Messy, sassy and all around comical, I remember saying I will never raise hogs as I watched my sister's fair pigs hot lap the yard growing up. I never showed livestock and never really got into the market animal thing. I've always struggled with it being more of a how well are you known contest than something actually based on what the animal is bringing to the ring. That is a rant for another time, though. Anyway, since I have begun this journey I always manage to have at least two hogs throughout the summer. A few years ago I did raise a couple Idaho Pasture Pigs. Absolutely loved them even though they were sassy and escaped a few times. The downside to them is they are a fairly new breed and really a niche thing. Breeders charge all over the board for just feeder piglets. I love them but to be honest the purchase price affects the end profit.
The IPPs are a bit slower growing though and it's hard to arrange butcher dates when that happens. Especially seeing I purchase feeders and don't breed them myself. Last year, to settle a slight disagreement on whether pasture breeds were worth the extra money I brought home some regular ol' commercial feeder pigs. In a few hours they had proven my point by tilling up their entire pen. They did grow exceptionally well though they weren't able to really graze because they turned everything to dirt. They also grew too fast, and I had to ask for a cancellation date to get them in earlier at the processor. They still had a hanging weight over 250 pounds. This year I am switching up again as I bought a couple of Red Wattle/ IPP cross piglets. This ran me down a rabbit hole though. I was unfamiliar with the red wattle pigs so I started researching and eventually linked to a breeder and got added to the list to get a registered gilt in the next month. Why did I decide to go this way with the pigs? Well, from my research I concluded that this is the breed I wanted to focus on. Several things took me there. First, the Red Wattle pig is a heritage breed that does well foraging and on pasture. They do have a faster growth rate be butcher size in about 7 months. They produce a leaner, well marbled meat that is slightly similar to beef and they are great mothers> They get their name from the wattles that hang from each side of their neck, or kindly quoting a friend's husband "they got neck nipples". This breed is also listed on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy. they are on the threatened list which means there are fewer than 200 annual registrations and an estimated number of fewer than 2,000 in the world. This is what drove me to start looking for breeders which I only found three in the state of Wisconsin and so far, only one has responded to me. That is the farm that I will be purchasing my gilt from. I'm hoping to grow more in the world of Red wattle hogs and help benefit a breed that is threatened to disappear from our planet. And who knows maybe one day one of my hogs will be at the local fair, exhibiting in a breeders class though.
Hi, I am Mandy Onesti originally the author/blogger of Ponytails and Cow Trails. Which I had started to bring people closer to the life on the homestead. Running two websites, a house full of kids and a small farm, made me decide to conjoin my websites. I have a lifelong background in Agriculture and have worked on everything from rotational grazing organic farms to large scale dairy farms. I now run a small herd of beef cattle and strive for a sustainable lifestyle. Thank you for joining me.