Sow, Piglets, Sheep & Chickens Grazing
Timing is always sows be willing.
Contact Walter to reserve now.
Would you like to raise your own pigs? In addition to cuts of pastured pork, roasters, whole pigs and half pigs we also offer live weaner pigs you can raise yourself. Pigs are hardy and easy to raise, especially over the summer months. With experience you can even do winter pigs starting in the fall.
We have about fourty sows farrowing year round so piglets are generally always running around. Spring piglets are in very high demand and typically sell out into summer so it is important to get your deposit in early. Historically, by January reserves typically extend to April and by April the list extends into June. This year by the end of April reserves were into late August. Reserve piglets early, even the previous fall to get them in the spring.
Feeder pig weaners around 6 to 8 weeks of age
Add $100 to the above prices for breeder weaners – pigs that I would consider prime quality for saving back as potential test breeders for my own herd.
Pre-Buy: If you would like to save money, plan ahead and pre-pay. When you pay in full ahead of time we offer a pre-buy discount:
– 5% for full payment received at least 45 days ahead
– 10% for full payment received at least 90 days ahead
– 20% for full payment received at least 180 days ahead
Plan ahead, save money. If for some reason you are not able to get the pigs on a pre-buy we will refund the payment minus the standard deposit ($15 per feeder pig, $100 per breeder pig). Deposits are a reserve and not refundable. Alternatively you may choose to apply the pre-payment to future pigs.
We reserve the right to substitute the more expensive feeder gilts, at no cost to you, for feeder boars. This is sometimes necessary due to availability.
To reserve send $100 per pig as a non-refundable deposit. When you send the deposit let me know the rough time you would like to pick them up and what sexes. We don’t guarantee an exact date – that’s up to the sows, weather and how many people are on the reserve list ahead of you but we’ll try to hit it as closely as possible. The deposit puts you on the list based on the order we get your deposit. Send deposits to:
Sugar Mtn Farm
252 Riddle Pond Rd
West Topsham, VT 05086
Check your pigs when you pick them up. Pigs are nonreturnable and non-refundable. If there is any issue with a pig, tell us and we will swap it for another but you must do that before you leave our farm. Pigs who have left can not return to our farm for biosecurity reasons.
Keep in mind that these are feeder weaner pigs. I would not recommend using these as breeders. If you want breeder stock pay the small amount extra to get the higher quality of those top animals which I would consider saving back for my own herd breeders. You’ll be paid back in the long run in better genetics. For details see the Breeder Page
Larger size pigs are sometimes available for $5/lb for based on estimated live weight using the Tape Method.
Frequently Asked Question: Why are spring piglets so expensive?
Answer: Because of supply and demand. Spring piglets are the hardest to produce having been born in the cold winter months and the highest in demand since most everyone wants to raise pigs in the easy summer season so they are the highest priced. You might be able to find cheaper piglets at auction or off the back of a cull truck from out of the factory farms but ask yourself why I don’t bother buying those myself… Quality matters in animal health, vet bills, growth rate and better feed conversion. Read more here.
“For years I got pigs from [Sugar Mountain Farm] and was delighted with them but then one year I bought them from someone else who was cheaper. What a mistake. In the end the other pigs cost a lot more with the vet bill, higher feed costs and slower growth. This year I’m back to buying Sugar Mountain Farm pigs.”-Sharon Zecchinelli, Homesteader & Chef, Enosburg Falls, Vermont
Note that the above prices are for feeder piglets – ones you would raise for meat, not select prime pigs one would raise for breeding. Breeder quality weaner piglets cost more because they are higher quality genetics – the ones we would choose ourselves to keep back for breeding. If you are looking to breed a pig it is worth paying the small extra cost of $50/piglet for the farmer’s keen eye to pick the best of the litter. A very limited number of ready to breed prime boars and ready to breed prime gilts are available at times. Guaranteed bred prime gilts and prime breeding boars are also available at times. Availability is limited as we only sell the best of the best as breeders. If you want to get into breeding and farrowing the easiest way is to start with a bred gilt. See details on the Breeders page.
Piglets are ready to wean and go at about four to six weeks of age. We hold them a little while after weaning to transition them fully. Older, bigger grower and roaster pigs are typically available – see the Roasters Page.
“The piglets I bought from Sugar Mountain Farm behaved exactly how I wanted: like old fashioned pigs! They were well trained to the electric fence, rooted like champs, gained weight quickly and produced very tasty pork. We moved them around our field and the pigs did a wonderful job of tilling and fertilizing the field. And I have never had a single health problem (not one! not even worms) with piglets from Sugar Mountain Farm.”-Abby Duke, Chef, Farmer & Restaurateur at Sugarsnap, Burlington, Vermont
WE DO NOT SHIP LIVE PIGS.
We offer pickup at the farm
and local on route delivery.
Buy locally and support
farmers in your area.
Pickup is available at the farm gate or we can deliver them to you at one of the stops along our weekly delivery route. We drive up I-91 and I-89 from Mass to Bradford to Burlington. Delivery is just $10 for piglets. See the delivery route map. Be sure to have a secure carrier for your new piglets. A dog crate works very well with a bit of hay in it. Piglets should not be transported free in the car or in your lap for safety reasons nor should they be transported in open pickup truck beds as they can get easily chilled.
“We wanted to let you know we are very very happy with the piglets we bought from you last summer. You raise wonderful animals.” -Julie Garley, New Hampshire
We have multiple breeding herds and selectively breed for pasture-ability, mothering, meat quality, marbling, taste, length, temperament and other characteristics. Our pigs are primarily Yorkshire (large white) x Large Black x Berkshire x Tamworth. This is our Mainline herd genetics. We also have some pure bred Berkshire, Tamworth and Large Black lines. The feeder piglets are generally crosses. See the Pigs Page for more details on our pig breeds. While we do have pure bred lines of Tamworth, Berkshire and Large Black these are only for our own breeding program. We do not sell these pure breds because they are not registered or papered as part of a breeding society. If you are looking for breeder animals in those breeds then I would suggest contacting the appropriate breed societies. Our primary breeding focus is producing pigs which thrives in our climate on pasture to produce a high quality pork. These are our Mainline pigs which we’ve been selecting for over a decade. If you would like a particular bias of the breeds, feel free to ask when you order.
Please note that these are farm pigs, not pet pigs – they get big, they eat a lot, they poop a lot – black gold.
We keep our pigs on pasture, not in confinement housing and they are trained to electric fencing. Initially you will want a very securely physically fenced space with electric inside to re-home your pigs to their new space and let them get used to you, your voice, etc. This is very important for when they first arrive and are getting used to their new digs. Small, say 16’x16′ is good at this point. Well secured hog panel or pallets make a good, inexpensive physical fence. After a few weeks you can set them out to well fenced pasture paddocks and begin managed rotational grazing.
“I just had a couple minutes this morning and wanted to tell you how pleased I am so far with the pigs I purchased from you. The two of them get along very well with each other and the 120 chickens they share “home” with. They really do have great attitudes. Very calm and well mannered animals. They do like to chase chickens from time to time, when the birds are all in a group. It’s pretty funny to watch a “prancing pig” plow through a flock of chickens just for fun. They’ve done really well on the pastures. Between them and the chickens, they can clear an area in no time at all. At this rate they will make one full rotation of the field by fall and be right under apple and oak trees to finish up. I’ll be looking forward to buying from you again next year.”-Craig “TheGoodDoctor”
Note that butcher’s tend to be solidly booked months in advanced during the fall. When you get your pigs, also call the butcher and schedule a slaughter date if it is going to fall in August through December.
PLEASE NOTE: All live animal sales are final. Inspect your animals when you receive them. If there is any problem say so then before you take them so that we can give you a different animal. The exception is bred gilts which are guaranteed to farrow. If you are transporting animals interstate or internationally then you need to make any necessary arrangements such as vet certificates. Get your ducks lined up in a row well ahead of time so the process goes smoothly.
Boars are male pigs with testicles – they generally grow faster, bigger and leaner than barrows (castrated males) or gilts. See this article about Essential Differences. Most people buy boar piglets for raising as meat. We breed for a gentle temperament and have never found boar taint in our pigs – we have been testing them for years and selling the meat from our boars to thousands of customers. Castration is not necessary and is hard on the piglets setting them back on their growth and killing some. We no longer offer castration. If you want barrows then buy boars and you can do the castration or have a vet do it. Before castrating, read about Boar Taint – It is mostly a myth.
Frequently Asked Question: Why are pigs more expensive and hard to find in the spring?
Answer: There is a very strong seasonality to pricing for two reasons. It is harder to farrow, to birth, pigs in the winter months – winter is very harsh. This reduces supply. Demand is high in the spring because virtually everyone wants to buy piglets in the spring. Conversely, the easy litters are from the summer but those are not in as much demand in the fall which produces a low demand in the fall and thus lower prices. Get your piglets later in the year, as late as October, so as to pay lower prices for the piglets. Pigs do great right through the winter. Read on my blog about how we raise pigs outdoors right through the winter.
Barrows are male pigs that have been castrated and nolonger have testicles. Barrows generally grow slower and fatter than boars but faster and leaner than gilts. We do not sell barrows as castration is not necessary with our pig herd genetics and pasture management.
Frequently Asked Question: How many months will it take a piglet to reach butchering size?
Answer: The short answer is six to eight months. The long answer is how big do you want the pig to be, how much do you have to feed it, what are you feeding it, what does the feed cost, are you willing to keep caring for it into the winter, what is it being fed, etc? All of these are factors in how fast the pig grows and how big it grows. You can slaughter a pig at any size. Over about 250 lbs on a commercial feed the hog starts putting on more fat and less muscle as well as being less efficient at turning feed into pork. Pigs weather the winter well but grow slower and you have to deal with water in freezing conditions. Up to a point it is more efficient from a slaughter point of view to raise the pig larger rather than smaller. Generally people aim for 225 to 250 lbs which most pigs reach on a full feed balanced diet in about six months. Pick the size you want the pig to be and go for that. Any way you cut it, its good eating. Enjoy your home grown pork!
Gilts are female pigs that have not birthed (farrowed) a litter of piglets yet. Gilts generally grow the slowest and put on more fat than boars or barrows. If you are looking for lard, a short bodied (lard type) gilt raised on a high calorie diet is the ticket.
Frequently Asked Question: Why are gilts more expensive?
Answer: We like to keep gilts back to watch for that exceptional 5% who will make good breeding stock as replacement sows in our herds to continue improving our breed. To find them we must select the best gilt piglets and watch them grow for eight months, then breed the best of those, the primes. Not all of those will ‘take’ that is to say get pregnant. Of those that take we need to wait for them to gestate for 16 weeks of pregnancy. Finally after a year we find out what their first litter is like and how they perform as mothers. After another six to eight weeks we pick the best of those as our replacement sows. About 5% of the gilts make the cut to sows. Boars on the other hand stands less than a 0.5% chance of being kept for breeding (each boar services about 15 sows) so I don’t need to keep as many boars as gilts to select for breeding stock and improve our herd. Life’s hard on the farm if you’re a guy. Same as in the wild herds.
Sows are female pigs that have given farrowed (birthed) a litter of piglets. She will typically farrow two or more litters per year with a gestation period of about four months (“Three months, three weeks, three days, 3 am” is the old saying). Some exceptional sows like Blackie on our farm have farrowed, of their own choice, three times a year producing as many as 19 piglets per litter – that’s unusually productive. The largest litter a sow from our farm has had is 22 piglets but 8 to 12 is more common.
Frequently Asked Question: How many litters can I get out of a sow?
Answer: A sow will typically have two or so litters per year. An exceptional sow like Blackie’s line will have three litters a year. You can also just breed her once a year with a borrowed boar or AI if that fits your needs – use the warm seasons when farrowing is easy. Sows typically live five to ten years but you do not have to keep them that long. Some people will keep a sow for a couple of years then eat her as she gets too large for them to handle. A large sow eats a lot more than a small sow but she is also a more experienced mother and better pasture grazer. If you’re feeding sow chow then this high cost may matter to you. Since we are pasture based this is not a big issue for us. Thus we have many older sows that weight 600 to 800 lbs. As sows get older they gain experience, are better grazers, better mothers and milkers. Older sows also have bigger litters up to a point when they lose fertility and their litter count drops. When the end comes, sows are good eating. They will be a bit tougher than a finisher and a bit more fat than other pigs but not excessively when kept on pasture. See this article about hanging meat.
Tail Cutting & Teeth Clipping are things we do not do. Neither intervention is necessary and both can cause pain and infection in the piglet. Some piglets naturally end up with shorter tails. There is a recessive heritable genetic trait for short tails which we have in our herd which is why some of our sows like Flip, Flop, Flo, Flora and Fauna have short tails as so do their piglets. Our long tailed boars and sows like Archimedes and Big Pig carry this trait but don’t express it although their offspring do sometimes.
Select piglets are available for $100 extra each above the pig prices – If you have some other personal preference such as color you can pick your own from the available piglets. It takes extra time to do this thus the up-charge. Otherwise I pick out the pigs using my years of experience which can be done ahead of time so the pigs are ready when you arrive. Realize we do not keep our pigs penned – they’re out grazing on the mountains so it is not possible to simply look at all the pigs. When buying select pigs allow extra time for selection and let me know ahead of time that you want to do this as well as letting me know of any characteristics you’re looking for such as a red pig or spotted pig.
Frequently Asked Question: Can I just breed feeder piglets and save?
Answer: Sure, but then you don’t get the advanatage of starting with the better genetics. Breed the best of the best to continually improve your livestock. To do less is wasting your time. It takes a year to bring a gilt from being a piglet to farrowing. Not all animals are fertile. Some feeder piglets have fewer teats. When I pick out select piglets for breeding I’m giving you the advantage of my eye and experience to get you started on better footing. This is well worth the added nominal cost of a select piglet.
Blackie’s Descendant Select piglets are available for $100 extra each plus $50 for any teats beyond 14. Limited availability and reserve list for piglets from her and her daughters. Blackie is our top breeding sow having produced three litters in a year and litters of 19 piglets with excellent conformation. One of her daughters produced litters of 12, 20 and 22 piglets. Color varies, ask if you have a preference. Note that Blackie is not a pure bred Large Black although she does look it. She is a superior sow which is the reason for the premium on piglets from her line. She is crossed with our top premium boars.
Runts happen occasionally but we do not sell them as piglets because they will take you a month or two longer to raise to market size – this isn’t worth the cost of feed. Note that runts will eventually get big – they aren’t good for pets and won’t stay small. If you are looking for a pet pig consider a Pot Bellied pig or some other non-farm variety that stays under 200 lbs, or better yet get a dog, cat or ferret. Farm pigs easily grow to 800 lbs or far more like our big boars Spot. [Spot topped out at 1,700 lbs when he died of old age in our fields in the fall of 2010. His brother Big’Un topped out at about 1,500 lbs. Think small car on legs.]
Rent-a-Pig: We also do not rent or loan boars, pigs or piglets for events, breeding or otherwise. Once an animal leaves our farm they can not return due to biosecurity reasons so as to protect the health of our foundation breeding herds. There are some people who do have boars from our farm’s genetics who offer Rent-a-Boar services. Ajax at Gopher Broke Farm is one such boar from Blackie’s line.
“We just had two sows farrow in the last week who were bred by a boar (Ajax) you sold to Gopher Broke Farm. It was a first litter for both and they each had 14 piglets that seem to be doing quite well, growing fast and learning from mom to root in the soil.-Will Bunten, Bluebird Farm, Waterville, VT
Pet-a-Pig: We do not have pig petting available. There are petting zoos in New Hampshire and Vermont which are lovely places to take the children to see piglets, chicks, goats, sheep, geese and other farm animals. Check out Shelburne Farms in the Burlington, Vermont area or Friendly Farm in Dublin, NH for great family fun. They are setup for this and have a wide variety of animals for children to see and handle. We also do not rent or lease out pigs for breeding or events. Once a pig leaves our farm it can not return due to biosecurity concerns.
Health Certificates: Buyers should check with their state department of agriculture for any import requirements or restrictions. We sell all livestock in Vermont. Vaccination is with the standard vaccines we use on our herds. If your state has special requirements let us know and we may be able to help by pre-vaccinating with additional vaccines. The buyer is responsible for any costs of veterinary health certificates, additional vaccines, etc. If you’re transporting them across state lines you may want to get health certificate paperwork which typically runs about $200 per group for the vet’s costs when done by a local vet who will come ID tag and paper them here at our farm before you pickup. There is a $100 charge to cover our time. If blood must be drawn then add $20 per animal plus the blood lab work costs – required by some states like CT. The vet will need your farm address, phone number and name for the paperwork. Alternatively you can arrange to have that done by a vet of your choice later.
Prices subject to change without notice. Pigs are live animals and vary. Availability depends on Mother Nature and sows be willing. Life happens. Your mileage will vary.