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  #1  
Old 01/17/13, 10:56 AM
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How much space does a pig need vs how much it will use

This is a question from someone who is in the planning stages. I have no prior experience with pigs and their natural behaviors.

If one was to get two pigs (feeders to grow out) and allow them access to a 2 acre pasture when large enough would they utilize it? I do not know if pigs are roamers or tend to stay close to home. If they tend to only naturally utilize 1/4 an acre then it would obviously be best to create paddocks and rotate them through.

So my question is not necessarily how much land per pig but how much land will a pig utilize at free will?

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  #2  
Old 01/17/13, 11:20 AM
 
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They do roam if able to. I had 20 in a 2 acre pasture and they probably rooted up half of it. They do pick spots they prefer and really work them over sometimes, so one area will be untouched and one will be dug up. Rotation is good. For only 2, rotating them around 1/4 acre at a time is a good plan.

High traffic areas will get torn up. They tend to pee when they eat, so the area around food is often wet unless you move that around.

If you just give them the 2 acres, there will be rooted up spots, some ignored, but they will roam all over it. They like to explore their surroundings. Even when given free feed, they have such an instinct to forage and root, they will do it even when they're well-fed.

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Old 01/17/13, 12:49 PM
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Need? Well, CAFOs pack pigs into small pens. Look to them for the absolute minimum. I would suggest a lot more space.

For sustainable pastured pig raising I figure a maximum of 10 pigs per acre on our fields doing managed rotational grazing and the pigs getting most of their food from the pastures. This will vary somewhat with the quality of the fields. The managed rotational grazing method is important - don't create a feed dry lot.

See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2007/10/12/h...-land-per-pig/

and

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/animals/pigs/

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Old 01/17/13, 02:03 PM
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Thanks I was just wondering if the best way to utilize the two acres would be to let them use it at their own discretion or to rotate them through it. I do not need them to clear the area or anything and will eventually rotate them through it because i think its an interesting concept to try to plant items that they would be able to self harvest but that is looking pretty far into the future at this time. Just want to start out with basic pasture raising that will keep pigs happy, odor down, and minimize damage to the land.

I get alot of flak for suggesting raising pigs on pasture. A lot of people think its stupid and a waste of space as pigs don't need it and just like to dig and roll in their own stink which I know is not true. Would like to be successful (or at least not fail miserably) so that I can prove them wrong but their is really no one doing anything like this in our area. It is also difficult to find heritage pigs around here If asked what kind of pigs people raise they just say "pink ones". Like what else? I am trying to read a lot and not romanticize the way things will be but with no hands on experience reading and learning from others experiences is really all I have right now.

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Old 01/17/13, 02:31 PM
 
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I'm right there with you Hazel2006, I'm gonna try to pasture raise 2 this year. It is hard to find good info locally as most still raise pigs in small pens or on concrete. I pretty much lurk around this board and pick up what info I can. Walters website has been helpful as well. Keep us updated with your progress and I'll try to do the same.

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Old 01/17/13, 02:58 PM
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The best way to use the two acres is to setup rotational grazing paddocks. You can even do it such that they have a home paddock that becomes a crop space the following year. With good managed rotational setups you can plant a fair bit of food that the pigs then self-harvest.

Don't let the nay-sayers get you down. We raise hundreds of pigs on pasture - that's our niche. It works. Don't worry about proving those people wrong, just focus on succeeding. Some people like that will never accept that something works even though they see it happening. I call this the BumbleBee Syndrome as in those scientists who insisted that it is impossible for Bubble Bees to fly. Bumble Bees just ignore them and go about their Bumble Bee business of flying.

The best way to learn is by doing. You can read a lot, winter's a good time for it, but you'll learn more through experience.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/

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  #7  
Old 01/17/13, 03:07 PM
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Allot also depends on the breed of pig. Some are more at home grazing than others.
American Guinea Hogs, KuneKune, and the Idaho Pasture Pig (IPP) that I never heard of until yesterday are less inclined to root if they have good pasture to graze.

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Old 01/17/13, 03:22 PM
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I find that rooting has more to do with the conditions than the breed of the pig. See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/10/03/rootless-in-vermont/

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Old 01/17/13, 05:16 PM
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What kind of fencing do you recommend to enclose pig pastures?
Our two kunekunes get let out to pasture sometimes and after a quick nibble and stroll about they just dive through the fence into our yard and get thrown back in their pen pronto! Would like to pig proof a bit more.

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Old 01/17/13, 05:21 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I shouldn't have said I want to prove them wrong because I am doing this for myself as I think this way best fits me personally but it wouldn't hurt my feelings if people saw it as successful and wanted to try it also

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Old 01/17/13, 05:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ani's ark View Post
What kind of fencing do you recommend to enclose pig pastures?
Electric.
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Old 01/18/13, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ani's ark View Post
What kind of fencing do you recommend to enclose pig pastures?
Our two kunekunes get let out to pasture sometimes and after a quick nibble and stroll about they just dive through the fence into our yard and get thrown back in their pen pronto! Would like to pig proof a bit more.
We use a mix of fences and stone walls. The outside perimeter fence is mostly four strands of high tensile electric smooth wire. Poly wire would also work there. This runs along stone wall.

The paddock divisions are mostly two or three wires of electrified polywire on step in posts. Smooth wire high tensile would be ideal.

We fence for the larger pigs since the small pigs follow the herd. To keep pigs in during weaning we have tighter stock panel and woven wire fences. Same for keeping pigs out of gardens.

It is very important to have a good high powered energizer for the fence, at least 2.5 joules, preferably 6 joules and I like 15 joule. We have two 15 joule energizers that power our outer perimeter, one to the north, one to the south. These do not connect with each other. The field division and paddock fences are powered off of these outside perimeter fences. Our outside perimeter is about 1.5 miles.

Note that when the fence companies write "will do 100 miles" they mean 100 miles of wire in perfect condition under perfectly dry fence conditions with ideal soil moisture and perfect grounding. That is to say 1.5 miles with 4 wires is 6 miles of fencing. Add weed load, rain, etc and you'll not be getting close to that 100 miles. Over power the fence.

See:
http://www.google.com/search?q=site:...rm.com+fencing
http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2007/07/23/c...fence-testing/

It is also critical to train animals to the fencing.
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  #13  
Old 01/18/13, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ani's ark View Post
What kind of fencing do you recommend to enclose pig pastures?
Our two kunekunes get let out to pasture sometimes and after a quick nibble and stroll about they just dive through the fence into our yard and get thrown back in their pen pronto! Would like to pig proof a bit more.
I have both standard field fence and electric
My AGH and AGH/KuneKune cross don't really challenge the fence. If they find the electric is off for some reason they will move through it. But that has only happened once and the fence was down for a couple of days before I noticed it and they figured it out before I could get it back on.
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Old 01/18/13, 05:26 PM
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Wait, so you're telling me freerange pigs take up less space than I thought? *blink...blink...eBay*

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Old 01/22/13, 04:53 PM
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I find that rooting has more to do with the conditions than the breed of the pig. See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/10/03/rootless-in-vermont/
Thanks for the info “highlands”
My information is based on very limited experience and what I have read. That learning curve is still pretty steep.
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