~How to Estimate the Weight of a Live Hog~

| Animal Husbandry, Butchering, Pigs

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Did you know that it's possible to estimate how much your pig weighs simply by using a tape measure (or string, piece of baling twine, etc...) and a calculator?  | www.reformationacres.com

Did you know that it’s possible to estimate how much your pig weighs simply by using a tape measure (or string, piece of baling twine, etc…) and a calculator?

By taking 2 simple measurements and applying them to a formula, you can get a general idea of the live weight of your hog. We’ve been using it for several years in order to gauge when our pigs would be ready for slaughter.

Since it would seem that we’re going to continue butchering our own meat, we decided to invest in a hanging scale with some of the savings we saw this year by raising our hogs differently than the year before.

Having the scale in our possession allowed for us to have a more accurate hanging weight for our records. In years past, we would weigh the broken down sections of the hog on our kitchen scale and then add them all back up. Ounces and all.

It was money well spent!

It also allowed us to test out the formula for weighing the pigs and estimate what the scale would show their live weight to be.

According to this method if you take a couple measurements and then apply them to a formula, you can calculate how many pounds your pig weighs.

We like to do this to make sure they’re gaining well and to schedule when they will need to be butchered. The pigs come so small and look so big, we always think they’re ready long before they actually are!

{How to Weigh a Pig Without a Scale}
There are two measurement to take. It’s best to start this practice while the pigs are younger so they get used to it. Just makes it easier on you.

And of course the best time to do it is while they are eating. Otherwise, they’ll try to eat you while you do it. Just kidding. No I’m not.

The first measurement is the length.

That’s from the base of the tail…

All the way to between the ears.

The second measurement is the heart girth.

Then apply those numbers to the following formula:

Heart Girth Squared X Length Divided by 400

Using this method on the day of slaughter this year we estimated the weight of our hog to be about 350 pounds.

Her length was 56″ and heart girth was 50″.

50 X 50 X 56 = 140,000

140,000/400 = 350

Sure enough, her live weight (with all of the organs, head, etc…) was 350 pounds!! Once the carcass was eviscerated and the hanging weight (what the butchers use to charge you by) was taken, there were 250 pounds left.

For our second hog the live weight was 335 pounds and once she was eviscerated the hanging weight was 215 pounds, just to give you an idea of how to calculate your hanging weight based upon the live weight.

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17 Comments
  • That is amazing! I wonder who figured that out. Obviously someone with a whole lot more math ability than me. I love to learn new things. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pia

    oh this is so cool. Thank you for explaining it, I have to pin it! Is there a rule of thumb for the difference in live and hanging wait? like 110 pounds on average?

    • Great Gray

      No it a percentage.
      Live 250 Percentage
      Dressed 184 0.736
      Meat yield 140 0.56

  • Lila

    Quick question – is heart girth under their armpits (where their chest tapers and has less circumference), or further back a certain distance? Thanks!

    • He does it right behind the shoulder, under the armpits. You’re welcome! 🙂

  • Mary DeLong

    Just read how to weigh pigs, great info, thank you so much. Now it won’t be as much of a guessing game. I have one to measure and figure out today. wish me luck, he is big enough to saddle and ride:) Thanks again Mary

    • Hope that went well for you Mary! If he’s big enough to saddle & ride, I imagine you found him to be of a satisfactory weight! Enjoy that bacon 😉

  • Tony

    Where does the 400 in the formula come from?

    • The product of the heart girth squared & the length is then divided by 400.

  • Rose

    thanks for the posting. there is not a lot of info on hogs for meat out there. New to your blog and i am loving it!

    • You’re welcome Rose! Thanks so much for your kind words!!