To Deworm or Not

Happy Sow with new Piglets

Joanna asked on Feeding Hay:
I am raising a hog for slaughter for the first time. I have read mixed reviews about worming or not worming the pigs. I bought Porkchop in June and he will be 6 months old on October 24th. I have never wormed him but he is growing well. I would guess he weighs close to 200 lbs now. What do you suggest to do about worming. Also, if I worm him now, how long should I wait before I take him to slaughter?

If the pig is doing well then there is no need to deworm it. If it is not growing well, looking skinny, wasting, scruffy, pale gums then it might be wormy. A fecal test will determine if so and what worms.

Based on your description I would not deworm. If you do deworm then allow at least the required withdrawal time before slaughter, preferably twice.

In the future, if you want to deworm the best time to do it is when they are weaner pigs and you’re bringing them home to your place – this gains the most advantage from parasite control. Ask the seller if they have dewormed – many do routinely deworm all piglets.

There are a lot of things that naturally control parasite loads such as managed rotational grazing, soils that are naturally high in copper or sulfur, garlic, pumpkin seeds, whey, hot peppers, high fiber diets, good health, etc.

A small amount of ‘parasites’ have actually been shown to be beneficial – it is when they get out of control that it becomes a problem. Otherwise healthy animals don’t tend to have a problem. Animals that are otherwise stressed may get taken over by parasites as they are opportunists who haven’t quite figured out symbiosis. For more on this topic see Worms Au Natural.

Outdoors: 69°F/44°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 63°F/57°F

Daily Spark: Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace. -Dalai Lama

Happy is her name. She is called Happy because she dances around so much with her tail in the air. She is the daughter of either Jolie or Angela and she has a daughter called Happytoo. All very happy pigs. Temperament is highly genetic. Interesting, all of them are also very good adoptive mothers in addition to having their own nice big litters.

About Walter Jeffries

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17 Responses to To Deworm or Not

  1. Melissa says:

    Sulfur– I’ve been reading about buying sulfur as a topical anti-parasite for those that inhabit the skin, basically applying a pinch here and there. Can sulfur be fed as an antihelmetic to hogs, or chickens for that matter?

    Happy looks so happy!

  2. phil says:

    hey walter, this could be a long shot but,

    do you know of any good informational blogs on naturally raised beef cattle. or any blogs on beef cattle for that matter?


  3. Pam R. says:

    The 2 pigs we got this year have been the dancingest pigs yet. Wonder if they are the offspring of Happy, etc?

    • That’s possible with the timing of her last litter. Are your pigs completely white? Happy is a very white pig, white is a dominant coloration and her piglets are always white, long tailed and tend to fairly to completely upright ears with a medium length snout. She carries very dominant genetics.

  4. Vaughn Peters says:

    Hi Walter,
    This is somewhat unrelated but I didn’t see a reference elsewhere,
    I am pasturing some pigs for the first time with the hope of doing some
    Italian style cured salami and prosciutto . The trichinosis issue is avoided
    in many salami discussions . I have read deep freezing for 30 days (certified
    pork ?) is one way to eliminate it. What are your thoughts on this , and have
    you heard of an allergy type test to determine it’s presence (or absence ) done
    on live pigs just before slaughter (I would rather not freeze my fresh
    pork, but I don’t know if it would make a difference in the final product ).
    Thanks for your consideration ,

    • My understanding is that Trichinosis has been essentially eliminated in pigs and that the primary cause was the feeding of garbage containing raw meat. That has been outlawed for a long time.

      We have never seen any signs of Trichinosis or other parasite problems in our pastured pigs – we’ve had thousands go to market over the past decade with no signs of any infection. Managed rotational grazing, cold winters and such break parasite life cycles.

      The USDA has a protocol of freezing like you say to produce a certified pork that can then be raw consumed because it kills all parasites. The lower the temperature the faster the certification time. They also do this through irradiation. You may also find this link helpful.

      Don’t be afraid of freezing meat. Proper flash freezing in a blast freezer does no damage to the meat. We deliver fresh weekly to high end restaurants and what many of them do is make up their dinner portions and then flash freeze them. I hear they can even flash freeze flowers and they thaw out with out any damage. The trick is flash freezing creates micro-crystals that don’t break the cell walls so it preserves quality. If you’re going to freeze, use a blast freezer.

      What I have read is the best way to get Trichinosis is to eat undercooked bear, wolverine, etc rather than pork. Not on my dining list.

  5. Bacon Maker says:

    Has anyone had to deal with PEDS yet? I see that the kill number is around 10 Million Pig’s! I hate even going to the feedmill affraid of bringing it back to my Hog’s I keep Clean Boots that I put on when I get to the Farm and they never leave the FARM …

    Currently Have Jersey Cow’s/Calves one Hamp Boar Sows and a Ton of Rabbits.. putting the Barn to good use and putting fod on the Table

    • PEDv is not here yet. I’m watching the news. Biosecurity is important to keep it off the farm. It has killed a huge number of pigs with the focus of the deaths being in piglets.

      • Bacon Maker says:

        just curious.. anyone have any ideas on Making Pork Jerky? I have been told to freeze the pork for 30 daysbefore making the jerky? I want to make some out of the next Hog I butcher

        • I’ve wondered about it but haven’t really looked into it yet. The freezing is to create Certified Pork which means it is guaranteed not to have parasites in it. This is done when eating pork raw. Probably a good idea with any raw meat. Sushi is renown for that problem too.

          If you find out a recipe, please share!

  6. David says:

    Walter, have you ever heard anything about hot peppers killing pigs? I figured if there was a bunch of hot peppers in the scraps, the pigs would probably skip over them (or many of them). If they were to inadvertantly eat a bunch of hot pepper seeds and scraps, could it hurt them in some way?


  7. alix says:

    i feed a purchased non gmo mash to my pigs. I have experienced shaky weak hind ends. what could be the cause?

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