Thursday, June 05, 2008

Small-Scale Pig Raising :: Chapter 1 & 2 Book Report

I must admit that lately I have had a pretty short attention span when it comes to books. I don't really think that it has anything to do with the quality of the books, but rather it has to do with the ebb and flow of my interests at the moment. I started out working through "Grass-Fed Cattle", then I couldn't find it one day so I switched over to "Dirt Hog", and then last night I had pigs on the brain again so I decided to pick up "Small-Scale Pig Raising" by Dirk van Loon. This book came highly recommended by Walter Jeffries over at Sugar Mountain Farms, so I was really excited to read it.

This book was published in 1978 so some of the economical figures that it gives are a bit off and I think it could easily win the greatest cover ever award (see the picture above), but if the rest of the book is anything like the first two chapters I think I will enjoy it very much. It seems to be written from a very practical point-of-view and easy to read.

What I really liked about the first chapter was Mr. van Loon's answers to the question, "Why Raise a Pig?". His first reason was because they can be a low risk/short term investment into livestock. With my Dexters I have to wait a long time before they finish, a long time before they calve, and I have to pay quite a bit for them. But, with pigs I can buy them for less money and finish them out fairly quickly. Along with that there can also be lower costs in fencing and shelter. Mr. van Loon also mentions lower feed costs, but that may not be true at this point.

The second chapter mostly covers the wild pig and the emergence of the domesticated pig. It was just a short chapter, but it was interesting to read some of the back ground and differences between the two. Understanding a domestic pigs wild brothers and sisters helps understand what makes a pig tick and what their social structure can be like.

As I mentioned pigs have been on my brain lately so it was good to read the first couple chapters of this book, and they are shorter chapters so that is nice when the days are longer and we are so busy. But, the reason that pigs have been on my mind is because I have been searching high and low for some feeder pigs. I thought that I had some located, but it looks like that isn't going to work out now ... so, if you know of anyone in Iowa or Northern Missouri with some pastured pigs or even just outdoor conditioned I would be interested in hearing about them!


Steven said...

Someone on the homesteading today forum had some 50 miles north of St. Louis but that is probably too far away.
We picked up our 3/4 Red Wattle piglets on Saturday night. They are so much fun to watch and they are starting to figure out that there is a little corn buried in the bedding that they are on. I LOVED the article on acorn finishing and have been thinking about that and pecan and walnut finishing so I threw in a jar of pecans to see if they would like them. Goodness! They seem to like pecans, in the shell, more than anything else that I've given them including "pig feed". We got 3. Two barrows and a smaller gilt from a younger litter because the older piglets were sold out. My biggest surprise, how loud they were when they were picked up to be put in the mini van. ;-)

CollieFarms said...

Great to read about your experiments. In a lot of ways it is what we are going through!

MY (Absolute) Favorite "pig" book is Storey's Guide by Kelly Klober. I've read, re-read, investigated, and read repeatedly. It's an absolute treasure trove. Something for you, maybe, to consider. I've devoured several and it seems the best.

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