How Much Do Pigs Cost?
If you’re looking to raise your own meat, pigs can be an appealing due to the high percentage yield of meat they are able to produce compared to other animals. But, like raising any animal, buying and maintaining pigs cost money and resources. Are pigs a good choice financially for you?
How much does it cost to raise a pig for meat? Pigs are strong and need adequate fencing and shelter. Expect to pay at least $3,000 in up-front costs of preparing your land alone. Aside from these initial expenses, you can expect to pay around $750 per pig, if raised from weaned to a processing weight. This expense includes purchase price, feed, and butchering fees.
In this article, I’ll break it down further so you get a good idea of the different financial aspects and obligations you could have when it comes to raising pigs. Read on!
What Are the Initials Costs of Purchasing a Pig?
The first cost that you will likely be curious about is the initial cost of the animal itself. But before we discuss how much the cost of a pig is, let’s first talk about how many pigs you should raise.
How Many Pigs Should You Raise?
Pigs are not as multi-purpose as other livestock are, so if you are considering raising pigs, you’re likely raising them for meat. The number of pigs you raise will be dependent on a number of factors, including the time and money that you are willing to front this operation, the amount of land that you have, and how committed you are to the endeavor. All of this is based on economics. But there is another reason that you should consider how many pigs to purchase – an ethical reason as opposed to an economic one.
Pigs are herd animals, and are incredibly intelligent and social. It would be harmful to a pig’s mental health to live alone, and so you should plan to raise more than one pig. In the interest of the animal’s welfare, we recommend that you raise a minimum of two pigs at a time. For the purposes of this post, then, we will assume that you are raising two pigs.
To learn more about the best pig breeds for meat, visit my article Meat Pig Breeds: 8 Best Pig Breeds For Meat.
How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Pig?
The price of the animal will depend on the breed you are looking for, the age of the pig, and the region in which you live. If you are raising pigs for meat, you will most likely be purchasing weaned piglets, around two to three months of age. You can purchase a weaned meat-breed piglet in some areas of the United States for around $50. In other areas of the US, you will pay closer to $150. This means that for two piglets, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300 total.
Pig Shelter Prices
Light-colored pigs are highly susceptible to sunburn and need access to shade at all times. And all pigs need protection from the wind, rain, and snow. You may choose to build a barn or shed for your pigs, or you can opt for a simple three-sided shelter. A simple shelter will be the least expensive, and you can expect to pay around $1,000 in the material to build one yourself. You need to keep in mind that pigs are very strong, and material that might suffice for sheep or alpacas may not hold up as well for pigs.
Pig Fencing Prices
This is where the bulk of your expense will lie. Providing an estimate on how much it will cost to put in fencing for your pigs is especially difficult because of the factors involved – fencing will vary greatly in cost depending on the material that you use, and of course, depending on how large of an area you need to fence.
Do not expect to get away with the fencing that you currently have on your property, especially if this is garden fencing or fencing designed for other livestock. Pigs have large heads and strong snouts, and root around in the ground. If they can stick their nose under your fencing, they can do a lot of damage. Pigs are notorious for escaping – as you can expect any animal would be that has both incredible strength and a high level of intelligence.
They do make fencing that is created specifically for pigs, and it is more expensive than many other types of fencing. You can also choose to build a fence yourself, and supplement with electric fencing along the bottom. Either way, expect to spend a few thousand dollars fencing in a pasture area of your property.
Additional Pig Supplies and Pricing
Pigs are fairly simple creatures, and do not need much in the way of maintenance. Unlike other livestock, they do not need their feet trimmed on a monthly basis; instead, they may need their hooves trimmed every six months or so. And unlike sheep and alpacas, they do not need regular shearing. They are also not typically halter-trained, so there is no need to purchase halters or leads. While pigs are easier to maintain than other livestock, there are still a few extras that you will need to purchase.
As I have already mentioned, pigs are very smart! They get bored easily, and if they are not sufficiently stimulated, they can get into trouble. Pigs like to investigate and manipulate their surroundings, and you should not be surprised if you find your pigs knocking over their water and feeding buckets.
You can elect to use an automatic waterer that is bolted to a post, and can expect to pay around $50 for that. Or, you can purchase a large, heavy water trough for up to $350. The watering device that you choose will depend on how many pigs you are raising. You will also need a feed trough that is heavy enough to withstand your pigs rooting around in them – you can expect to pay around $250 for a sufficient hog feeder.
One additional expense to note – if you are planning to breed your pigs, you will want to invest in a heat lamp. Research has shown that placing a heat lamp near the rear of your sow during farrowing can decrease piglet mortality. You can purchase a heat lamp and bulb for as little as $20.
Total Initial Pig Cost
With all of these costs in mind, you can expect to pay around $3,600 in initial expenses to prepare for raising two pigs. This estimate is based on paying $100 per piglet, and a modest $2,000 in fencing.
Maintenance Costs Of Raising Pigs
As stated earlier, pigs are generally low-maintenance livestock and there is not a lot that goes into their care. The biggest expense will be your pig’s feed.
Feeding Your Pig
Pigs eat a lot. Unless you are keeping pigs for breeding purposes, you will likely be processing them at around 6 months of age, or when they reach 250 – 300 pounds. Pigs will eat between 4 and 6 pounds of feed per day. If you are raising your pig from weaning to 300 pounds, you can expect your pig to require 900 total pounds in feed.
You can purchase pig feed from the feed store for around $.40 per pound, or a 50-pound bag for around $20. This means that you can expect to spend $150 per month to feed two pigs, or $720 from weaning to processing for two pigs.
Keeping Your Pig Healthy
Pigs are hardy and generally healthy animals. If you are raising them for meat, and purchasing your pigs as piglets, you may not need to see a vet at all. If you are breeding your pigs, however, you may need to make the occasional vet call if your sow is having difficulties in farrowing. If you have to call a vet out, you can expect to pay around $100 to $200 for a farm visit.
Pigs also need to be de-wormed, but usually only every 4-6 months. Again, if you are purchasing weaned piglets and processing them at 6 months of age, you may not need to de-wormed at all. If you do find yourself needing to de-worm, you can purchase the medication from your feed store for around $20.
Total Maintenance Costs With Pigs
As you can see, the bulk of the maintenance cost with pigs is the feed. You should expect to pay $150 per month to feed two pigs, or $720 total if purchasing weaned piglets and processing at 300 pounds.
Pig Butchering Costs
If you are raising your pigs for meat, you will need to consider how you will have them processed. Most homesteaders will not have the means to butcher a 300-pound pig on their property, and so will send them to the butcher.
A butcher will usually charge $60 – $100 per animal to slaughter. Once slaughtered, you can expect to pay between $.40 to $1.35 per pound for butchering and wrapping. The price will vary according to the type of meat and whether curing is involved (as with bacon or dried meat). This can mean that you are paying around $300 per pig for processing, or $600 to process two pigs.
Total Cost To Raise A Pig
So what is the total cost to purchase and raise a pig for meat? The shelter, fencing, and equipment costs are up-front costs and are not dependent on the number of pigs that you are raising – expect to pay around $3,000 – $5,000 for these. Purchasing, feeding, and butchering will cost you around $750 per pig, total.
Before jumping head-first into owning pigs, you should have a good understanding of the pros and cons of raising these animals. To get a complete rundown, check out my article Top Pros and Cons of Owning and Raising Pigs.