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Cost of Pork – Grow Your Own

The whole time we have had these little piggies (that then became big piggies) they have been the bane of my existence.  A pain in my neck.  A constant frustration.  They escaped constantly, they squealed loudly, they became big and intimidating although not because they had done anything to make us intimidated, we just read scary stories.  But now I am feeling pretty good about our pig raising experience.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays hosted by Ann Marie this week.  Go check out others that are doing the Real Food thing this week.

This is Jefferson shortly after he arrived at our place.  He was a wee little thing.

This is Jefferson yesterday as he considers climbing into our trap stock trailer to go meet his end.  I’ll spare you the details proceeding this pictures but if you’d like some idea of how it all went down and why it took over 5 hours to catch the pig you can see the previous enactment here. So Jefferson went to that big pig pen in the sky and we are rejoicing that he won’t be in our backyard anymore.


Instead, he’ll taste fine in tacos.

And covered in gravy.

Now for the cost breakdown.

Cost to butcher: $.43/lb plus $20 kill fee.

Jefferson weighed 305 (!!!!) lbs!!

Total cost to butcher: $151.15 $112.18  They actually charge on the hanging weight and not the live weight.

We also fed the animal for 8 months.

We fed 1 gallon/day of a grain mixture called 50/50 plus all of our kitchen scraps.

The bag of 50/50 is about 6 gallons and costs $6.  Thank heavens for easy math!!

So each gallon costs $1 and we fed him for 240 days.  Lord, it seemed much longer than that!!

Feed costs were approximately $240 over the course of 8 months.

$240 + $151.15 $112.18 = $352.18 total cost.

The hang weight is typically 70% of the live weight which would yield us 213.5lbs.

We will net 213.5 214lbs of meat (not counting the fat we requested as well) for $391.15 $352.18 which leaves us with a total per pound cost of $1.83 $1.65.

Pretty good even though he was a pain in the rear.  We may do this again.

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21 comments to Cost of Pork – Grow Your Own

  • FarmSchooler

    Yep, thats about how it works out. Ours got leftover pecans and windfall apples and anything else we could scavenge day to day. Oh and most of our buttermilk and leftover kefir went to them too…the chickens really like the leftover kefir. They also got an occasional CHICKEN that was dumb enough to get too close. We didnt do grain feed at all, though did use beet pulp and BOSS daily. We process at home. The cuts arent near as pretty, but they get better with each experience :o)

  • Thanks for breaking the costs down. I’m looking into the most cost effective way to raise our own meat.

  • The cost would have been less if we had moved their pasture. They ate it all down and then there was nothing there for several months. Next time. :)

  • Mrs.MegLogan

    Ok, I gotta know, can it have been done for less? Either is it feasible to butcher the thing yourself? feed it less?? or less expensive food?? (I see that part about rotating pastures btw)

    What kind of work effort goes into a pig on a day by day basis? How much time to feed it? Do you muck it’s barn? tell me more.


  • That’s a really good price for pork! You can barely beat that price on a good sale @ the store.

    The pig was cute when he was little, but I would have been afraid of him big. I have to LOL @ “pigpen in the sky”.

  • Heather

    I would love to be able to find pig feed for that price. We feed our pigs an assortment of thing to keep cost down. We picked up leftover fish from fish market, we picked up the food off a roach coach and then had to sit there and open each package up, and then day old bread that I could pick up for $5 a rack. But I do not have access to any of it now.
    So it was $6 a 50lb sack. That is a good deal.

  • littledebbie

    I tell you, Katie, you’ve gotta learn to butcher at home! That would’ve brought the cost down to $1.12/lb, and you might have gotten even more out of it.

    Butchering at home is no fun, but it saves a lot of money! We’ve butchered two of our sheep so far. The second time definitely went better. Once you take all costs into consideration, it was probably about $30 for a whole sheep in the freezer.

  • littledebbie

    Now that I’ve found where I’d written down the animal costs… It actually amounted to $10 plus hay and grain for the winter and while nursing. And with that, we got 2 sheep in the freezer and still have two in the yard from that flock. Not bad, eh? Next year’s meat will be even cheaper, as the starter flock has reimbursed itself.

  • Actually, butchering at home is kind of fun. Sometimes. It gets more fun as we get better at it. So far we’ve done half a dozen dear and 5 or 6 dozen chickens (over the past 7 years) Oh, and an elk 9 years ago.

    Last year we bought a stainless steel restaurant kitchen prep table and sink with drainboard ($100 each) out of someone’s front yard (dontcha love the country?) and I am looking forward to using them the next time we have something to hack to pieces…I mean butcher.

    I may have to look into a pig or two. We’ve talked about it but never very in depth. You have me thinking. Again :)

  • littledebbie

    We haven’t gotten to the fun point yet, I guess. For the first sheep, we sent our older kids (3 and 20 months or so at the time) to a friend’s house and of course kept our brand newborn with us. For the second one, we had a friend come to our house to watch the kids (4, 2.5, and 1 by then).

  • I’m glad to hear you got him up to 300 lbs in 8 months. Our 3 little piggies from last year were only 5-1/2 months old when we sent them off to the great pig pen in the sky. They were small. Tasty though. We’re going for 8 months this year. Smaller pigs just don’t have any lard and the sausage is a bit on the lean side.

    What exactly was in your pig feed?

    Also, if you can get a slab of unprocessed bacon, try this:

    It is oh so yummy!! And you can do it yourself!!

    I want a stainless steel set up like Lindsey mentions! Been looking!

  • Melissa

    My husband and I helped some church friends with butchering their pig last year. It wasn’t bad, though very greasy work. The men would cut the meat and bring it into the kitchen in large tubs, and us ladies would wash and trim and package. We ground some into sausage and seasoned it. We rendered the fat and poured it into coffee cans that she had been saving, then those went right into the freezer. It was a fun day, and we left with some lard and a roast ;o) My husband is a professional chef though, and knows how to cut up an animal. Maybe you could see if you have any friends that are willing to have a butchering party next time :o)

  • Oh, pig butchering is soooo much fun at our house. I grew up amish and we have always done it ourselves. It is a fun family tradition. The lard gets rendered and poured boiling hot into qt jars and they seal on their own. We make chops, roasts, hams, bacon, sausage. we also make scrapple and liverwurst which you probably aren’t familiar with unless you have amish or mennonite background. We have it for breakfast along with fried mush or stewed crackers. (what? you don’t know what that is either? what DO “english” people eat for breakfast, anyway!)

  • Reggie

    Though it’s not of the same quality, and of course not organic, I recently bought a boneless sirloin pork roast at Safeway for $1.99/lb. That hardly makes it worth going to all the trouble of raising and butchering one’s own.

  • We butchered two pigs this year, and two last year. Definitely not impossible. We moved their pasture some, they loved rooting up the garden. :-) Plus, it helps prep the ground for the next planting.

  • Linda7NJ

    sob…sniff sniff….he was so cute

    I’m now in mourning. :(

    scrapple and liverwurst …..very popular here in South Jersey. I suppose it’s because of Lancaster PA

    Do you have Taylor’s Pork Roll or make it yourselves? Ever hear of it?

  • Beth

    Jefferson did not die in vain. After telling my dh all about your raising pigs and butchering Jeff, er Jefferson,
    dh said, “How about having a large garden next year?” after nixing that idea for some time now. (He knows how I tend to plant things and then let them die…)
    So, thank you, Jefferson, wherever/whatever you are!

  • Aunt Bea

    Katie, Happy to hear you got so much pork from dear Jefferson! How I wish I had enough land to raise meat and eggs. Best I can do for now is to raise all of the garden stuff that I can. Finally figured out what was wrong with my green peas…they looked like something had bit the tops off of the plants. Seems our local Quail population loves to snack on all the gardens in the area. O.K. so they ate a few peas…I can live with that…but today!…I found some just planted red onions that had been dug up and trampled! The nerve of those birds! Quail, anyone? In answer to Rachel…I grew up in Iowa where there is an Amish area. I’ve been to a pig butchering…not sure if I could do it all on my own. We used to go over to dh parent’s farm and dress out 30 chickens a year. Usually on a nice fall weekend. All of the married kids, spouses, grandbabies would be there to help with the chickens and to get some late corn to freeze for later. Yum!
    My grandmother on my dad’s side of the family was mennonite and could she cook! There were 12 or 13 kids in my dad’s family so she got a lot of practice cooking! Maybe we should all meet at Katie’s next year and help her butcher a pig at the farm! What about it Katie??! Hugs, Aunt Bea

    P.S. Oh, yeah…the liverwurst…I love liverwurst. Many of my own kids will eat liverwurst…and their friends are just about gagging! I guess it’s just all in what you are raised with!

  • Jessi

    OK, we’ve got the baby calves, when they get old enough to eat, do we grain them before we butcher? I’ve seen too much contradictory stuff about feeding “store grain” and just pasture feeding. (wich is what we will be doing after they are off the bottle) I’m not so sure we’ll venture into the pork business until we have our own land and not “borrowing” my f-i-l’s.


    I’m looking for another link to a great video but can’t find it right now. I’ll get back to you. :)

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