I'm selling a lot of the pure pot belly piglets for $35 as pets to people. Folks are telling me they're allergic to dogs and cats and not to pigs, so I guess that makes sense. We'll catch a 6 - 8 week old piglet and keep it in the house a few days in a cage and they get pretty friendly - we hand-feed them multiple times a day and get them used to being petted and touched, teach them about belly rubs. Then they're ready for people to pick up and bond with. They really do recognize people - my husband tried to go in with a sow with 8 week old babies and she bit his boots
! She'd never been the least bit aggressive with me so it was a surprise, but he doesn't interact with them much.
But yeah, we're going to keep and eat enough
to keep our family in fresh pork, and maybe build a smoker too. I got a boar that's Guinea Hog and Tamworth, so his offspring will be a little bigger and more meaty - he's actually nicer than the pot belly pigs, as far as temperament, and plays with the little babies (that aren't his - so far). The litter in the photo is the first that he's the father of, so we can't wait to see how they turn out. The spotted one looks to be a bit bigger than the others these days. I'll be selling them as outdoor pets or mini meat pigs, they should
have great temperaments and get just a little bigger than a pot belly pig. The boar is just a little bigger than the pot belly sows, and boars do usually get bigger so I don't think
he'll hurt them breeding them or make too large babies for them to birth.
If a pot belly pig is 250 pounds and it's mostly fat then that pig has been overfed. It's easy to do when they're pets - they love to eat and they beg so well, but it's not healthy for an animal to be obese, and they don't make good breeders like that. I feed
mine twice a day plus they have paddocks of green grassy pasture. They stay pretty lean - the males' bellies clear the ground by 4-5 inches, and the females don't carry a whole lot of weight either, tho they put on a bit more than the males, as a reserve for making milk
. When they have babies it gets used up and they start to look a little skinny by weaning time. I think at weaning you wouldn't find a whole lot of fat on the sow but the rest have maybe 1/2 inch of fat under the skin. They're not underfed - the evidence is there - the sows have good sized litters (for pot belly pigs - 6 - 8 is the norm), make plenty of milk and the babies grow very quickly (and the babies are fat).
If I wanted more lard I could feed them more and they'd gain quickly, but the quality of the lard would depend on what they're fed. I'm thinking now of trying quality organic corn, because that's known to fatten pigs so well, and I imagine if you had a dairy
excess and the dairy animals were grass- or alfalfa-fed that would make good quality fat, but if you fatten them on pellets of questionable content or GMO corn or bakery leftovers then for my family at least, that's not worth it, because all kinds of chemicals, drugs, etc. end up stored in the fat. One thing that's been left unclear so far with pork is that "pasture-raised" or "pasture-fed" rarely means they eat 100% what they find in a pasture. Most producers feed them and just keep them in a pasture (with some it's a bare dirt one). But still, we feed the chickens which are free-range but their yolks reflect the rest of their diet - dark orange and excellent flavor, I imagine if a pig has unlimited access to green grass but is fed some grain the fat will still reflect the health benefits of the green grass. Some times of year the sugars in the grass go really high and they could probably even get fat on grass, but during the heat of summer and all winter the other feed is pretty necessary, I believe.