Want to buy a piglet-need help!

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I've asked around about buying a piglet,and the cost is around 15 to 50 dollars each.Sence I've been asking around on them a few people have said things that concern me,worms (a big concern),shots and I've been told they cry when taken away from the mother,Do they need heat?I plan on housing the pig from the end of April/May to late fall,Oct/Nov.I live in Maine,and it can get a bit cold at night in late fall.What should I look for in a good/healthy piglet?

Also I was thinking about rabbits,1 male 1 female.I want to build my own cage to save money,anyone have any Ideas,what kind of rabbit also?


-- Darlene (boomer@tdstelme.net), March 19, 1999


Check out Countryside Magazine http://www.countrysidemag.com

-- Christopher (stambela@mail.tds.net), March 19, 1999.

Thank you Christopher, I'll check that out tonight.

-- Darlene (boomer@tdstelme.net), March 19, 1999.


I have a section on raising rabbits in my book (see the website). Pound for pound rabbits are the best animals for home-raising -- quiet, contained, fairly disease-free, and fast reproducers. However, if you're a novice, slaughtering is emotionally tough, and rabbits are particularly so because they're cute.

I don't recommend raising larger live-stock for Y2K unless you're already experienced. There is so much to do and learn and the time is so short that my suggestion is to look for shorter-term, more immediately practical preparations.

-- Jack Miller (practicaljack@practicaljack.com), March 19, 1999.

Good Luck! My dad bought two pigs many years ago to raise for meat. We got so attached to them that I felt horrible when he took them to be butchered that I cried, and they squealed and cried like children. They were terrified. I never ate a bite of the meat and I quit totally forever; I've never missed it one day, and I never looked back to that time without tears.They are more sweet and gentle than many people I've known.

But don't mind me, I'm just not into eating anything that has a face and feelings. A little side benefit of giving up meat was that I lost 12 pounds and felt better than I ever did before.

-- gilda jessie (jess@listbot.com), March 19, 1999.

How about chickens. Good for the meat and the eggs. Poor Pooh Bear will be heartbroken without piglet and rabbit.

-- shellie (shellie01@hotmail.com), March 19, 1999.

Darlene, I have to go along with the chickens thought. We keep a few for the fresh eggs and have butchered some in the past, but going to the trouble of raising chickens to eat isn't worth the trouble when local grocery stores have them on sale for as little as 18 cents a lb. (That's for a big bag of legs/thighs). We like to watch them roam the yard ridding it of crickets and other undesirable bugs. And the eggs are better by far than the "store bought" kind. We prefer the barred rocks for eggs. Also, any extra eggs after TSHTF will be a valuable barter item.


-- Gerald R. Cox (grcox@internetwork.net), March 19, 1999.


As to pigs, two points. First, as someone suggested here, Vietnamese pot bellied pigs may be better because of smaller size. Easier to butcher. Less meat to deal with at one time. Especially if you happen to have no electricity to cool meat. Second point. When we lived outside Anchorage we had friends up the road who kept a few pigs. They seemed to do ok in the harsh temps. They just need a good shed.

As to rabbits. MaMa Bear raised rabbits to show. We continually bred rabbits year around. Slacked off a bit in winter just to keep the number of occupied cages down. They have to be watered twice a day. When you have to carry water in buckets and break the ice out of the bowls to empty them you relly watch close how many cages you keep full. As it was we had 22 cages with does and bucks, so we bred only what we needed to eat and get ready for Easter Bunny Sales.

In the warmer weather (anything above 32 degrees) we keep about 40 cages working and averaged 125-150 in stock.

Some general advise about rabbits to anyone interested. They do fine in winter. They must be protected from wind. After much research and experimentation (and $ wasted) we determined that cross-breed rabbits are jus not worth the effort. They just do not convert feed to meat as well as any of the pure-bred meat breeds. You will pay at least $5-10 for about any adult cross-breed that you purchase. A good pure bred rabbit will run you about $15-30 depending on breed and pedigree. Two breeds stand out as the best meat producers. New Zelands and Californians. These breed were developed for just that - meat production. We raised the Cals.

Best of luck to you with you animals. We've enjoyed our rabbits imensely. We've also gotten to where we prefer rabbit to chicken in any reciped we've tried. (Any we've tried a bunch).

--Greybear, who loves those bunnies

- Got a little hare in you soup?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), March 20, 1999.

Regarding the purchase of piglets, rather than buying, have you considered leasing a piglet? If you are only going to have the piglet for two or three years, a solid lease would be your best option.

As far as the answer as to whether or not piglets need heat, the answer is no. Most piglets are able to survive in temperatures up to 70 degrees below zero, as they are from the Antarctic.

A healthy piglet should be able to run the 40 yard dash in about 4.5 seconds. It's coat should have a healthy pink sheen, but not look like Martin or Charlie Sheen. It's heart should beat exactly 487 times per minute. Anything less or more, it is near death.

Building a cage to save money is a great idea. For the first three sides, build from the outside, for expediency's sake. For the fourth side, make sure that the opening is only big enough for a piglet to get through. Build that side from the inside of the cage. When you are done, you will be fully enclosed, so that you will be insulated from Y2K marauders. Even better, it will prevent you from getting any where near a computer.

-- wilbur (wonderfulpig@charlotte'sweb.com), March 20, 1999.

Many thanks to all who responded to my questions.

Pigs must be alot smarter than I thought,I'll make sure mine don't read or type!!

-- Darlene (boomer@tdstelme.net), March 20, 1999.

I think you should reconsider. Don't even think about buying a piglet until you've done a lot more research. Go to a 4-H meeting and talk with people there. Call you county agricultural agent. Talk with folks at your local farmers co-op. Think about raising something easier (like rabbits or chickens) before you think about raising swine.

If you don't know what you are doing, it's not fair to the animals. They shouldn't have to suffer due to the ignorance of their owners.

-- farmer jack (downon@thefarm.net), March 20, 1999.

Some people use chickens to clean the bugs out of their garden...and fertilize too I think. Neat little biosphere. Personally I'm inclined to go with rabbits if I try raising anything, just because they're quieter. If I find myself squeamish about slaughtering, well...I've learned from Tom Brown how to make primitive traps that kill critters instantly, and it might be good practice... (note, if you want to practice traps please practice with nonlethal variations until you're good at it, to prevent suffering, and be aware that use of these traps in the wild is illegal just about everywhere).

-- Shimrod (shimrod@lycosmail.com), March 24, 1999.

Make sure your local zoning regulations allow pigs. No problem on a farm. In suburbia it could be.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), March 31, 1999.

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