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  #1  
Old 01/08/12, 06:00 PM
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Choosing what to grow to raise pigs

Anyone successfully feed their pigs the whole corn plant? I'm suspecting I would have to run the stalk through the chipper/shredder, but I know they like the corn and cobs. And can I leave the corn to grow until the ears are ripe before cutting the stalk and feeding the whole thing?

I've never grown corn, but I have friends who have offered to grow produce to feed the pigs and I will keep and raise a pig for them. I have brewer's grain to add to whatever we come up with. We've been trying to figure out what to grow, and have the following thoughts:

Beets, sugar beets, mangles: so far my pigs don't like whole, plain beets. They'll eat it if it comes to them cooked, but I figure if I run them through the chipper raw, then mix with brewers' grain, they ought to learn to like it.

Peas: They like the peas and vines, and peas grow quickly so we could get several harvests. I also think they're pretty high in nutrition.

Corn: But if they won't eat the stalks, that's a lot of volume going to waste. We do have meat calves, so if the cows eat the stalks, at least they won't be wasted.

Zucchini: They love it, it grows well, but I don't think it's very high in nutrition.

Winter squash is good, but it's late in the season. I would expect the pigs to be ready for the freezer not long after the winter squash is ripe. However, the seeds are good wormers and the sheep like them, and the sheep will be here all winter.

We don't have the equipment to either plant or harvest grain or alfalfa, and we're trying for something that takes a minimum of physical effort as we all have jobs, too.

There are a couple acres that have been truck gardens (they've been losing money every year, so they're not going to sell veggies any more, just raise what we all can eat plus pig/sheep food) and the basic planting equipment is available. Anyone with suggestions?

Thanks!
Kit

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Old 01/08/12, 07:14 PM
 
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I found the corn to be a waste of my time. They tired of it quickly and didn't particularly like eating it off the cob for very long. Field peas worked well for us and were a good source of protein for them. They weren't real fond of beets unless cooked, same with pears. But they would eat all that I would cook for them. What I found was that they really liked variety. There wasn't any one particular thing that they liked for a long period of time. This worked well for us mostly because we didn't have a lot of any one thing. We had a little of this and a little of that which suited them just fine. So this year we will just plant extra of everything so that they have variety again, just more of it. Blessings, kat

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  #3  
Old 01/08/12, 07:41 PM
 
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corn is the tried an true hog staple ,but all veggies- carrots; turnup greens;peas vines and all do you milk a cow any surplus wheather sour or butter milk or whey from cheese are all enjoyed and help your pigs grow . but corn in or shelled is the main stay.you can feed em about any grain or mixture therof stale bread potatochips . BUT !! before butchering feed mostly corn at least a month to get good firm meat and bacon; pigs won't eat corn stalks or leaves feed these to the cows .when i was younger we kept a slop bucket for all leftovers, scraps and peelings the pigs loved it.

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Old 01/09/12, 10:00 AM
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I used to give my girls whole corn stalks as a suppliment or "treat". Mine had no problems eatting the whole stalk everything except the root ball and I even caught them playing with them. Like Wisperwindkat mentioned, they do get tired of the samething rather easily-our girls eat apples as treats for about 2 weeks and than wouldn't touch them, we switched to carrots and after about 2 weeks back to apples and always throw a handfull of eggs in for them. Eggs are great suppliments, if they tire of them we boil them and it's like a brand new treat.

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Old 01/10/12, 01:34 PM
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I try to grow corn but don't usually do well. It's our soils and climate. I have excellent success with growing rape and kale out in the pastures as well as pumpkins, sunflowers, squash, beets, turnips and mangles in the winter paddocks which make up several acres of excellent gardens in the warm months. We also seeded heavily with alfalfa and clovers out in our fields to increase the protein content of the forages.

I'll second the eggs being a great source of food. Cooking them doubles the available protein. We keep hundreds of chickens for their organic pest control ability and the result is lots of eggs for weaners and growers.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
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  #6  
Old 01/11/12, 07:57 PM
 
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What are you feeding those hundreds of chickens, Walter?

On forage, they typically don't get enough calories to support egg laying. And in the winter there's no forage.

Bruce / ebeyfarm.blogspot.com

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Old 01/11/12, 08:09 PM
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We grew all kinds of veggies for our hogs, saw Comfrey wasn't on the list. That is about 19% protein and good for them. Borage, in the same family, are also good for them. Ours ate the corn cobs in their entirety (raw or cooked). When we cook meats to feed our hogs, we add potatoes, squash, beets, and other tough veggies. Then, we mix in a variety of grains and uncooked veggies. The hogs inhale this! Oh, once source of meats, were the chickens we culled.

Walter, would appreciate knowing about your Winter chicken feeding, too

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Old 01/21/12, 01:34 PM
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We managed to grow a little bit of very stunted Golden Bantam corn this past summer. Whenever I threw some of the stalks, with little tiny cobs, to my AGH, there wasn't a scrap of anything left.

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  #9  
Old 01/21/12, 05:45 PM
 
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We have had a couple of nights that got into the low teens and a couple of days that did not get above freezing.
I should have planted more of everything, but Had no idea winter was going to start so mildly. I just throw it to them raw and un cut. It just disappears.


I have never let swiss chard grow into the winter. It just keeps growing. The pigs eat all of it, leaves, stems, and roots. I never noticed it grew such a big stem. The pigs just crunch it up like the whole mangels.


SPIKE

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  #10  
Old 01/21/12, 08:29 PM
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Thanks, folks. We don't want to plant perennials (comfrey) as the people who farm will rotate, and may go back to row crops again. I guess we're going to try corn, mangels, field peas to feed green, and whatever else we have seed for. Plus winter squash. The sheep will eat any of that left over after the pigs are butchered, so nothing will go to waste.
Kit

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  #11  
Old 01/29/12, 12:27 AM
 
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I have put in sunflowers, spinach, pumpkins, peas & we have fruit trees & the excess goat milk & eggs add some grain & they are pretty happy

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Old 01/29/12, 05:47 PM
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In the warm weather we don't feed the chickens. They get plenty of calories from the pasture. The problem with making claims like "they don't get enough calories on forage" is you're not actually looking at what they're really eating. Chickens eat some plant matter but they also eat a tremendous number of insects, earthworms, grubs, etc. That is their real function - organic pest control. In the winter, after the fall cull down, we feed them meat to make up for the insects - after all, we're taking pigs to market weekly so there's enough scraps for the flock. They also get veggie scraps and hay. It works.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa

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  #13  
Old 01/29/12, 07:03 PM
 
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There have been a number of studies on how various cultures raise chickens. When a chicken isn't fed feed, any egg produced, or the chicken itself, is a net benefit to the household. But eggs produced were strictly seasonal, and not very plentiful. They reported 10 to 12 eggs a year for the native chickens typically.

So one scientist decided to see how US chicken breeds, black australorp, barred rock and white leghorn, would do in that sort of husbandry, and found that although the chickens had the genetic potential of 200 to 250 eggs per year per hen (which is what we're getting from most of the hens in the USA who are grain-fed) these chickens in africa produced a few eggs, but not as many as the local breeds did; about half.

So when I say "they don't get enough calories to produce eggs", I mean, unless you're offering something in addition to forage they're not going to lay. Maybe they're eating the whey or bread or whatever it is you are feeding the pigs that day.

10 eggs a year isn't what most folks think of when they think of a laying hen.

Bruce / ebeyfarm.blogspot.com

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Old 01/29/12, 09:45 PM
 
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I don't feed chicken feed to my poultry. They get the same dog food as my dogs and they have for years. The kibble is lamb and beef based, no grain except rice. 22% protein. That along with 100% food grade diatomaceous earth (DE). The birds and the pigs both get the excess eggs. The free roaming birds lay and hatch eggs all year around with no lights added. The egg laying slows down when the birds are 8 to 10 years old.

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Old 02/17/12, 04:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogo View Post
I don't feed chicken feed to my poultry. They get the same dog food as my dogs and they have for years. The kibble is lamb and beef based, no grain except rice. 22% protein. That along with 100% food grade diatomaceous earth (DE). The birds and the pigs both get the excess eggs. The free roaming birds lay and hatch eggs all year around with no lights added. The egg laying slows down when the birds are 8 to 10 years old.
Rogo , who makes it , what is the name , where is it available ,
how much does it costs ?
Thanks .
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  #16  
Old 02/17/12, 03:20 PM
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On one of the other posts, its says they eat acorns. We have plenty of oak trees--pin and water types.

I know humans can eat acorn flour--after much processes as it will rip your stomach open. So it sounds like pigs are pretty tough, so is this a good fall winter food supply?

Still thinking about the pigs.

Also--liked what to do with the chicken remains--culling a few Monday.

Thanks

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Old 02/17/12, 03:46 PM
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10 eggs a year isn't what most folks think of when they think of a laying hen.
We get more like 0.6 to 0.8 eggs per day per hen. That's about 219 to 292 eggs per hen per year. This is without commercial feed/corn/soy, etc. We pasture our poultry. In the warm months they eat a lot of insects. That's their job - organic pest control. In the winter I feed them meat. I've mentioned this many times. You are welcome to feed your pigs and birds corn or commercial feeds but not everyone finds it necessary. Your inability to accept the fact that someone else can succeed where you fail is amusing at best. Open your mind. New ideas might alight.
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Old 02/23/12, 09:09 AM
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I agree Walter. If the pasture is good for pigs and other stock then it is good for fowl. They find enough fawna to eat that they boost their protein levels. I am trying to improve my pastures forage potential for my cattle and working for my pigs right along with it.

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Old 02/23/12, 10:46 AM
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I put these in another post but maybe more relevant in this post. We have a fall pumpkin patch that includes a 1/8th of an acre "mini" corn maze for little kids. I have 6 pigs that have taken down all of the stalks and eaten the corn. I figure the corn stalks get me even since I am growing these pigs in winter vs. summer in terms of purchased feed intake.

Barry







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Old 02/23/12, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen in Alabam View Post
On one of the other posts, its says they eat acorns. We have plenty of oak trees--pin and water types.

I know humans can eat acorn flour--after much processes as it will rip your stomach open. So it sounds like pigs are pretty tough, so is this a good fall winter food supply?

Still thinking about the pigs.

Also--liked what to do with the chicken remains--culling a few Monday.

Thanks
My grandfather said acorns will grow a hog quick and fat, but the meat and fat will be very soft and " rolly " as he put it. He always said the best was to to grow 'em on acorns and finish on corn for flavor and texture.

the quality of finishing on corn I can vouch for first hand. The acorn part I can only repeat what I was told by Pawpaw
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