Pig or Sheep? Which would be better? - Mothering Forums
Country Living / Off the Grid > Pig or Sheep? Which would be better?
robin4kids's Avatar robin4kids 05:32 AM 03-29-2011

In case you read my other thread, we are still up in the air as to whether we will continue to live in this house. In the mean time we are continuing to figure out if the country life is for us. We have bought chicks and are watching them grow. Bunnies, that we won at an auction and now we want to go for something a little bigger.


Last weekend we went to the most unusual thing I have ever seem. It was an auction that sold live farm animals and food, like eggs. I know other people are laughing because it is not unusual at all to them, but it was such a strange and fun experience for our family. It happens every Wed. in this old barn. It is just a crack up watching them hank these bunnies and rooster and hens out of boxes and cages and hold them up to be bid on. everything went CHEAP! We got 4 doz farm eggs for 1.40 a dozen. Around here they go for $3 a doz. Our bunnies were $7 each.


We are thinking of getting either a pig, or a sheep, now. Any thought? Which is easier?Which cost less to raise? Sheep would be for wool. Pig might be for meat, or to be sold later, when it gets bigger, if we can't bare to eat the thing. All the animals can be sold at the auction if we do need to move.

PenelopeJune's Avatar PenelopeJune 06:30 AM 03-29-2011

I personally would choose a pig. That would be the simplest to raise, and then you can take to a butcher to be processed. It's also a quicker project, I would think.


Do you know anyone skilled at sheep shearing? I think that processing the wool is a fairly lengthy process, and if there is no where local to get it done you'll have to do all that yourself. (Farmama does a lot of posts about processing her wool, you might check out her blog and read back a few months.) I'm not sure that one sheep would be profitable.


My $.02! I don't have either animal, just my thought process as I have decided I want to raise a pig. I would love a small flock of sheep, but I think that if you are only going to do one animal, I'd choose a pig.

Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 06:37 AM 03-29-2011

Both make good eating. I might lean sheep if you had enough pasture to support it, and I'd lean pig if you have proper housing and fencing.

limette's Avatar limette 09:30 AM 03-29-2011
Pig for sure. Quick and easy.

Sheep require a really good fence to protect them from predators and you'll get a lot less meat for a higher price. Plus they need good pasture. Pigs just need feed and scraps.
robin4kids's Avatar robin4kids 12:51 PM 03-29-2011

Oh good I was thinking PIG too, but then my husband mentioned a sheep. Yes i would love the wool, but after seeing the sheep at the auction I was not excited about it. The sheep was huge and uncooperative. I am not saying the pig was much better, but it was smaller.

Oakshire's Avatar Oakshire 02:44 PM 03-29-2011

There are pro's and cons to each...... but one thing to remember they both will need a buddy! 


SHEEP - you need to have very good fencing to keep everything out

             - they need to be sheared, unless you get a non hair breed

             - they need companions!  They do not do well on their own

             - in my experience, they are always looking for a way to commit suicide!  I never lost one, but had many attempts



PIGS - you need to fence them in!  They can escape from just about anything!

          - they are great land clearers, if you have some over grown land

         -  they are fast growers and very good at finding there own food

         - great composters

          - they need good shelter, from both cold and hot.  They have no hair to protect them from the elements

         - they get tame very easy, it is easier to distance your self from them to make butcher time easier. 

         - they are VERY smart! 

         - they are meat eaters, it is not safe to let chickens run with them, as they grow, NEVER let children in with them!


I have raised both of these animals and I now stick with cows and chickens.  Cows are much easier to be around, you can get so much more out of a cow.  You can breed a cow, once she calves you can get milk and raise up her calf to butcher.  You can keep a single cow, breed her each year and you will have a buddy for her, and meat for the freezer and milk for the fridge.

limette's Avatar limette 06:31 PM 03-29-2011
Tamworth pigs have hair and were winter hardy here in Zone 5. Our pig loved our kids but we supervised play.
daisycullen2003's Avatar daisycullen2003 11:59 PM 05-27-2011

i have goats, chickens, ducks, and a llama. just got 2 pigs about 3 months ago. i wouldn't say they are super easy to raise. we set them up in a 1 acre pasture a bit of a walk from our house (they do smell a bit even though they are out in a pasture) and hauling out their food every day is work! i usually feed them 2-3 times per day because i can't carry out what they need only going once. my husband works at a dairy processor so i feed them mostly dairy from their "pig shed" basically just dairy products whose cartons have been damaged somehow. plus it takes time to unpackage all of their food every day!  i also feed them whole oats and barley. they eat A LOT! i don't know how i would do it if i didn't have the dairy from my husband's work. buying organic pig feed would be so expensive where i live in northern california. in hindsight i probably would have gotten the pigs later in the spring or even the fall (we got them in feb) because food would be easier to source. i am thinking apples and pumpkins and other veggies and fruits.


and yes their is also the issue of pigs potentially being aggressive. i have heard too many horror stories and now that they are much bigger i am a bit afraid to go into their pasture to feed them! i know people have had wonderful experiences with pigs, too. i will definitely do this again but they are more work than my other animals.



Alyantavid's Avatar Alyantavid 08:58 AM 05-28-2011

Pig for sure.  Pigs are fun and really easy.  All they need is some shelter and a sturdy fence (they'll root so keep that in mind when making your fence).  I've never raised sheep, but the ones I've been around haven't been really friendly.  Pigs are great though.

forestrymom's Avatar forestrymom 09:20 AM 05-28-2011

I grew up with pigs around, and I never heard not to let kids in with them. They were feeder hogs, though, not mothers and fathers, and we always butchered when they were about 5 months old or so (I think). They are delicious to eat, fun to have around, but you still need more than one.