Want to know how much does your pig weigh? 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 of measurements and then apply them to a formula, you can calculate how many pounds your pig weighs. The weight also depends on your selected hog breed. There are some breeds that practically yield a lighter weight.
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 Estimate Live Hog Weight?
This trick is so cool! How awesome is it that you can know how much the weight of a pig is without using a scale? It’s like your own pig weight calculator!
There are two measurements 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 her 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 on the live weight.
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.
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 says
No it a percentage.
Live 250 Percentage
Dressed 184 0.736
Meat yield 140 0.56
True Love and Homegrown says
Wow, very handy, thanks! I'm going to measure our two pigs later using your method! We have a running estimate contest; I think everyone but me is underestimating! My guess is our big boy Abe is 100 pounds and our little girl, Beth, is 50…will get back to you! 😉
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 says
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 😉
Where does the 400 in the formula come from?
The product of the heart girth squared & the length is then divided by 400.
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!!
Vicki Davis-Glaister says
thank you so much for this. we are first time pig parents and not really sure how much they weigh 🙂
Vincent Bariyanga says
Thank you very much for this information. I took my pig to the bucthers the other day and I was not happ;y with the final weight that they came up with. You see I trust them so much that I leave the animal behind and they tell me what they come up with This time howevr I thought they must have made a mistake for the fianl wight was so little that I thought they must have undercut me by some twenty kg.
Quinn At ReformationAcres says
Sadly, I've heard of that happening too many times. Or that they'll give you back a pig that wasn't necessarily your own. I'd be so upset. I'm glad this was helpful and I hope that doesn't happen to you again!
Vincent Bariyanga says
The 400 hunndred is a factor.Just you take it that it is the ratio that enables you to convert those readings that you get into Pounds. It for instance takes care of the weoght per cubic unit of the animal. Just use the formula since a lot of work has gone into it. If it works for you well and good, I can tell you that it works for me,
Roger McFadyen says
I'm now 62 years old, far removed from the farm. I grew up on a family farm and had some of everything. After I left home, I still came back to the farm on weekends to help my aging parents. My dad was a pig farmer, the old fashioned way. He didn't have the large hog producing barns that's pretty common in North Carolina. He had hogs in 4 stages of growth, from breeding stock, new born pigs, shoats, and toppers. Shoats as he called them were mid size pigs but not yet toppers. Toppers were the ones sold at market and would weigh between 200# to about 230# (meat weight). He could look at his stock and know their weight without weighing any. I wish I knew your method of weighing pork back then, just to see how accurate my dad was with his method. I found your blog to be interesting and for a newbie, learn from it. I so wish I could go back to the farm. I really miss those days very much.
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Heart girth is around where their heart is. I would say 6 inches behind the front legs