We had our last litter of the year. 6 healthy babies from one of our Hampshire gilts. I love the little red banded boar.
Now that our last litter of the year is on the ground we need to start thinking towards next year. We are going to try to schedule our litters this year. In doing so we hope to spread out the babies to coincide better with demand.
We have already had one hiccup to that thought. Our Hamp sow that we hoped to have a litter out of this week….. decided to come into heat a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t think she was getting big at all, not big enough to have a good litter anyway, but know I realize why. She skipped more than 3 heat cycles, I don’t know if the weather was in play or if it is our boar. She is due to come back into heat this weekend and I am going to watch and see if she comes in again.
If she does not present signs of being in heat, that will mean she is short bred. And that means she will have a litter right in the middle of our coldest time of year. So much for trying to make a schedule. One thing I have learned working with animals, is that mother nature has her own schedule and will slap you with it just for spite.
Even worse, what if she comes back into heat? That means our boar has a potential problem. Good Thing I like the little red Boar!! I guess we will find out this weekend.
It is hard to make money with pigs if you can’t get them sold. Getting started in marketing your pigs will take a lot of trial and error. Every farm’s local market will differ and you may need to experiment with marketing plans to find what is most productive.
I have found that for my area Craigslist works the best. I also try to make sales by word of mouth, networking, Facebook groups, and referrals. I try to get word out in as many places that I can. The further I can cast out my info the better I feel about getting my products sold.
I do make sales from word of mouth, networking, and referrals, but those sales are random and hard to rely on. The Facebook groups I list my pigs on are almost worthless, but fun to watch. The other members of those Facebook groups act like vultures waiting for the unsuspecting person that undervalues his pigs. They latch on to posts to watch. Maybe they are trying to learn, but I have never had a serious inquiry from one of my Facebook posts.
I have sold almost all of my pigs from ads on Craigslist. I post my ads in three local markets as soon as I know how many piglets I have to sell. I advertise them up to three weeks before I wean them. My goal is to have every piglet spoken for before I wean them, the longer you feed them the more money you lose. If you have them listed for sale before you wean them, you are less likely to be anxious to make a sale and less likely to take a lessor offer.
If you have litters planned, but not yet on the ground, don’t be afraid to advertise. Building a reservation list for feeder pigs, gives you a stand-by market. Working off of a reservation list gives your pigs a built in appearance of high demand. The appearance of high demand gives the buyer confidence to purchase and makes them less likely to try to dicker on price. Soon you will be working off of a reservation list because you can’t keep up with the demand.