Hay fed pigs

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Rob30, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What kind of hay do you feed your pigs when feeding hay? We pasture raise pigs and feed very little during summer months. Just enough to keep them friendly and help move them. During winter we feed ground grain and soy. We give hay for bedding and feed. However I don't think they could survive on just the hay. From what I have read the adults are the only ones that could digest high fiber effectivly.
    Is their a different management system for hay fed pigs? Wean them at an older age?
    Our hay is mostly grasses with a little red clover and trefoil.
     
  2. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    We feed high quality Alfalfa( 19-24 % Protien) - but sparingly. For example, one 2" thick slab off a small square bale per adult sow or Boar per day. A similar slab for two-three weaner size pigs. We experimented and found that if you feed more than that of the top-notch hay they will just waste it. We generally keep a round bale of grass mix 10-14% protien type hay in each group pen. The older big Hogs will eat quite a bit of this in the winter, but they also tear it down and bed themselves.
    The Alfalfa and our leftover dairy farm milk replace the soy as a protien source for us. We also feed cracked shelled corn year round, varying the quantity to match available forages and an individuals needs. Lactating sows get more, for example.
    Due to the rising prices of shelled corn, we are contemplating going to a 50-50 mix of cracked corn and ground barley. Does anyone know if barley causes any bad side effects for Hogs?

    We try to supply 40-50 % of Hogs' Diet from non-grain sources year around. From all that I have read, Hogs need "some" grain in their diet to do well for you.
     

  3. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    Up North, I'd feed rolled or cracked barley w/cracked corn. Ground is awful dusty unless you feed wet.Lots of pigs raised on cracked barley here. Also, some pigs try to sort the corn out of the ground barley- waste a lot.
     
  4. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Thanks Arcticcow. Say if you're headin' south for the Holidays swing by our place on the way. Got a couple Duroc Gilts you can take to ChefTel & The Nurse for Christmas :)

    BTW do you get that 24 Hours of Darkness Deal where you live?
     
  5. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Rob, pigs wouldn't survive any better on hay than cattle. At best it is a supplementary feed designed to give bulk, roughage and keep previously well conditioned animals at a level of maintenance that will see them through a period of low feed.

    Up North, pigs do very well on barley. I have fed mine rolled - which I think would be the same as your cracked - for years. I add it to my cooked pig food to make it go that bit further and the pigs love it. I have also, by accident discovered something else with barley. I can't get rolled barley where I'm living so use whole barley. I soak it in hot water the night before I want to use it in the cooked food. The last time I soaked more than I needed so left the remainder in the bucket with the lid sitting on top. A week later I had a "barley garden". It had sprouted with all these lovely soft green leaves about 3" tall. I gave some to the chooks, some to the pigs and threw the rest in with the pig food I was cooking. It all disappeared. Barley is reasonably high in protein, something like 11% (but don't quote me on that) so is a good feed source. And if you can get hold of it , barley straw makes the best bedding. The pigs don't eat it, nor does it absorb urine in the way hay does so makes for healthier bedding.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  6. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    OK, everyone, important ALASKA facts...no, we don't live in igloos. Yes I do live near North Pole. No, we don't get 24-hour dark--sun comes up at 10:30 & goes down at 2:30. BUT, from mid-May to late July it don't get dark! Can be 85F. or 65 below. I won't dehorn critters 'cause we have all the varmints you do except cougars. I can raise tomatoes & peppers in the garden, but so far corn has not matured. And if someone mentions cow, calf, or bull-- people assume MOOSE!!!
     
  7. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if this is the right place for this, but my cows do just fine on hay for the winter without supplementation. Not saying pigs would, I haven't tried it yet.
     
  8. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I fed three bottle steers pasture and hay for one year. I also have three bottle calves I have fed grain for tree months. The grain fed are the same size as the hay fed. Except the previous have hay bellies.

    We feed little corn. About 20% of our mix. The rest is mixed local grain and soy ground. The pigs grow well.

    However I feed mostly pasture in summer and enjoy the meat produced. I want the same results from the winter raised pigs.

    Minimum grain
    Maximum growth
    Lean carcuss
    Healthy meat
     
  9. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    .netDude, I think we are both saying the same thing. Hay IS a suppplementary feed, fed out in periods of slow grass growth. I try to get my cattle into peak condition over the autumn and then maintain that condition with hay over the winter period along with any grass growth that may occur. I do add molassas and palm kernal to the hay for my winter milkers.

    Rob, while hay is probably a good addition to their diet, a pig would be hard pushed to maintain condition on hay alone irrespective of it's age. They are not ruminants and are high energy users, and hay, no matter how good a quality, is not going to provide that energy. This is why I milk cows over the winter.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  10. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    My pigs grazed in the summer but I still fed them pig chow and garden scraps etc.. In the winter, I put grass hay down thick as bedding regularly and they munched on it all winter long along with pig chow, kitchen scraps and some cracked corn added in to help them weather the cold here in Central Oregon. I think the grass hay helped to keep them "regular" :)
     
  11. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Sounds like a pretty rugged life up there.
    BTW I was thinking about your Quest for Dual-Purpose cattle that would survive your climate. A dairy farm couple near here bought a Belted Galloway Beef Bull (Named Shaggy) and put it over there Holstien Milk Cows. They are nearing retirement and plan to "ease" into beef, LOL. The resulting offspring were all stocky, strong B&W Belted cattle with modest udders(They are actually milking them along with the Holstiens) and a thick, shaggy coat of hair. They have enough hair on their udders and covering their teats they might actually work better than a Normande in your climate.
    Heather has pics stored away somewhere in this confounded contraption if you wish to have a look....Cheers.
     
  12. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    Why not buffalo? I remember the Surge magazine a few years back had a story about a farm in Alberta that was milking about 80 buffalo through a double 6 parlour. Course, the first one through the parlour pretty well demoed it but they rebuilt it and reinforced it and the next try went well.
     
  13. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    dale, are you talking water buffalo or bison? bison are down right scarey critters!! :help: was at bison boys once and he had two steers stare us down! :Bawling: the more feral the animal the better they do on roughage. have seen wild boar raised with mostly hay, but the meat was tough and they had a lot of mortalities .
     
  14. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

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    I believe they was water buffalo. Even I ain't tough or crazy enough to crawl under a bison cow! Not unless there was BIG money on it. By the way, sale barn cows can do a job on a parlor. People do milk Jerseys here, but they have lots better facilities. Do appreciate the help, folks.
     
  15. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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  16. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    I went to your pages..... very nice.
    From what i've read you feed nothing but hay? How do they live on just hay? I realize that it needs to be high quality hay but I didn't realize it is possible to raise them on just hay. Is that what you do? Am I getting this right?
     
  17. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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    No, we don't usually feed only hay although we have done that and it works. We generally also feed garden gleanings, pumpkins and such in the fall, excess milk, whey and cheese trim. During the warm months they get pasture, which has a tremendous variety. During the winter they get hay as their base food in addition to the dairy.

    We have fed just hay/pasture for raising pigs from grower to market size. They will grow a little slower than pigs fed commercial feed rations or hay plus dairy. On just hay they take about seven months to reach market size of 225 lbs and are leaner.

    I find that the very best results, economics and meat quality comes from free feeding pasture/hay plus dairy with the pigs free ranging. This produces a deliciously sweet meat and fat. Back fat is around 1" which is excellent. Doing this takes about six months from birth to market which is similar to the commercial feed growth rates.

    One important part about feeding hay is that it gives the pigs fiber in their diet. This improves digestion, makes for better quality manure and helps retain the valuable nitrogen fertilizer they produce.

    Straw or stalky hay would not be as good. Leafy hay is better. They do not need or even prefer "high quality" horse hay. Sheep and cattle hay is fine. If there is lots of alfalfa, clover and other good stuff in the hay, so much the better but they can do well enough without that. The better quality (legume) hay will give better results of course since it is higher in protein.

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    Sugar Mtn Farm
    in Vermont
     
  18. DaleK

    DaleK Well-Known Member

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    No these ones were bison. Thus the first one through bending 2" pipe gates in half. They were using the milk to make some sort of skin cream, it has about 8% butterfat. Notice I'M not offering to try it
     
  19. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Rob...We are a Canadian, pasture based farm. A grain based diet is fed to our pigs but it is supplemented with hay at a rate of 40% in the winter. We use a very rich, alfalfa based, hay that is ground in a hammermill and mixed with ground grain. This year we are feeding wheat screenings as the base feed. Protien and vit/mineral levels are high. Breeds that can utilize pasture/hay include mostly heritage breeds or the white breeds that have been bred to thrive on pasture (rare). In the summer, the pastures are legume based ie..forage turnips, canola, alfalfa, clover with very little grass. Pigs need much higher levels of protein than ruminants and thrive on rich pasture that would bloat a cow or sheep. Our young weaner pigs do quite well on the diet and seem to especially enjoy chowing down on a big flake of alfalfa hay...age is irrelevant with the right breed.

    Our cattle receive no grain of any kind as they are ruminants and are not designed to eat grain. Grain greatly increases the level of acid in the rumen and acidifies the meat and decreases the ability of the animal to effectively digest grass.
     
  20. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    nor i dale!! having calved out angus cows in the past have an idea of what a bison cow could do! milking herefords by hand and holsteins and ayshires with a pipeline was much nicer! sheep were a cake walk too milk too! not sure i would milk a pig though our alfa guy said they make a milker!