How to measure pigs (for weight)

There’s a nice formula for estimating the weight of your pig.  This is handy to know and be able to do because you don’t want to take your piggies to market (so to speak) before they weigh enough, or there won’t be much meat coming back home to you.

The formula is super easy: girth x girth x length (from tail base to near ears) and then divide that answer by 400. That gives you a good estimate of what your pigs weigh.

Now, if you have pigs that act like dogs, roll over for belly scratches, and think the moon and sun set with your movements, then kudos to you (please email me to tell me what I’m doing wrong!).  You just trot yourself on out there with your notebook and pencil and tape measure, and you get right down on the ground with them and get your perfect measurements (and know I’m blowing raspberries at you from here).  Your weight calculation will be a fine tuned perfect number and likely dead on accurate.

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My brat pigs…maybe this is their teenage time???

If you have pigs like mine though that barely tolerate being touched and only really allow it because they know I bring the slop bucket, then this post is for you!  Seriously,  I don’t know why they don’t love me like the rest of the animals.  I feed them treats daily, scratch their ears and backs, talk to them, never ever hit them, and made Ted set up a huge fenced area for them.  I don’t know why they aren’t all over me!

I digress.

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Bitsy and Dixie in hog heaven eating their sloppy leftovers

If your pigs are a little skittish, you’ll need a lot of sloppy leftovers for them to make them ignore you long enough to do the job.  Seriously,  I’ve never seen an animal as hyper focused as a pig eating slop.  They love it.  They. LOVE. IT.  Clean out the whole fridge, and if you can top it off with some oatmeal and half a gallon of milk, even better!

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This is a work of redneck ingenuity right here!

Before going out, duct tape the far end of the tape measure (like you use in sewing, not the metal toolkit one) to a long dowel rod or broom handle or stick (whatever is handy and somewhat lengthy).

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It was straight when I actually measured, but since I only have two hands, this had to do for the picture since one hand held the dowel rod and the other hand held the phone!  Make sure you measure this in a tight straight line.

Once the pigs are eating, measure them from just before the ears on the neck to the base of the tail on the back.  This is the easy measurement, and if you’re fast, they won’t notice!

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Bitsy never paid a bit of attention to me when I was measuring her.

Then (and this is the tricky part), you have to wrap the tape measure around the belly at the fattest part to get the girth of the pig.  Yes.  Hope you have fun with that like I did….

What worked for me was tossing the loose end of the tape measure under the pig so I could grab it with my left hand, eyeball about where I thought the tape measure would match up, and the quickly pulling the end from the dowel rod up and over to match up to the end my left hand was holding.  It took me several tries to get the girth on Dixie (she’s the nice one – go figure!), and only two times on Bitsy (who was so focused on the slop she didn’t care what I was doing).

I came up with Dixie at 36″ long and 38″ around (weight estimate at  130 lbs) and Bitsy at 39″ long and 40″ around (weight estimate at 156 lbs).

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They were tiny! This was a normal Jack-o-lantern sized pumpkin…

They’ve grown a TON since we first brought them home in late October!!!  They were about only 20 lbs each then.

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This was a regular sized dish (about the size you’d feed a large dog out of)…

My goal is 250 – 285 lbs before they go to the freezer.  I love knowing exactly what they’re eating (quite well!) AND how they’re being treated (QUITE WELL).  All in all, I’m pretty happy with the whole pig raising experience and am definitely doing this again on a yearly basis!

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