The economics of a Sow and her Piglets

A sow with five piglets.  Conventional agriculture might describe this as a unsuccessful farrowing.  However, this would be an average litter size for a Mulefoot Hog.  This farrowing represents Evergreen East’s fourth “successful” farrowing and smallest (1st three – 7, 7, 6).  I’d like to consider this in the context of sustainability and determine if this farrowing could be considered a favorable outcome.

To get to the point of this farrowing, the sow had to be raised for the last 15 months to get her to this fruitful stage of her life.  But, we have to consider that she will now farrow a litter every 6 months or so for the next four or five years.  So, each farrowing requires supporting the sow for about 7 months (6 for the heat, gestation, farrowing, and weaning and one for the first nine or so months prior to heat)  Also, for every so many sows, a boar must be raised.  We have five sows currently, so this farrowing required raising 1/5 of a boar – he was only needed about six months ago though, so 1/5 of six months. So, we would need to determine the cost of raising a boar for 6 months and a sow for 7 months.  This amount would be added to the cost of raising each pig – in this case the cost can be spread across five pigs.  This assumes all five are still with us at weaning age.  Determining these costs will have to be the subject of a future blog post…

The above is only the purely economic sustainability discussion.  We also should consider the environmental benefits to this farrowing.  An environmental benefit of the Mulefoot hog is that they are extremely hardy…these pigs can be raised outdoors with very minimal infrastructure.  The Mulefoot’s are excellent graziers, consuming pasture with vigor, and fattening on plant sources not readily available at the local corn or soybean silo.  These pigs are parasite resistant, heat and cold tolerant, and extremely docile…making them the perfect small farm pig.  They can be used to provide fertility, plow garden land, and clear pasture land.  All the while doing these things, the Mulefoot Hog is creating a most wonderful meat.  Can’t think of a better environmental reason to raise these hogs.  For now, let’ say definitely a prosperous farrowing…more to come on the economics…

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  1. Cool. Have you ever thought about selling breeding pairs, so folks like me down in SE Texas can raise some on our little farm?

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