raise a pig! I did it, and you can do it. In 2009 my partner and I moved from the suburbs of Atlanta to rural Tennessee. We put in a little garden and got a few chickens, but one of our big dreams was learning how to raise a pig. Well, two pigs, because pigs need friends! Learning how to raise a pig was a lot of fun, very satisfying, and now our freezer is always full of delicious meat we raised right here on our own property.
HOW MUCH MANURE DOES A PIG MAKE – You don’t strictly need to know this, but it’s one of the interesting questions that arises when you raise pigs, and this guest post plays around with the numbers a bit.
FIRST PIG SLAUGHTERED AT THE WALLOW – As you learn how to raise a pig, you will come to the choice of whether or not to do your own processing. This post is 44 pictures of the entire process start to finish of slaughtering a pig and butchering it into halves.
HOW MUCH MEAT FROM A PIG – This is one of my most popular articles. Whether you are learning how to raise a pig yourself or you are participating in a pig share, and the end of the day everyone wants to know how much meat they will get. In this article you will learn:
For more information on raising pigs, these two books are both excellent sources – How to Raise Pigs and Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs. (Aff links.) I used both of them when I was getting started. Whether you’re raising pigs for pets, getting started raising a 4H pig, or going purely for yummy pork, either of these books will help you out in getting started.
Do you have any other questions about how to raise a pig?
While many people raise rabbits individually in cages, I’ve decided to raise my rabbits in colony. This means that my rabbits all live together – male, female, and kits – in a single, large habitat. I call it the rabbitat, because awesome.
This post is an overview of the how-to of raising rabbits in colony. Plus tons of cute pics of my bunnies, so stay for that!
Rabbits in colony need about 10 square feet per adult rabbit. I have 240 square feet for my two does, one buck, and a variable number of kits moving through.
They need protection from escaping, predators, and the weather. My rabbitat is made from wire cube shelving pieces (aff link) placed high enough to keep them in, and they have plenty of places to hide and get out of the weather.
Rabbits need both places to hide under/in and places to jump on top of. In a colony this is especially important so they can all get away from one another if they like.
Multiple feeding and watering spots to prevent fighting over food/water.
Use multiple litter boxes, deep bedding, or regular bedding mucked out regularly.
When you first set up your colony, you’ll need to take some care in how you introduce the rabbits to it. Rabbits can be territorial before they learn to be a family. You should only have one buck in your colony. Males younger than 12 weeks are fine but not multiple adult bucks.
If your rabbits are currently in individual cages, move the cages right next to one another. Feed your rabbits at adjacent spots of their cages so that they get used to being close and eating together.
If you have a buck, you may want to add him to the colony first since he is less likely to be territorial than does. Give him a day to make himself at home.
You can add all your does at once. If you have one doe that you know is more aggressive than others, add her last. Watch for any fighting, which you might notice only by seeing the injuries later. Most fighting will sort itself out in a day, as long as you have adequate climbing and hiding places for your rabbits.
When living in colony, the rabbits take care of their breeding cycles on their own. You can keep the buck in his own cage if you want more control, but I leave my buck in the colony. The does will find their own spots to have their litters. If you have trouble telling whose litter belongs to who, you can feel for the doe whose milk is in.
Some people consider unrestrained breeding a drawback. I, however, love having different ages of kits at all times. You can always separate your buck into his own space if you want more control of the timing.
A rabbitat can be a big, complicated space. It’s not portable like smaller cages or easy to move around your land if you decide you want to do that.
The rabbits can be a little wilder if you’re not handling them all at feeding time like you might be able to do by feeding them one by one in individual cages.
The rabbits are not isolated.
They can have more space. Colony living typically gives a rabbit much more freedom of movement than if they were in a single cage.
They obviously love it. My rabbits sleep together in a pile and groom each other. They behave very much like a small family. My buck is very gentle and playful with new kits, which is a delight to see.
You get to offer your rabbits a more rabbit-y life. I get a lot of satisfaction from that.
5 Acres & A Dream is one family’s tale of starting their homestead, from the dream phase to making it happen.
(Links on this page are to the Amazon listing. If you buy from there, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!)
You won’t find a how-to here. Rather, it’s a personal account of the ups and downs and lessons learned along the way. Storytelling like this can be really valuable if you’re dreaming of your own homestead. You can find a lot of the bare how-to online, but getting into the mind of someone who’s been there helps you really understand the process.
5 Acres & A Dream covers lots of topics, including:
Food self-sufficiency, gardening, food preservation, and foraging
Raising goats, chickens, and guineas
Spinning, weaving, and knitting
Sewing and quilting
From a family who’s been there, you will learn a lot about the homesteading journey. 5 Acres & A Dream is 262 pages of inspirational words, along with 156 photos and diagrams.