Owning a piggery is attractive to many enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Piggeries raise pigs for breeding or slaughter and are found throughout the country. Startup costs can be as low as $3,000, depending on size, which can make owning a piggery business a lucrative opportunity.
Determine the size of your piggery. For a small-scale operation, your backyard may suffice. However, you’ll need a much larger area if you plan on raising more than ten sows at a time. A “land use permit” may be required, depending on the size of your piggery. Regulations and fees can vary, so check with your state's Department of Commerce. Get involved with associations such as the National Pork Producers Council and benefit from the experience, ideas and knowledge of fellow pig farmers.
Decide if you’ll raise pigs as “fatteners” to sell once they have reached about 40 pounds, of if you’ll focus on pig breeding. You can profit with either business model, but the way you organize you business will revolve around this decision. There are time-critical elements to take into account before deciding. It can take between four to six months for a sow to give birth, so if you’re breeding pigs, you’ll need to plan accordingly. Once born, fatteners take only a month to 45 days to reach optimum selling weight.
Obtain your license and permits. Apply for your business license at your local courthouse. Check with your local city hall to determine if you need a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, “If you discharge from a point source into the waters of the United States, you need an NPDES permit. If you discharge pollutants into a municipal sanitary sewer system, you do not need an NPDES permit, but you should ask the municipality about their permit requirements.” The fees and costs will vary depending on state and county regulations.
Purchase pigs, supplies and equipment. Your environment will determine the best type of pigs to raise in your part of the country. Some pigs are best suited for warmer, outdoor climates, while others fare better indoors. They can be purchased from local stockbreeders, or through online sources. Only purchase pigs that have been immunized. Pigs are susceptible to infections, so make sure they are kept in a clean, dry area with a suitable drainage system. Buy antibacterial sprays and wash your pigs once a day. This will help minimize any odors. Buy corn, soybeans and grains to feed them. You will also need to purchase vitamins and supplements for the piglets.
Generate long-term, repeat clients. This can be accomplished by selling your pigs at livestock auctions or directly to butchers. A higher price per sow can usually be obtained at an auction because the animals are put on display before a large group of potential buyers. Use livestock auctions as a way to network and build relationships with future customers.