Chocolate’s three little girls are ready to go!
Born on October 21, 2011, Chocolate’s piglets are now over 8 weeks old and have been weaned and moved to a new pen. They are doing well eating commercial pig feed, and despite being little, still, (although they are bigger than this picture shows) are doing just fine in their new pen. The three snuggle up in their little shed together to sleep and show no signs of being too cold. I have to keep reminding myself that when we got Peppermint Patty at this time last year, who was 8 weeks old at the time, she was in a pen alone for the rest of the winter, which was often bitter cold, below zero temps and survived a blizzard just fine.
Actually, that’s one of the reasons why we chose American Guinea Hogs to raise. They are VERY hardy. Unlike the “regular” pigs you see at county fairs, which have very little hair, these pigs have a lot of hair. Another thing that I think helps is that they are black. If you’ve ever touched a black dog in the summer, you know that their fur gets almost hot, but a lighter-colored dog doesn’t. I’m sure that the black hair and skin of the Guinea Hogs help them stay warmer by absorbing some of the warmth from the sun. Another thing that I think helps is they are classified as a “lard” pig. Which means if they overeat they get fat. Very easily. It doesn’t take much for them to overeat. The amount of food recommended for them to keep them from getting too fat is ridiculously small. And the pigs seem to think we’re starving them to death by the way they grunt and squeal when we come out to feed them. But others who keep them on pasture and hardly give them anything extra complain that they get fat very easily. The problem with that being that if they are fat, they have trouble breeding, and it’s obviously unhealthy for other reasons. But I think that a little extra fat is helpful for the few months that it’s so cold, and what helps them be the hardy critters that they are.
Another reason we got them, is that they are a smaller pig than is commercially raised these days. Full grown, they are only 300-400 pounds, instead of 1000 pounds. In addition to their hardiness, this also makes them a good choice for a small farm or homesteading family. Once we bought 2 standard feeder pigs to raise for the summer and then had them butchered in the fall. That was nice, but not sustainable. There was no way I was going to be able to keep a full-sized male and female pig to raise piglets for our own use on 1 1/2 acres. Plus I’d read about the troubles they have with laying on their babies and other issues. Not for me. But the Guinea Hogs are less than half the size, hardy and good mothers, rarely laying on the babies. Another advantage to being smaller is that some people don’t want a 150-200 pound pig to put in the freezer. At 9-12 months of age, Guinea Hogs will be around 90 pounds, so you don’t need quite as much freezer space.
I have to admit that once I understood all these advantages, and then found that I could get them for only $150 or $200 each – I was sold. I bought my first one a week later and within 2 months had 3 of them. Now, one year later, we’ve had our first 2 litters, and I can honestly say that I still love these hogs. In addition to all of the above, they have wonderful personalities. We’ve gone in the pens with our sows the same day they had piglets and they don’t mind a bit. They grunt a little when a baby squeals when we pick one up, but that’s it. They know us and trust us. We talk to them and pet them daily. When we go into their pens, they rub against our legs and say hello. This fall when I was securing smaller-gauge fencing to keep piglets in the pen, Chocolate was trying to crawl into my lap and snuggle like a dog! And like a dog, they love a good belly rub. If I didn’t want them for meat production, I might just think about keeping one for a pet.
So, the first three piglets are now available for sale. Just like the first one we bought, we are charging $150 for each AGHA registered guinea hog if it’s being purchased for breeding. For feeder pigs, they will be $50 each, with no registration papers.