In this post I’ll summarise all the costs we had in purchasing our three piglets and raising them through to slaughter and butchering. As you’ll see, not only was it ethically rewarding and satisfying to rear happy pigs in an outdoor environment, but it was economically rewarding too!
- Purchase of pigs ($80 each): $240
- Batteries (D cells) for electric fence: $28.20
- Garlic for worming: $7
- Straw for bedding: $10
- 12x bags pig weaner pellets ($14.50 each): $174
- 14x bags pig grower pellets ($18.50 each): $259
- 9x bags “Cool & Calm” horse pellets ($13.50 each): $121.50
- LHPA tattooing ($11 each): $33
- Fuel transporting to abattoir: $35
- Abattoir kill fee ($29 each): $87
- Abattoir-butcher freight ($19 each): $57
- Butcher cutting and packing ($40 each): $120
Total cost: $1171.70
According to the butcher, we got about 74 kg of meat back per pig. I’ll subtract the heads, tails, etc and round that down to an even 70 kg per pig.
That comes out to an approximate cost of $5.58/kg. Not bad!
As you can see from the above list, by far the biggest cost is feed. If you can grow a lot of feed yourself or have access to some kind of (meat-free!) waste food stream, you could really save a lot of money.
We kept our feed costs down a bit with the help of some friends. A nearby baker was giving us three big flour-sacks of day-old bread each week, and our greengrocer was giving us a big box of fruit and vegie scraps every week. The pigs also ate the weeds and grass in their runs (they had two different runs while they were here), and we fed them a lot of grass, weeds, and vegetable garden waste. We also got a few buckets of fruit from feral fruit trees and from under friends’ trees.
The Cool & Calm horse pellets were a way to keep feed costs down a little, and were also a useful substitute when I was running low on pig pellets (they are a special order item from feed suppliers around here). They are fairly similar to pig pellets in protein, fibre, etc, but probably lack the lysine (required for good pig growth). I alternated between pig pellets and Cool & Calm in successive feeds.
We chose not to castrate the pigs. Peoples’ opinions differ on whether this is necessary, and it didn’t seem worth the vet cost to me. It is supposed to reduce “boar taint” in the meat, but then that’s not usually a problem in boars killed under 6 months old anyway. It didn’t make the pigs hard to handle or anything, and we had three males so we weren’t going to have male-female interaction problems.
I haven’t included the electric fence equipment in the above list, since that was infrastructure that I’ll continue to use. The feed troughs, shelter, etc were all stuff I had lying around, and I was able to borrow a caged trailer for transport. I also haven’t included any running around in the car other than the abattoir trip, since most feed and bread pickups were on the way home from work anyway and the greengrocer dropped the scraps to us. These may be things to consider if you want to use my figures to estimate costs for your own pig project.
So there you have it! That’s all the costs and related info I can think of right now for our first foray into pig-raising. Hopefully this might help other people thinking of raising some pigs.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to ask questions if I’ve left anything out!