Best pig to raise in pasture??

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by thestartupman, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. thestartupman

    thestartupman Well-Known Member

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    In your opinion, what is the best type of pig to raise on pasture. I am talking about doing a rotational grazing, and having them forage as much as possible. Explain why you would choose the type of pig you choose.
     
  2. sassafras manor

    sassafras manor Well-Known Member

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    I may not have the best pig for pasture but we run hamp/old spot crosses with great success. We do a modified rotational grazing system using 6'x12' sleds made from timbers and cattle panels. Depending on the forage available and age of the hogs, I may move it once or twice a day. By doing it this way, they can only tear up a limited area and then as the sled passes over it levels our their digging. On average, they are able to pass back over the same area 60 days later. We have used this method for the past 4 years without any escapes. They only get minimal supplemental feed and do take about 8 months to reach size, but restaurants love them.
     

  3. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Ideally get a pig from someone who is raising pigs on pasture already. That way they've got the instincts. What ever you do don't get factory farm pigs as they've been working for years to breed out the pasturing instincts.

    Ours are a cross of Yorkshire, Large Black and Berkshire with a pinch of Glouster Old Spot, Tamworth and Hampshire in them. Roughly that.

    Yorkshires grow big and fast. They do very well on pasture and are good mothers. There is a reason they're a foundation breed for so many other breeds. They're good.

    Large Black are much like Yorkshire, very docile. Not quite as big or fast growing. The one we got had 16 teats and farrows 3 times a year.

    Berkshire for the marbling.

    I'm not terribly fond of the Tamworth, not impressed with their growth or pasturing. I like the red color.

    Glouster Old Spot were developed in orchards. Very docile.

    Cheers,

    -Walter Jeffries
    Sugar Mountain Farm
    Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
    in the mountains of Vermont
    Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
    ButcherShop | Sugar Mountain Farm

    Check out our Kickstarting the Butcher Shop project at:
    On-farm Butcher Shop at Sugar Mountain Farm - Pastured Pigs by Walter Jeffries — Kickstarter
     
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  4. thestartupman

    thestartupman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Highland, I have read much of the things you have written both here, and on your web page. I would like to mimick a lot of what you are doing, except in a much smaller scale.
     
  5. RW kansas hogs

    RW kansas hogs Tim (the W of R-W Hogs)

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    Take at look at the Idaho Pasture Pigs at Home
    The Farris family in Idaho created these good lookin pigs and i plan on having some as soon as we move and save up for the trip to get them.
     
  6. Fineswine

    Fineswine Well-Known Member

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    I think the best short awnser is Large Black's and Old Spots.Any hog can be pastured weather pure bred or a blend of most hog breeds combined,but those two bred pure by a good margin are your best choise.
     
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  7. "SPIKE"

    "SPIKE" Well-Known Member

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    Not being critical, just trying to learn something.
    So your pigs do not get a wallow?

    SPIKE
     
  8. livinzoo

    livinzoo HeritageSpotsAndFeathers

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    I have mostly Old Spots, but I do cross my GOS boar onto some Large Black/ Berk girls and a Mulefoot/ Large Black girl.
     
  9. Farmerga

    Farmerga Well-Known Member

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    Hey Livinzoo,

    That GOS cross, I got from you, has become one of my favorite pigs. She is growing like a weed.

    For pasture pigs, I like anything with Large Black or Mulefoot blood. The Large Black is a good grazer and the Mulefoot is easy to fatten.

    Doster's Heritage Farm - Home - colbert, GA
     
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  10. gerold

    gerold Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have yorks and the piglets are York/Hamp cross. They forage all day long in the woods and in pasture. I feed them morning and evening to keep them tame. They are my pets. I go in every day and walk with them and pet them. All the piglets ( 27 left) come running when i go to a walk with them. The sows tag along at different times. They have cleared out 10 ac. of woods over the past year. Hardly any bushes remaining just trees now. This fall i will gave them another 10 ac. wooded area and 5 more ac. of pasture to forage in.

    Best,
    Gerold.
     
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  11. DWH Farm

    DWH Farm Well-Known Member

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    Compared to other breeds that we have owned the Large Blacks did best on pasture, both in rooting less and needing less supplemental feed. The fact that they are so docile is a bonus. We now only keep the LB's and a few LB crosses. I have hear that GOS are great on pasture also, but have no personal experience with them.
     
  12. livinzoo

    livinzoo HeritageSpotsAndFeathers

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    Farmerga-
    Watch out! Those GOS can really win you over, and she is 50%. Keep me updated on her.
     
  13. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    Gerold, are your wooded areas fenced that you walk with them in? If not, does the feed keep them coming back to you? Sorry if this is a dumb question. We have unfenced wooded property we are moving to soon and would love to have pigs help clear our the bushes! Never raised pigs before so trying to learn all I can from folks here on the forum.
     
  14. gerold

    gerold Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My property is fenced with 4 ft. field wire. I have cross fencing where i want the hogs to be. With solar elec. fence in places close to my house and also for the piglet lots.
     
  15. GoodNHappyFarm

    GoodNHappyFarm Well-Known Member

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    I am very new to pigs, the only reason I am responding is that I have a breeding pair of GOS that I just purchased about 5 weeks ago. They are so fun!! They are very sweet, especially the gilt Daisy, she comes up to me and always lays at my feet, then rolls over for her belly rub. The boar, Duke, is also very mellow, he is about 4 months old, so I don't know if his personality/temperament will change as he gets older, but so far he is great. We also purchased 2 bred Old Spot X gilts, but they came from a more confinement setting. They are approximately 1 year old, not quite as mellow, but Wilma just farrowed last week and she was a champ and very calm through the entire process and totally okay with my presence during the entire event. Betty is due the beginning of May, she is a little more aggressive and forward in personality, but still no problems at all. I don't have any experience other than this, but they have done great on our pasture and I think they are so much fun. My little tiny bit of experience I must say I do Love the Gloucestershire Old Spots!!
     
  16. Greyrooster==

    Greyrooster== Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to seriously raise pasture pigs, that is without additional feed, I would only go with Large Black and Berkshires. Please don't go for the hype on these new crosses and the fancy names they give these crosses. They are not heritage hogs. There is no need to have unproven crossed up hogs when you can get the real thing. I've never used GOS so I can't say anything about them. The large Black and Berkshire have worked best for me and I've tried them all. I have real pasture hogs, they live on what I plant and what nature provides. You can't do this with commercial hogs. I have heard of people using Yorkshire, Duroc and Hampshire crosses and calling them pasture pigs. I suspect they will go the way of Emu's and pot bellied pigs. Kunekunes are small, pot bellied, slow growing and have puny liters. Why would you wish to cross and animal like that into a proven heritage breed? If you want a pet get a dog. The correct type pig will do well according to the environment he has been developed to live in over long periods of time. Then there is the quality of meat that we are looking for. Why breed (the other white) into them. You're going backwards not forward. If you're going to place a feeder in the middle of a pasture and call that pasture raising you may as well just pen them up and feed them. If a hog has access to grain or pellets sure he's going to eat that. Same as a horse or cow. If I have a hog that hangs around the feeder and begs for food he's history. I consider it as culling bad traits from my herd. I don't have cannibalism or pig loss to trampling. Pigs are smart. Give them the proper environment and they will do well. I've found that the less I mess with my herd the less problems develop. That's just my experience. I imagine there are breeds like mulefoot or tamworths that may fit the bill. I just don't have much experience with them. Another thing. If you purchase your (Heritage pasture) pigs from someone who raises these pigs in little pens what do you expect to come home with? Several times I've driven a long way only to find the (heritage pasture) pigs I came for either were never on pasture or the pasture was nothing but brown grass and they were raised on sack feed. Take your time, select the right hogs and don't buy the hype. If mommy and daddy are pen raised what do you think the pigs will become? That's my two cents.
     
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  17. DaziAcres

    DaziAcres Well-Known Member

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    I just love you guys. .. so much info!!

    ;-)
     
  18. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    There is nothing magical about the heritage breeds. On top of that all to many have been raised in pens on grain for too many generations - they've lost their pasturing ability and been ruined for their original purpose. So be picky.

    As to Yorkshire, what you say is false, GreyRooster. We raise pigs on pasture, many thousands over the past decade, and Yorkshire is one of the primary components in our herd genetics. They're excellent pasture animals. Yorkshire is one of the original foundation breeds, a true heritage breed in the original sense of the word and excellent on pasture, if you can get pasture based ones. It is such a successful breed in modern genetics because it does so well.

    The advantage of the crosses is that farmers can selectively breed the best of the best and fix the problems that have shown up in the heritage breeds. We have multiple large breeding herds, of a mix of breeds, which gives us the opportunity to always be selecting the best animals for the next generations. That is hard to do with a small number of breeders - thus the whole reason for the development of breed registries to let people take advantage of numbers.

    No one breed is "best" but you'll do best by picking animals that have been raised for generations the way you want to be doing it. That gives you a leg up.

    Cheers,

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

    Lazy J Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bingo!!!!!!!
     
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  20. GreenMomma

    GreenMomma Well-Known Member

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    I would love to know more about the "sleds"! I'm searching for something like that online now, but not coming up with anything relevant. Do you have any pictures? Are they heavy? Do you have to use a quad or truck to move them?