Posted 2/10/2019 19:19 (#7311857 - in reply to #7311445) Subject: RE: Abstract: What if there were no Hog Confinements?
Oh my! Where to begin???
Hogs raised outside could be as much work as you want it to be, or as little work as you want it to be.
Experienced outside hogs as a kid/teenager. Used to be a seasonal high price around June for fat hogs, because no one wanted to pig in December or January. Usually just 2 litters a year, spring and fall. As we slowly modernized our hog operation, Dad would try to have litters in the winter to hit that seasonal high in the summer. If forced to raise hogs outside, I bet you would see seasonal trends again.
We pigged a lot in Smidley type huts/pens in a row on concrete. But if the weather was nice and if more sows going to pig than room, just let them pig outside in little quonset huts. When pigs get up to 45-60# gather them all up and work them. Castrating 60 pound pigs is a lot of fun! (Probably be considered real humane too in today's society) Kids at school would comment on the size of my Dad's arm's!!!
One problem I see with trying to switch back would be the genetics of today's hogs. Boars don't even know how to jump a sow. It's all A.I. I suspect today's sows wouldn't know how to make a bed or raise a litter. We tried pigging daughters show pig a few years ago, dang thing wanted to eat every pig, a crate would have come in handy that night.
I think there would be ways to modernize outdoor hogs, but still be a lot of work. We used to stand on the tailgate of the pickup and throw 5 gallon buckets of corn over the fence to the sows. If I was to do it now, use the Hydra-Bed cake feeder and just drive down a path or fence line like we do cattle. Still have to gather and work pigs at some point, bed huts with straw, etc.
Least cost producer would probably survive just fine in what you propose. Let'em pig in timber, sink or swim type attitude, keep the best doing gilts for future sows and don't cut the biggest boar at gathering time!