For those with some spare time and extra land, starting a small pig farm can be a fun way to earn extra money. Whether you raise pigs as pets or for food, knowing how to properly care for the health and well-being of your pigs is essential. You don't have to be an experienced farmer or a savvy business person to start a small pig farm, but you do need to follow some basic guidelines to have a successful farm.
Evaluate your space. Decide how much of your property you want to devote to your pig farm and how many pigs you can realistically tend. For every two pigs, you should devote a 5-by 5-foot space for sleeping and a 10-by-10 foot space for eating.
Construct an enclosure for your pigs. A pig enclosure needs to be covered to protect the pigs from the elements and must be well ventilated. Raise pigs in barns with individual stalls or in one large pen. Install a cooling system like a drip water irrigation system to keep the pigs from overheating. Create separate areas for sleeping and eating.
Purchase piglets. Choose piglets that are four- to eight-weeks old and weigh 20 to 50 pounds. Do not pick the runt of the litter because it will not grow large enough to sell for meat.
Give your pigs adequate food and water. Supplement food scraps and soiled produce from your garden with pig feed that is formulated to contain needed vitamins and nutrients. Keep your pigs' water supply full and refresh the supply daily.
Monitor your pigs' health. To keep your pigs free from disease, give them a wormer each month and vaccinate them for the most common swine diseases.
Keeping your pigs cool is imperative, as pigs can not sweat to cool themselves. Before you invest time and money, check to make sure there are no special regulations at the local or state level that would prevent you from having a pig farm.
Born and raised in Florida, Rachael Anne Ryals has been writing since 2007. Her specialties include environmental and health-related issues. Ryals' work has appeared in "The North Florida Herald" and in various other online publications. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Science in journalism. Ryals also studied nutrition at the University of Florida.