Buying Weaners

by David on June 27, 2012

weaner  pigs 12 weeks

These “weaner” pigs were bought at 12 weeks – a bit more expensive than if they had been bought at 8 weeks, but slightly older pigs can be good value, depending on market conditions

If you’re thinking about starting with pigs, buying a few weaners is your best bet. Weaners are pigs that have been weaned from their mother – usually about 8 weeks old. They will have been eating solid food for quite a few weeks, and they should be fine without their mother at this stage.

Only buy from breeders who you trust. I’ve made mistakes buying weaners in the past – once I was desperate for a few weaners and bought from a guy whose set-up was pretty dire.

The sow was crowded in a tiny shed, and the weaners were kept in similarly cramped conditions. For one reason or another, I swallowed my reservations and bought 3 weaners from him at a discount price. The next day, they were down with erysipelas, a dangerous bacterial infection that has been linked to stress. Only very quick action on the part of our vet saved the day, and those pigs never thrived. Bottom line? Buyer beware!

What to Look For

Look for strong pigs when buying, but mainly look at their behaviour. Pigs are naturally inquisitive, so you’re looking for a nice blend of cheeky exploratory behaviour and skittishness/nervousness at seeing a new face (yours).

It might be difficult to gauge behaviour if you’re looking into a pen of squirming weaners because the seller has helpfully brought them in – so check out the sellers system in general. Is it clean? Does the sow appear happy & content?

Oh yeah, one last thing. When you catch them, they are going to SQUEAL. Don’t let this put you off – it’s completely normal! Here’s how they should look at 8 weeks:

They should be lively, inquisitive and energetic. Note the “woofing” noise in the video – that’s the noise pigs make when they are happy & excited (I think!).

If you have any tips that you use when buying weaners, why not leave a comment below?

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