What’s for Dinner?
Part VI

2013 January 22
by drdog09

Ummmmmmm. Bacon.

(This starts our look at some of our four legged opportunities.)



  • Provides meat.
  • Feed requirements are up for grabs. Pigs will consider items that other homestead animals would pass on. There is a reason the term `slop the hog` exists.
  • Meat is high protein with with a good feed conversion ratio.
  • Can raise a lot of meat in a descent space.
  • Can be used as four legged rototillers.
  • They are your compost pile. All your grass clippings, vegetable and garden scraps go to the pig. Their wastes are used to fertilize the plants.
  • Litters are typically 6-12 in most pigs. Reproductive rate is good.


  • Time to market is longer, typically nine months to a year.
  • Moderate space requirements.
  • Can be free ranged. They do however need to be penned to control access. You don’t want them rooting up Aunt Mays petunias.
  • Storage of end product. Single slaughter can end up with lots of meat. If you don’t have reliable refrigeration then you need to have a trade/buy deal setup with neighbors or friends for the excess.
  • Start up costs are higher than with fowl.
  • The USDA classifies pigs as livestock. As a consequence keeping pigs in some locales is restricted due to zoning laws. Check before you proceed.
  • To maintain a sustainable herd requires a couple of animals impacting the housing requirements.

Overall Notes:

Pigs have been a staple of the American diet since before the colonies. The Spanish introduced hogs to the SW US back in the 1600’s. They have been with us ever since.

Something to keep in mind at the outset. Most breeds of pig never really stop growing till some physical abnormality prevents it, environment restricts it or death occurs. The Pot Bellied Pig which were all the rage years ago and oh so `cute` can grow to 200# or more. Some breeds of pig can reach half a ton. That is not the common case as more of the commercial breeds are marketed long before then. Their fastest growth being with the first 6-9 months then off to market.

So should a suburban homesteader consider a pig? The answer of course depends. What breed of pig? Your intent for raising it? More than one? For the average suburban homeowner probably not. Lets discuss the negatives and a possible alternative.

The first issue is space and the nature of the average hog. The ancestral pig earned its living eating acorns and grubs. Which means they turned the earth in pursuit of the morsels. That nature is innate in pigs, even commercial ones who have not seen the sunlit side of a barn their entire lives. This translates that unless you like seeing a plowed backyard, pigs won’t be considered your friend. Now multiply that by the 3-4 hogs you need to sustain a herd. Oooops.

There is also the output side of things. A 300-400# animal is going to leave at slaughter 150-200# of product. Do you have a freezer for it all? And when the power goes out? In that size range it is not exactly fresh on the hoof. (Chickens are involved, pigs are committed. At least when it comes to bacon and eggs for breakfast.) The other factor is the boar. You have to keep him around all the time to do 5mins duty maybe twice a year. That is not really efficient. So do we cross them off?

Maybe not. We generally think commercial breeds. Hampshire. Duroc. Herford just to name a few. But those are not the only breed of swine out there. So if one had say an eighth to a quarter acre to dedicate to pigs you want 3-4 that are small in stature and once processed would be consumed reasonably quickly. And they exist —

American Guinea Hog

A standard homestead breed that is making a comeback. Their biggest advantage is a docile disposition, fend for itself nature and no vet bills. They’re hardy. Boars can run to 300#, sows to 200# or so. One could sell all but one or two piglets then process them at around 100-125# live weight. You would have 60-80# of meat. For a family of four that can be consumed in a reasonable time frame. If you are into sausage making so much the better.

Mexican Hairless

Also known as Yucatan pig. There are two variants of which we wish the smaller of the two. Boars top out at about 150#, sows 100-125#. Processed as the Guinea Hog above, a family would end up with 50-60# of meat per pig.


Originates from New Zealand. Considered a rare breed and there is a concerted effort to expand the breed. Boars 120#, sows 80#. A very docile hog. Due to its current rarity, the start up costs are pretty high however. But at processed weight we are now in the range where you don’t fill up an entire freezer with meat.

Mexican Cuino

One of the smallest pigs around. They top out at about 30# live weight. Were a common holding among Mexican households just a century ago. Now believed a threatened species. Interestingly, the Cuino is raised for medical research due to their small size and applicability to human medical trials. The breed does not appear to be actively pursed for livestock purposes now and what literature I can find on them is scant. A breed of this size would be perfect for backyard culture if their processed weights are reasonable. Just about right for a throwdown on the barbie with a tad for leftovers.

If a suburban home wanted to keep hogs it will require a different set of strategies.

1) Have a co-op. Each household maintains a sow in a pen on their property. The co-op shares a boar for breeding. The co-op sells the piglets at market and the proceeds are used to defray feed costs. Each household retains one or two piglets till market weight then its off to a processor and the freezer.

2) A variation of (1) is that only sows are kept and breeding is by artificial insemination. All other factors remain the same.

3) Go with an even smaller breed so that a boar and two sows can be kept. keep offspring till your desired market weight is reached.

But even with smaller breeds and unusual strategies, there are easier ways to provide for the family meat locker. Personally, I would probably look up a farmer or rural homestead that would be willing to do a broker deal. I buy the livestock and provide the feed. My partner does the husbandry. End of the season they deliver the animal and I have it processed.

36 Responses leave one →
  1. 2013 January 22 6:12 am
    drdog09 permalink

    I was in Ft. Myers, Florida the other day and I saw a bumper sticker on a parked car that read, — “I miss Chicago.”

    So, I broke the window, stole the radio, shot out two of the tires and left a note that read, — “I hope this helps!”

  2. 2013 January 22 6:22 am
    drdog09 permalink

  3. 2013 January 22 6:27 am

    Can they also be raised in an ascent space??

  4. 2013 January 22 6:28 am

    Cell Phone Etiquette

    After a tiring day, a commuter settled down in her seat and closed her eyes.

    As the train rolled out of the station, the guy sitting next to her pulled out his cell phone and started talking in a loud voice: “Hi sweetheart. It’s Eric. I’m on the train.”

    “Yes, I know it’s the six-thirty and not the four-thirty, but I had along meeting.”

    “No, honey, not with that blonde from the accounts office. It was with the boss.”

    “No, sweetheart, you’re the only one in my life.”

    “Yes, I’m sure, cross my heart.”

    Fifteen minutes later, he was still talking loudly.

    When the young woman sitting next to him had had enough, she leaned over and said into the phone, “Eric, hang up the phone and come back to bed.”

    Eric doesn’t use his cell phone in public any longer.

    Not a good idea to be on the phone in public!!!! 🙂

  5. 2013 January 22 6:29 am
    MI Conservative permalink

    God, I love bacon! Could eat it every morning. Thick slices, not that thin stuff.

    Bacon, Lettuce and tomato is my favorite sandwich.

    I mix bacon crumbles in deviled eggs.

    Wrap bacon around a pork loin and bake it.

    Make home made pork and beans from hard navy beans and mix in bacon and place slices on the top of it when baking.

    Bake water chestnuts wrapped in bacon.

    And I use it in German potato salad and, of course collared greens.

    But the best is fry extra, leave it on the table and snack on it all day.

  6. 2013 January 22 6:49 am
    drdog09 permalink


    Alas poor Eric, she knew him too well….. Shakespeare was a visionary.

    The unintended consequences come home to roost for the professoria — http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323635504578213502177768898.html — Karma can be a B@#%ch.

  7. 2013 January 22 6:50 am
    drdog09 permalink

    Can they also be raised in an ascent space??

    Don’t know, never tried.

  8. 2013 January 22 7:02 am
    bc3b permalink

    drdog09 #2

    The British press does a far better job of covering U.S. politics than the U.S. media.

  9. 2013 January 22 7:08 am

    MI Conservative~~your cardiologist will love you

  10. 2013 January 22 7:13 am
    bc3b permalink

  11. 2013 January 22 7:13 am
    justrand permalink

    drdog, the link in comment #2…wow!

    Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

    Step 1: impose that on “journalists”
    Step 2: define ANYONE who expresses an opinion and/or passes on information through ANY media as a “journalist” (i.e.: all of US) subject to the “Media Council”
    Step 3: Orwell’s ‘1984’ finally arrives

    Folks, dissent, let alone “rebellion” will be almost impossible given the monitoring technology available today. Within minutes of someone expressing a contrary opinion on the Internet the government would simply snuff their access…the first time. Posting a handbill on a street corner? Fuggetaboutit! Real-time monitoring of all public spaces (for our own good, of course) will make that a dangerous avenue to express one’s self. And so on.

    Welcome to ‘1984’…welcome to the Age of Obama. Feel free to grovel.

  12. 2013 January 22 7:25 am




  13. 2013 January 22 7:27 am
    MI Conservative permalink

    My cardiologists will know me very well in a couple of years.

  14. 2013 January 22 7:30 am
    justrand permalink

    perfect, IP!! Dobby is the perfect mascot for the new world order!

  15. 2013 January 22 7:35 am
    drdog09 permalink

    The Obama Economic Recovery proceeds apace — http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-blockbuster-stores-20130122,0,3073429.story — It surprises me to no end that blockbuster still exists. There is a RedBox practically on every street corner.

  16. 2013 January 22 7:38 am

    My cardiologists will know me very well in a couple of years

    Apropos in a way, as they can give you a new heart valve from a pig.

  17. 2013 January 22 7:39 am
    bc3b permalink

    If “impersonating a journalist” was a crime, prisons would be filled with the likes of Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Candy Crowley.

    These people practice a self-imposed censorship.

  18. 2013 January 22 7:46 am
    justrand permalink

    – The EU article drdog linked to…a harbinger of fresh 1st Amendment assaults here
    – The lining up of the glitterati, et al, here to support eroding or eliminating the 2nd Amendment
    – New surveillance tools and techniques being accepted and even CHEERED by the Left in order to “keep us safe” and ensure people remain “peaceful”…eroding the 4th Amendment on a daily basis
    – Multiple Executive Orders in the past 4 years that have severely weakened the 5th and 6th amendments…with nary a whimper from the media
    – The 9th and 10th Amendments simply ignored…and those who dare to bring them up are quickly ridiculed as “out of step”
    – and the 3rd, 7th and 8th Amendments will get shredded in their due time

    ALL of the assaults on and erosions of our Bill of Rights are being done in order to “protect us”, and ensure a “civil society”, with “fairness” and “harmony”.

    And in the back of my mind is this section from one of the greatest speeches of all time:
    They tell us, sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

  19. 2013 January 22 7:54 am

    “The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

    “Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  20. 2013 January 22 7:56 am
    bc3b permalink

    JR –

    Many conservative pundits have written that Obama’s primary goal is not to destroy the GOP, but rather the Constitution.

  21. 2013 January 22 8:24 am
    justrand permalink

    bc3b: “Many conservative pundits have written that Obama’s primary goal is not to destroy the GOP, but rather the Constitution.”

    And likewise, the media’s goal is not to report the news…but rather to shape (or ignore) it in order to perpetuate the reign of Lord Obama. IP’s quote “The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.” speaks DIRECTLY to that.

    the Obama regime’s incestuous relationship with the media is a disease…and likely a fatal one for our Republic

  22. 2013 January 22 11:28 am
    drdog09 permalink

    the Obama regime’s incestuous relationship with the media is a disease…and likely a fatal one for our Republic

    Limbaugh is driving that point home today on his show. He does not use the word fatal, but he is pointing out that the Republicans must come to grips with the fact that the MSM will be gunning for them. They need to be prepared for that fact is his point and they aren’t.

  23. 2013 January 22 11:49 am
    drdog09 permalink

    Anyone who does not believe we are at the pre-revolutionary stage are fooling themselves —


  24. 2013 January 22 12:06 pm
    drdog09 permalink

    No S$%t! — http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-22/1000-chinese-workers-stage-revolt-over-2-minute-bathroom-breaks — All is not well in Freidman’s Chinese workers paradise.

  25. 2013 January 22 1:51 pm
    justrand permalink

    drdog: “Anyone who does not believe we are at the pre-revolutionary stage are fooling themselves

    Actually, all the morons who voted for Obama don’t believe we are…they think it’s all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Then again, in April 1775 only 1/3 of the Colonists thought we were. Another 1/3 FEARED we were…and 1/3 didn’t give a damn.

    The ratio is probably the same today.

    1/3 want Freedom
    1/3 want the government to run their lives…believing a “soft” tyranny is a good thing (and that it will stay “soft”
    1/3 don’t think it matters to them

    Read ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ …Heinlein provides the marching orders for the first 1/3

  26. 2013 January 22 2:16 pm
    bc3b permalink

    JR –

    Unfortunately many in the 1/3 that don’t think it matters to them are “low information voters” and more of them vote for the enemy than our side.

  27. 2013 January 22 2:47 pm
    drdog09 permalink

    “1/3 don’t think it matters to them”

    Don’t doubt the numbers as I have no better data. Of any group in a society, Americans should be keenly aware that there is no `don’t think it matters to them` in a world of mechanized and soon to be intelligent war. Our own civil war professed distinctions between warrior and civilian but scant evidence exists to support the claim. It is no better since. Hell our own country initiates hellfire strikes with drones wiping out whole families. The result listed as collateral damage.

  28. 2013 January 22 4:28 pm
    drdog09 permalink

    The census bureau is NOT about to be outdone by the BLS — http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-01-22/guest-post-real-housing-recovery-story — Its a housing `starts` fairy tale. Adjustments are not reality.

  29. 2013 January 22 6:22 pm
    gnqanq permalink

    drdog: “Anyone who does not believe we are at the pre-revolutionary stage are fooling themselves ”

    Last night I was reading a thread over on AR15 (8 pages long). They were talking about the fact that the average American is having this discussion today. At what point does the federal government cross that line in the sand. People are having hard heart to heart discussions with their spouses on what is coming and how fearful they are. Many KNOW what they may have to do, are not happy about it BUT will do what they must do.

    Many of their comments were how surprised that average Americans were having this discussion. It is not you or me or the average gun owner. But the first time buyer driven to buy a gun and ammo because they fear what is coming. People just don’t go out and (invest) spend $2000 to $3000 on guns and ammo to later turn it in at the local turn in. Two different guys mentioned how their fathers (both in their 60’s) were asking their sons to help them buy an AR15. One guy mentioned how HIS WIFE told him to go out and spent $1000 on ammo that the local gun store got in that day.

    Over the last 4 years, the American public has been arming up. You can not find any 223 caliber guns. You can not find a wide variety of 9 mm guns. Many old Enfields, SKS, Mosin-Nagants, and Mausers are hard if not impossible to find. If it shoots – it is gobbled up. Many manufacturers have a 6 month to 2 year back order at this point.

    What the left will learn is that these things go ugly and they go ugly fast.

  30. 2013 January 22 7:37 pm

  31. 2013 January 22 8:20 pm
    drdog09 permalink


    I am on a waiting list right now for a Mosin-Nagant M44 7.62 carbine. Already have the Mosin-Nagant long 7.62. Why am I getting a second one? Because my wife wants one but lighter. Yes I have had that conversation with the SO. I have also had that conversation brought up by 2 new neighbors at the new abode.

    I think before we get there tho, we all could be doing the following —

    * What is the stance with your local county sheriff vis a vis 2nd amendment? If he says he will follow federal orders; you and your fellow patriots need to mount a campaign to replace him or her. Most of those that I know are elected positions.
    * Same with the Chief of Police in your city. In either position you don’t want local enforcement assisting. The ground work needs to be laid to make the Feds job as hard as possible. If the CoP is a position appointed by the Mayor then a campaign needs to be mounted to again replace the mayor if need be.
    * Does your state have a Castle Doctrine on the books? If not, why not? Again mount up, gather numbers and get your state converted to include it.
    * What is your state governor’s position on 2nd Amendment? Again chuck if you can if the answer is unfavorable.
    * Are you sitting in one of those few states that still do not permit CCW? Is it possible to make it happen? RI probably never, but there are some states that still could be moved over into the CCW column with enough support.

    Bottom line, we need to be preparing the battle space though local and state elections. It needs to be problem number one that is worked on.

  32. 2013 January 22 9:53 pm
    Wylie E. Coyote permalink

    “Obama’s minions got away with Operation Fast and Furious. They got away with Benghazi, Libya. They got away with Solyndra, “Government” Motors and the host of scandals and crimes that have defined Obama’s tenure. I remain aghast that none of Obama’s retinue of circus freaks and goose-stepper wannabes will spend the next 10 to 15 years living out Messina’s secret fantasies in the shower room at Leavenworth. But did they really think they would get away with a frontal assault on a group of people who not only recognize the authority of the Constitution, but are willing to defend it by precisely the means it affords them? What’s more, Obama’s attempts to implement his fascist vision have backfired. Gun sales have leapt into the stratosphere. Some magazine manufacturers have suspended the acceptance of new orders in order to deal with a mounting backlog.

    Obama took national heartbreak and tried to exploit it — and any unattended children within reach — into a blitz on the Bill of Rights.”


  33. 2013 January 23 6:17 am

    What is the stance with your local county sheriff vis a vis 2nd amendment? If he says he will follow federal orders~~MUTLEY

    That whole thing is a strawman scenario. By federal law , local police are PROHIBITED from enforcing federal law. Remember the immigration issue when arizona wanted to do that but was prevented?

    There is no provision in the constitution for the local enforcement of federal mandates. These sheriffs (while I agree with the sentiments) are playing for votes,because they know full well they haven’t the authority to enforce fed law to begin with. If they could, sheriff arpaio would be rounding up and deporting the illegals.

  34. 2013 January 23 6:17 am
    mulletover permalink

  35. 2013 January 23 7:20 am
    JustMary permalink

    Sorry I am just now seeing this great thread!!!! I heart bacon!!!!!!

  36. 2013 January 23 8:54 am
    Mr Evilwrench permalink

    33: I think the distinction is not that the sheriffs will not enforce the federal law, but they will actively work to prevent the feds themselves from doing it.

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