Grass fed Pigs

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by squirrelgirl, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. squirrelgirl

    squirrelgirl Active Member

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    We are wanting to raise grass fed pigs. We are an organic veg. farm and already raise dairy goats and beef cows about 98% grass fed, and have pastured chickens. But I can't seem to find many sources of information on raising pigs grass fed. I can find all kinds on cows and pastured poultry but not specficly on pigs. So my question: does anyone do this? Are there any books or other resources you can reccommened? Thank you
     
  2. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    Our pigs eat a lot of grass and hay, and other green stuff, but pigs aren't ruminants and won't do particularly well without some grain or other concentrated feed. Other than the occassional article in an alternative farming publication, I don't know where you'd get the information. A fair number of people raise pigs on pasture but not exclusively. I read an article years ago by Allan Nation of The Stockman Grass Farmer, about someone using pigs to follow cows and get their concentrate needs from eating cow manure, but it took quite a while for them to size up, as I recall.
     

  3. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Squirrelgirl...we raise our hogs organically and pasture them. Up to 50% of their diet is pasture and hay. There is quite a bit of info out there. Do a google on "pastured hogs". Greg Gunthorp and others have books and publications on the subject. There are many methods. We use rotations on legume-rich pasture and also grind alfalfa and mix it in with grains. We use electric fencing to partition off the larger pastures and rotate them intensively to avoid destruction of the pastures. We don't use rings in their noses. If you shoot me an e-mail, I can e-mail you some publications that I have collected digitally.
     
  4. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Another good method for "pasturing" hogs is to plant other succulents like Forage Turnips and Rapeseed (Canola) along with some legumes like peas, clovers and alfalfa. Alfalfa, for instance, has a good level of digestable protein and contains all necessary vitamins and minerals. Gains on pasture with an organic approach are not as quick as with conventional, intensive, modern operations...but then again, raising pigs organically is not about how quick they get to market because you don't have a million dollar mortgage and contracts to fulfill. The couple extra weeks of time that the pigs are on our farm is certainly worth it in our minds.
     
  5. tbishop

    tbishop Well-Known Member

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    Just for your information- there is a Yahoo group devoted to pasturing pigs. It looks to be a very active group of late. You can got here to view it and you must have a Yahoo ID to join.

    Tim B.
     
  6. sunshine estate

    sunshine estate Well-Known Member

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    Today for the first time I gave my 2 penned-up pot bellies a couple of handfuls of "lawn clippings" along with their regular food...I had planted bahia so I could use it for animal food and encouraged the more nutritious weeds...they seemed to like it, but I couldn't stay to see how much they ate (other critters were hungry).

    Anyone use clippings for their pigs? Our grass is "improved" with blackberry brambles, crabgrass, "dog fennel" and other weeds...I'm trying to get some dandelions growing, too...and if I keep feeling better, I'll get some clippings from some roadsides around here...

    edited to add: Thanks for the link to the grass-fed pigs group...
     
  7. HogEmAll

    HogEmAll Well-Known Member

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    10 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida
    During the summer months, I offer all of my grass-clippings to my hogs. I have about 2 acres or more of "lawn". I don't use any kind of fertilizer or weed-killers, so it's all natural. It's a mixture of several types of lawn grass as well as some weeds, but the pigs LOVE the clippings. I have a yard rake that hooks to the back of my riding mower. When I'm done mowing, I usually end up with about 100lbs or more of fresh clippings. I offer them these clippings right away while it's still wet and fresh, and they devour every last stem.
     
  8. spam4einstein

    spam4einstein Well-Known Member

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    North GA
    MY poy belly just gets pasture. Is doing great. She eats the baby shoots, not the hay. I give her a few chicken eggs a week for good measure.
     
  9. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Ky
    our pbp's are pastured. They get no commercial feeds. They forage, but we have plenty of woods so they get acorns, walnuts etc and each day to train them to the paddock they get a little whole kernal corn which probably adds up to a half cup per animal per day. They grow slower than commercial hogs, but then so do pbp's in general. 9months is typical butchering age
     
  10. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Supporter

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    We have a herd of 30 sows plus boar, piglets and growers, all pasture fed - no grain or commercial feed. They get most of their food from the pasture in the warm months and then hay in the dead of winter. Some years they have only gotten pasture. When available we also feed cheese trim, excess milk, eggs, garden gleanings, pumpkins, dated bread, etc but that makes up only a minor portion of their diet and sometimes we have gone for long periods (18 months) without the extra stuff from off farm.

    The fact that pigs are not ruminants is not relevant. Pigs can thrive on just pasture - they will grow a little slower (7 months instead of 6 to hit market weight of 225 lbs). Adding milk/cheese/whey to the diet is a great complement and inexpensive if you have a source of excess. This will bring the growth rate right back up to the same (6 months) as if they had grains or commercial feed. The meat is delicious with just pastured or pasture+dairy.
     
  11. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My pigman does pasture and outside farrowing in Summer....also feeds alot of grass clippings....ALOT!