Clarkton, North Carolina, United States
Posted Nov 09, 2010
The American Guinea Hog is a fabulous homestead hog with great potential for producing a gourmet source of pork. We obtained a breading trio of Guinea Hogs to feed ourselves, other family members, and produce gourmet pork for the high-end market. We have been extremely satisfied with the breed on all levels.
American Guinea Hogs are small by comparison to commerical hogs and grow much slower, but they also taste better and are easier to raise. Our full grown boar Bo Diddley weighs somewhere between 300-350 lbs (which is about as big as a Guinea Hog gets), and our females weigh less (around 200-250 lbs). Compare this to commercial hogs that average 800-1000 lbs a piece, and you have a hog that is much more appropriate for a homestead farm and relatively easy for a family to raise, slaughter, butcher and put in the freezer.
American Guinea Hogs are very easy to raise, but must be kept outdoors with room to roam rather than in factory confinement. They thrive in pasture and woodland environments, tolerate both hot and cold very well and fatten up on forage with minimal supplementary feed. We raise our hogs in a mix of woodland and pasture and give them a small amount of corn-based all-natural feed. Given enough natural forage, supplimentary feed isn't necessary, but is recommended to establish a positive human-animal relationship with the hogs. Guinea Hogs are quite gentle, but like all pigs are skitish and must be coaxed into a relationship with human. Treats make this an easy task. I hand-feed my hogs sweet potatoes (and the like) to establish a relationship that allows me to touch them, but they aren't like dogs, they don't typically come looking for human interaction and are happiest cuddling with their own kind.
Guinea Hogs are social animals, as are all pigs, and need animal companionship. Guinea Hogs prefer other Guinea Hogs but do develop relationships with other animals easily. Ours commune freely with our chickens, and we have witnessed Guinea Hogs who have established positive relationships with sheep, dogs, goats and cows as well. The sows are great mothers who have anywhere from 4-8 per litter. They birth without human assistance and are attentive to their babies. The sows are tolerant of human interaction with their young which is very important if you have children around the farm. I noted that Guinea Hogs are good for adults or children over 8 years of age because small children can be inadvertently hurt by animals of this size, but I have never seen a Guinea Hog show aggression towards a human. That said, they are always hungry, and you don't want to get between them and a meal and you don't want to get between a boar and a female in heat. They do have teeth and excellent jaw strength.
The only negative is the amount of time it takes for them to arrive at slaughter weight (6-10 months compared to 3-6 months for commercial hogs), but raising them is such a wonderful experience and the meat is so tasty that this isn't really a drawback unless you are hoping to making a ton of money selling pork. Because of the time it takes to raise them, Guinea Hog pork must be sold at gourmet prices. The meat is outstanding, nicely marbled, full of a meaty flavor and lower in saturated fat than commercial pork if the hogs are raised on natural forage. The portions are also much smaller (a Guinea Hog loin looks like a minature next to a grocery store pork loin), but the taste makes up for the size. American Guinea Hogs would make a nice pet for someone who wants an easy farm animal to enjoy. Just remember to give them companions and don't forget that they are hogs and not dogs.