A neighbor asked me the other day why one would "harvest" a piglet when it was still small. Why not allow them to grow larger, say to 200 lbs. There can be a few reasons that I can think of off the top of my head.
...a small pig is needed to fit the barbecue unit for a roasted spit pig.
...a whole piglet is being prepared for a special luau, thus it needs to fit whatever space it is being allowed.
...a home slaughter/butcher can only physically handle a small sized pig.
...one's freezer only has space for a small pig.
...or in my case, when you run out of food. I only have a limited amount of feed available, so rather than starve 7 piglets, I keep the number of piglets that I have food for, and the others have to go one way or the other. (Two were sold as breeders and one went into the freezer to provide food for Adam).
I'm at my max for producing pig food without buying commercial pig chow. Boy! can these critters eat! Luckily they eat just about everything that is considered garden waste, plus plenty of grass. As you can see in the photo, the pig pastures consist of two grassed pens about 150' by 100' or maybe a bit larger. They rotate between the pens to prevent the pigs from totally destroying the areas. This time of year the grass is growing really fast, fast enough to keep up with the pigs appetites.
Just this week I was given four bags of haycubes that were touched with mold, so these are being added to the pig food menu. This will help extend the time before another piglet will need to leave the pack.
Above, this was their first taste of slop with 25% soaked haycubes added. They resoundingly approved, cleaning up three troughs of it before lunchtime, grunting as they gobbled. Greedy little guys.