Measuring a Pig WITHOUT a Scale vs. Actual Pig Weights | Plus what to expect from the Butcher

by Becky
Published: Updated:

This is Cam. I’m excited to be on here, as a “guest writer!!” 2021 was our first year raising pigs, and I was super excited to raise our own. I really wanted to do better keeping good records of the costs, inputs, and processes, for our own purposes, and in the case we decide to start marketing and selling the meat in the future. Information carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need.

A lot of people ask, “how much bacon do you get from a pig?” So to answer that, and a lot of other questions, I created this sheet below. On it are details around feed qtys, weights per pig, hanging weights, and final cuts divided out.

Another question asked by a lot of new pig growers is, “how do I know how heavy my hogs are?” Since I don’t own a livestock scale, and am not about to take our bathroom scale down to the pig pasture (much less get our pigs to stand on it!?), I used the tape measure method. I recorded their weights/measurements the night before their trip to the butcher, and ended up averaging only 3.5% off of the actual weight of each pig. Pretty accurate method if you ask me.

FORMULA – Girth x Girth x Body Length / 400 = Approx Hog weight.

Step 1 – Measure “C” to get the Girth. Just behind the front legs, all the way around the body. This is also called the Heart Girth, because the heart is located right in that area.

Step 2 – Measure AB, the Body Length. Start right between the ears, and measure down to the base of the tail. I found it worked best to get these measurements during feeding, as their heads are down and they could care less what I’m doing when there’s food in front of them. Also, fabric tape works best, the kind your mom had near her sewing table when you were young 🙂

Image ©TheSeasonalHomestead

Below is the data I recorded on our pigs. Knowing the percent of each cut, and the % yield were the two important numbers for me. Now we know what to expect and can plan better next year.

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Hilary December 16, 2021 - 12:02 am

Thank you both so much for sharing your farm with us! I am so inspired but what you’re doing. Thank you so much for the detailed information on raising the pigs. Could you talk about what is involved in raising your pasture-raised cows as well? I am really interested in doing pasture-raised beef. Thank you!

theseasonalhomestead December 18, 2021 - 5:54 am

Hi Hilary, thanks for the idea! I’ll have Cam write up a blog post on cows too with lots of details. Cows are overall easier and cheaper than pigs, especially if you have enough pasture and are doing rotational grazing. We had a struggle with fencing but finally figured that out. I am in the process of editing a video that mentions the fencing and our solution. I am hoping to get that up on Youtube tomorrow. When it’s up I’ll link it here 🙂

Darwin December 22, 2021 - 10:59 pm

Hi Happy Homesteaders
I must say I am incredibly impressed with the life you qand your family have bust your asses to make.
I have been catching up on your UTube Vids and trying to gain some Knowledge.
Can I ask you ,from what I see you guys and gals are in Arkansas . Can or will you tell me ,do you come from a wealthy Arkansa s family?I understand you are not wealthy in Money trems but you are extremely wealthy in knowledge ,food ,time ,happyiness ,health etc.
Just wondering how you could have your own house built on I would think is atleast a 10 acea plot . I understand if you do not want to answer or if your may think that I am out of line. I am just wondering becasue I would love to be able to build what you have and am trying to figure pout how much money I would need to start. I am from New England ,and we certainly could not grow the wide variety of food that you can in your climate. Would like to moive to warmer climate ,may have to start checking out Arkansas ,but still loooks expensive for land . Thank You for taking the time out of your life to re-ply and assist a Wanabe Homesteader

theseasonalhomestead January 23, 2022 - 5:23 am

Hi Darwin, thank you. A lot of people don’t know or realize that we sacrificed for many years to get to where we are today. We lived beneath our means so we could save up for living out a long time dream. Best of luck to you in your homesteading!


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