Sunday, December 26, 2010

OK ~ No more teasing!

Some of you did guess correctly.  I am now the proud owner of two, American Guinea Hog gilts (young females).  "Holly" and "Ivy" are about 9 weeks old and come from farms in Wisconsin and Indiana.

There are lots of reasons why I decided to see how I like raising a few hogs.    I have to confess that one of the main reasons is because I LOVE fresh, pasture raised pork!   Guinea Hogs are much smaller and require much less intense care & feeding than commercial hog breeds.  On average, they weigh between 150 and 250 (adult boars) pounds.  I like the idea of controlling what goes into my meat supply and pasture sounds better to me than chemically laden, processed, hormone enhanced growth stimulating feed. 

The American Guinea Hog  is listed as critically endangered  by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy

 Because of their critically endangered ranking on the ALBC  List of endangered species, there is also a good market for quality breeding stock.


Similar to Shetland sheep, compared to 'commercial breeds,  Guinea Hogs are smaller (by about half!) than the typical hogs produced today ~   although Shetlands have recovered from their once, endangered listing, the American Guinea Hog is still at risk of extinction.  Guinea hogs are great foragers and need very little grain to supplement their diet of browse, pasture, table scraps, garden leftovers and hay.

   Guinea Hogs are ideal for small, homestead farming and make great 'backyard' pigs .  They are easily tamed and love having their bellies rubbed!  Holly and Ivy won't be living in my backyard, but I do intend to run them with my sheep.  They will 'free-range', in the pasture, with the Shetlands and have access to the barn, just like the sheep.  That is the plan, anyway!  I'll let you know how it works out...  ;-) 

"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
Sir Winston Churchill


I'm starting out with the two, young females to get an idea of how I like having pigs around!  If all goes well and they fit in with my lifestyle (do I even have a "Lifestyle"???), I will have them bred this summer and should have piglets available by the end of the summer or early fall!  .  American Guinea hogs can have two litters each year.  I will most likely lease a boar so that I can continue my policy of not keeping adult breeding males on the premises.   I have already spoken with a breeder who is interested in bartering the use of one of her (very nice quality) boars, in exchange for spinning/felting/knitting lessons.  Bartering is good!

A meaningful quote borrowed from the homepage of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy:  "...when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again." 
 -William Beebe

  For anyone interested in learning more about Guinea Hogs,  visit the ALBC website or check out the American Guinea Hog Association (AGHA) site and find a list of breeders near you!  I hope you'll follow along and share my adventure with American Guinea Hogs!

DREAM says...


I'm thinkin' we better get back to the photo selection process...


  1. Very cute and adorable. I think you'll have a hard time eating them when the time comes, if it ever does! Those eyes, so trusting, so faithful. Such intelligent animals.
    Blessings, Star

  2. Hello Nancy! Well my guess when I read the post on Saturday were that they were goats! But these 2 are just as precious and I'll look forward to seeing your babies grow up!

  3. I love your pigs sooo cute! I gave up raising pigs for meat years ago. They grow up so sweet and intelligent that I can't eat my own pigs anymore! Even those big commercial guys. You will have fun with pigs ;o)

  4. They are really cute, Nancy! I'm surprised at the size of their delightfully beautiful eyes. Can you really eat something you've named? Scratch that - rude question!!! You did say you would be breeding them, so they might be part of the family for good.

    Poor Dream - there's always something to take away the attention!!!

    Nancy in Iowa

  5. they are very cute mom, and I must admit, I like that they're pets with a purpose. Even being a vegetarian for almost a decade now, I wouldn't have any qualms about you raising animals for meat. I know they'd have the best life of any livestock on the market! And that should be a pretty profitable market for you as well! thats a long way off though of course! For now, welcome pretty piggie ladies! :) ...and Dream's comment is hilarious!!!

  6. F.Y.I.

    Holly & Ivy will not be raised for meat. They will be breeding stock. My plan is to have extra males be the meat providers.

  7. Oh! If I was to approve of my lady getting piggies I think Guinea hogs would be on the list! They are very cute! Do. Not. Give. My. Lady. Ideas. ! Of course, nothing that comes here to her farm gets eaten so the purpose of piggies would be defeated and we'd be a many-piggie farm. Sigh.

  8. Anonymous5:38 PM

    Dreamer! I should come down there and wash your mouth with (Nancy's homemade Goat's Milk)SOAP!

    You learned to like last year's Christmas Animal, and I expect you to like these girls too! Just IMAGINE what I could bring to the farm NEXT Christmas!!!


    Katie in MN

    p.s. Dreamer, I got your mother some lovely cookie cutters, so she can make you wonderful animal cookies!

  9. I was thinking of Tamworth pigs, if I can find any when we're able to get animals; but from all you've said here, these might be a possibility, too.

    I look forward to seeing how things go for you. :)

  10. Lovely girls Nancy. We have been looking at the American Guineas for 3 years and their qualities put them in the limited list of 4 breeds we have consider for our farm.

    Good luck with the combo of pigs and sheep. My Shetlands absolutely hated my pigs this year. They clearly thought the pigs were just too bizarre, especially when the 3 pigs would get happy and chase each other squealing in delight. The cross sheep were more tolerant actually, but then they don't have the same brilliant personalities as the Shetlands.

    A word to the wise...get them started on electric as soon as you possibly can. They are incredibly smart and will learn very quickly, but if you wait too long they are more willing to take the shock to get to what they want. The babies tend to respect the electric more intensely and retain that respect under a wider range of temptations at an older age.

    Darling babies!

  11. Very Nice Nancy! Good Luck with the piggies.

  12. Oh my, what a couple cuties. I think I could have a couple of those myself. Of coarse, my husband would know I'd finally lost what's left of my mind. :D
    I thought the censored quote was very clever.

  13. CONGRATS! I love piggys! I've heard only good and some wonderful things about these like you have. I think you'll enjoy them immensely (most of the time, excluding those random moments of chaos with any livestock)! Pigs are quite trainable too. Be sure to start training them to come to a certain call as it can sure save some work!

    Have fun with them!



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