If you can handle a dog then a little pig won’t be much trouble. As a matter of fact, they may be smarter than your dog, but they are just as lazy. If you are interested in raising a pig for food your job is much easier. Simply keep the wife and kids away or you will have a 900 pound couch potato in just under a year. Seriously, there are only a few major requirements for raising your little pig.* Food* Water*Shelter
These are the most important elements that you must consider prior to buying a little pig. Pigs eat a lot of food. An average pig will need about 1000 lbs of feed from birth to six months in order to reach 220-250lbs. Be prepared to part with some of your money as the major ingredient in feed is corn. And now that corn is used to make ethanol, the fuel additive for your car, the prices go up as if it were crude oil. Check around your area for feed mills or farmers that might buy in bulk and resell cheap. The feed from a natural mill will not have any harmful chemicals in it and is made fresh daily so your hog is getting better quality without the additives and preservatives.
Water, water, and more water. Swine need lots of water. 80% of the empty body weight of the newborn pig and about 53% of an adult pig is water. It is necessary to recognize that there is no single water requirement for a species or an individual; the amount of water consumed depends upon factors such as temperature, diet, frequency with which water is provided, housing and stresses in the environment. That being said, your little pig will need lots of water. Usually somewhere between 1-3 gallons a day per pig. There are automatic water nipples on the market which work well and are readily available. They are made to screw onto a permanent water supply that I highly recommend you secure tightly to a fence post. The other option would be to provide water in a bucket type feeder (cleaning water buckets is a huge waste of time and water) or water trough. The problem with a bucket or water trough is that pigs love to play in the water when they are hot. If you are using anything that is not securely fastened then you will be filling water buckets constantly.
Before you go pick up your hog make sure have a secure area to house your swine. Keep in mind that you will need at least 15 square feet of shade per pig. Pigs will get a sunburn just like you and it looks just as painful. That is why shade is imperative. Be sure to make the pen very solid. I know it’s just a cute little pig…..But that won’t last long. Your cute little pig can reach 250lbs plus in only 5 or 6 months. If you over feed it then it will get even bigger. So the structure must be able to contain an amazingly strong animal with the curiosity of a child and the strength of 3 men. As far as pen size, we are of the mindset that a happy pig is a healthy pig. Our smallest pen is 16′ x 16′. That is because the hog panels we bought were 16′ long. But the pen provides plenty of room for exercise and is secure. If there are any trees in the area that you want to to use for shade, make sure they are not inside the pigs enclosure, especially if you like that tree. Pigs like to root and can literally destroy the roots causing the untimely demise of your favorite shade tree. It’s a good idea to put a run of barbed wire on the inside of the pen about 1 inch above ground level and another run of barbed wire 1 inch below the ground so your little pig will be deterred from rooting under the fence. Did I mention that pigs are very strong and they like to dig? OK just making sure. Nothing worse than coming home from a hard day at work and finding your pig loose in the garden eating the wife’s prize winning vegetables. Make the pen solid and give your little pig plenty of shade and you won’t have any issues.