I mentioned Penelope, our American Guinea Hog gilt in this post.
I wanted an AGH to see if they really do require less feed.
Here’s a couple pics of Penelope the day we bought her…
She was so small. She could actually fit through the holes of the hog panel.
Here’s a pic of her two days ago…
Miss Penelope has gotten fat. About a week ago, the chub was like a mat wrapped around her middle. It looked like it was almost an inch thick. Since then, the roll has extended forward. Now she has a roll of fat above her eyes and you can see where she’s developing fat on her neck and abdomen.
Penelope is sharing a space with three other gilts who are all older and bigger than her. She is at the bottom of the pecking order, having to sneak bites of feed when the others aren’t looking. And she’s gotten fat.
This is great. We have a pig that requires less feed.
The bad news is that AGHs (American Guinea Hogs) don’t get big and they aren’t fast growing. I can expect Penelope to reach 100 lbs in 8 months. My other breeds will be somewhere between 200 and 300 lbs in the same amount of time.
Let’s say I have a 250 lb. pig of another breed at 8 months. I can expect a hanging weight of 180 lbs. or 144 lbs. of cuts. The AGH will be 100 lbs. live weight and give about 50 lbs. of cuts. I might be able to get up to 100 lbs. of cuts if I grow the AGH for two years.
So, I have pigs that grow fast but take a lot of feed, which is expensive. To be financially successful, I have to sell a lot of piglets, butcher pigs and cuts all the time, because I’m feeding my breeders the feed all of the time. Each one of my breeders eats about 2,500 lbs. of feed a year. I pay money to save growth time.
Or I can raise a really slow growing pig that can probably grow on pasture or hay alone (still will need minerals). I spend time to save on money.
Maybe I can cross Penelope with another breed and have the best of both worlds–a pig that grows fast on pasture.