When you are living off the land, owning animals that can provide you with food can be extremely beneficial. You may grow plenty of crops and fill your pantry with canned vegetables, but if you aren’t getting enough protein, you won’t have the energy to tend to your farm and home.
While there are some homesteaders who don’t want to commit to raising a large farm or a herd of cattle, there are plenty of other animals such as chickens or turkeys that can ensure you have meat and eggs throughout the year. They are also low-maintenance so that you don’t have to waste a lot of your time caring for them.
Pigs are another option that will provide you and your family with plenty of meat. While they do require plenty of food, they aren’t as difficult to raise as you may think.
Here are a few good reasons why you should consider adding pigs to your homestead.
They Will Eat Anything
Yes, pigs eat a lot, which can be a disadvantage, but they will eat a lot of anything. Many homesteaders make their own dairy products such as cheese or butter. If you have excess whey left over from making cheese, you can feed it to the pigs. They will also eat excess milk from dairy animals, extra eggs from chickens, or any cooked leftovers that you have lying around. That means no more food thrown out the back door and nothing goes to waste.
They are Excellent Tillers
Pigs will till any area that you place them in. Many people think that the rooting that pigs do naturally is a bad habit and it should be stopped. But it’s only a terrible thing if you have them in an area where you don’t want to disturb the soil. The tilled land where pigs once lived is a suitable place to grow vegetables. That is because along with loosening up the soil, it is also well-fertilized.
3. They Help Eliminate Parasites
Pigs are a dead-end for parasites that often become an issue with other farm animals such as cattle, goats, or sheep. Since pigs have internal parasites that are different from other animals, they help clean up the land when they follow other grazing animals. If you place your pigs in a field with grazing animals such as sheep or goats, the pigs will consume the eggs and larvae of the parasites on those animals. Their bodies are capable of digesting the parasites without harm. Goat parasites will not survive inside of pigs.
You Receive an Abundance of Meat
The best thing about raising pigs is the amount of meat that you can get from them. You can add more variety to your diet and create a wide range of meals for your family all while homesteading. And the best thing about it is that you know where the meat came from. You raised the pigs humanely and know exactly what type of diet they consumed.
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If you end up with more meat than you need, you can always sell the additional meat for profit. Many people will raise pigs just to sell the meat and not keep it for themselves, while others may raise additional pigs to sell. You can choose to sell the pig itself or the meat after it is butchered. Either way, you end up with a substantial profit that can help with supplies during the winter.
If you want to have enough pork for your entire family, you should get two to three piglets in the spring. Raise them throughout the summer and then butcher them that fall. Then you can do the same the following year. Raising a pig for that period of time will usually produce around 170 to 200 pounds of meat, which should be more than enough meat to keep any homesteader happy.