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Free range, whatever God planted is good enough for pigs. Although I am experimenting with blue hubbard squash to store for the winter for both the family and the livestock.
 

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the planting will come after they are moved :) We don't plant anything for them. We've used them to clear out plots for gardens . Whatever is in there, even hidden stumps, comes up in short order. I never fenced in a whole pasture and I'm glad I never did. They would ruin it within a year- no grass, or bush would be left standing. They've killed myrtle trees as well (which I don't mind in the least).
 

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We let ours clean our garden plot in the fall. I've never planted anything for them specifically, they just get the leftovers from the garden. Our hog pens are around 100'x60' and they seem to keep them weed free.
 

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hi,

I mentioned to my father that some of you said you put your hogs in to clean up your garden and till it for the next spring. he said ew yuck you don't want to do that! his father (my grandfather) raised feeder pigs up until his death in the 80s and his dad's cousin told him that one time he tried that and planted cane afterwards in the field. Said the molasses they made from the cane was inedible because it tasted like the pigs manure!

So, is my 90 year old second cousin (third cousin? my grandfathers cousin anyway!) full of it or what? :) He's a great guy and has almost a century of experience living/working on a farm and growing a garden. or was he just pulling my dads leg?? (anyone who has known a rural tennessean born in the early part of last century probably knows their love of city on the porch of the local country store and one upping each other with their whopper stories!).

Mel-
 

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Mel- said:
hi,

I mentioned to my father that some of you said you put your hogs in to clean up your garden and till it for the next spring. he said ew yuck you don't want to do that! his father (my grandfather) raised feeder pigs up until his death in the 80s and his dad's cousin told him that one time he tried that and planted cane afterwards in the field. Said the molasses they made from the cane was inedible because it tasted like the pigs manure!

So, is my 90 year old second cousin (third cousin? my grandfathers cousin anyway!) full of it or what? :) He's a great guy and has almost a century of experience living/working on a farm and growing a garden. or was he just pulling my dads leg?? (anyone who has known a rural tennessean born in the early part of last century probably knows their love of city on the porch of the local country store and one upping each other with their whopper stories!).

Mel-
Hi Mel,
I'm not one of the pig-raising experts. To me it is strange to hear that though. Manure has long been used as fertilizer but I've never heard of a taste given to the harvest. My family used to tell me that rabbit pellets couldn't be used as fertilizer because it burned the crops. Now I see that as a potential market in agriculture according to the reports I read. Perhaps my family was speaking from lack of experience rather than from experience. I will be interested in the rest of this thread to set me right :)
 

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Having a pasture for hogs isn't the same as letting them go out and tear up everything they come to. To have high protien forage that they can eat and reduce the amount of grain nessesary to put weight on them, they must be rung so they don't ruin it. The best pasture for them is legumes. In the northern states that would be alfalfa or clover. Whatever does well in your zone would be the best. Hogs without rings don't have pastures, they have strip mines.
 
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I'm told by the locals that the main pasture for hogs was rape. I also read that in a number of books on the subject. It was said that pastured pigs ate 30% less grain. I was thinking of doing this, but most rape is now frankenfood, about 85%, for that matter so is corn and therefore anything that you buy for your pigs contains altered food that would never have happened under the laws of nature.

To pasture pigs you move them once they start tearing up a plot too much and let it come back. I hear this is fairly easy with moveable electric fence.

YMMV
 

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Mel- said:
hi,

I mentioned to my father that some of you said you put your hogs in to clean up your garden and till it for the next spring. he said ew yuck you don't want to do that! his father (my grandfather) raised feeder pigs up until his death in the 80s and his dad's cousin told him that one time he tried that and planted cane afterwards in the field. Said the molasses they made from the cane was inedible because it tasted like the pigs manure!

So, is my 90 year old second cousin (third cousin? my grandfathers cousin anyway!) full of it or what? :) He's a great guy and has almost a century of experience living/working on a farm and growing a garden. or was he just pulling my dads leg?? (anyone who has known a rural tennessean born in the early part of last century probably knows their love of city on the porch of the local country store and one upping each other with their whopper stories!).

Mel-
Hi Mel, I've been raising hogs for years and have never had a problem. I don't raise cane, but my tomatoes, beans, greens and the rest of the veggies taste great. I also use the chickens to spread the straw/manure out of my barns.
I scoop the barns with a small tractor, place the scoop piles in the garden, sprinkle the top of each pile with some grain and then turn the chickens in.

They scratch and throw manure and straw right and left til there's no more pile. :D
 
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cowgirlone and tango,

well I think I am just going to have to try it then! I was thinking about getting two or three feeder pigs this fall after my garden is done and enclosing them on it. My garden is probably around 75 x 100,how long would it take 3 pigs to clean it up and till it?

Have any of you planted your garden in the fall in some kind of cover crop for pigs? I'm thinking winter wheat or something. I just wondered if that was feasible. I would want the pigs off by late March though and on no sooner than Oct. The wheat probably wouldn't get a chance to grow would it? I wonder about instead planting a really late crop of corn at the end of the season for the pigs? I guess I might try planting a late batch this season just to see what it does.

Do pigs eat corn stubble left after it is harvested? I have about a 100 acre field of corn next to my garden I thought I'd glean what I could out of or try moveable pens,

Mel-
 

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mel ,what you want to do is after the last cultication of the corn is to plant rape, thats a fancy name for a type of turnip plant, the same family canola oil is made from. also a little clover would not hurt. if you want another fast growing feed plant try buckwheat and winter rye. not wheat. any old bean or pea seed you have will work. also if you plant it for the pigs the moveable pens sound real good for this plan but you don't let them on the growth till its about 8 inches tall.
 

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I bring my pasture to my hogs .... all the clippings they can eat during grass cutting season. Doubles as bedding. I also let it air dry a day and sack it for winter.
 

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Go to the homesteading questions page and do a search on "three sisters" There you will find what you need on this topic.

bearkiller
 
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bearkiller,

I hope this is the post you meant, I am pasting it here for others:

Bluecreekrog,

First off, plant anything you like! Even popcorn works well. I like sweet corn that has been grown to maturity (like field corn) ground for corn meal. Works fine, tastes great...but I do not use much for direct eating...that's just me! Bear in mind I'm in the People's Republic with a very long growing season.

In my use the three sisters are stock feed...I don't eat much maize in any form. Most varieties of beans that I grow are oriented to the stock, but you are the one making the choices. But I do eat my share of winter squash...did you see the essay in the latest BackWoods Home magazine???

First, plant your corn and let it get up one to two feet and then plant your beans. Otherwise the corn will be behind your beans and they will not have a "trellis" to grow on. As soon as the beans are up and doing I plant the Winter squash or you could choose pumpkins. I let it all run close to maturity before getting into it again. I do NOT use "hill" planting. I simply use row crop methods and it works just fine. I usually space the corn out about 8 inches in the rows about 28-30 inches apart. I plant two beans for each corn plant. Once the squash gets going weeds don't have much chance, the squash are sending vines to Mexico if I don't control them. Wait 'til last to plant the squash because it is such a rampant grower.

Pigs will eat everything including the entire corn stalk, roots and all. They have amazed me more than once. Beans add protein so the pigs do better, but then early on they get some excess goat milk and whey. Squash provides lots of vitamins and calories.

I also add root crops to the feed program, pigs love them. the sheep eat some, and even my goats will nibble. Then there are the chickens who will provide real competition to the pigs for eating everything in site.

If you are looking at planting the three sisters for your own table simply plant varieties you like to eat. If you want to substitute some cucumbers, fine, but keep them at one edge because when everything gets growing well later on, "walking" in there gets to be pretty dicey...everything wants to crawl up your leg and tangle your feet. Frankly, it gets to be a jungle in there. I use mostly open pollinated heirloom seeds, but your choice if you want the newer hybrids. Whatever you choose, ENJOY!!

bearkiller
 

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oops, the above post was me.

James,

this is a field that my parents rent out. The man that farms it is a relative but not sure he'd want me to plant anything in with his corn before it was harvested so I was wondering what I could plant in afterwards. That would usually be late sept or early oct in these parts unless we get too much rain (indiana).

alternatively, I am thinking of a portable set of hog panels to move around the field once they have harvested (If I can find feeder pigs this fall). The biggest problem I see right off is supplying water to them. I know large cows/calves need 5 gallons of water a day, does anyone know how much a pig needs per day?

if as bear said they will eat all parts of a corn, does anyone have any idea how long say 90 acres of stubble would last a pig (1-3 pigs). This field connects to the next farm overs field with no fence or anything in between. The entire field might be 200 acres, I'm not sure but gobs. I could probably get that farmer to let me run the pigs on his too, especially if I give him some pork. He and his wife are pushing 90 and aren't even garening anymore I don't think.

Mike,

you said you bring your clippings to your hog. Do you mean you bush hog a pasture (or mow your yard) and bring the clippings to them? My brothers' two cows aren't anywhere near keeping up with their pasture, I wish I had something to feed the excess to right now! Dumb cows, early in the spring before the pasture took off I was bagging the grass from my lawn and giving it to them. Every time I start up the mower they come running even though they've got a pasture that is close to a foot tall !

Mel-

james dilley said:
mel ,what you want to do is after the last cultication of the corn is to plant rape, thats a fancy name for a type of turnip plant, the same family canola oil is made from. also a little clover would not hurt. if you want another fast growing feed plant try buckwheat and winter rye. not wheat. any old bean or pea seed you have will work. also if you plant it for the pigs the moveable pens sound real good for this plan but you don't let them on the growth till its about 8 inches tall.
 

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Yep ... I just give them a feed sack or 2 each weekly cutting ... they eat it even if they have plenty of regular ration ... has to cut feed costs at least a little... Also serves as bedding.
 

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Cowgirlone: How many pigs do you have in that 100'X60' enclosure, and for how long? I'm trying to figure out if 2 pigs would be enough to till up a quarter-acre of alfalfa and clover as part of a rotation (so they'd be on the plot most of the year).

cowgirlone said:
We let ours clean our garden plot in the fall. I've never planted anything for them specifically, they just get the leftovers from the garden. Our hog pens are around 100'x60' and they seem to keep them weed free.
 

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I'm just starting out myself and don't have pigs yet, but I plan to plant some root crops for the pigs I will get in a few months, like mangle beets and turnips...and will try peanuts next year (I'm in Florida.) You might want to check out this site: http://journeytoforever.org/farm_pig.html
I'm not endorsing these people as such because I only know what I have read on their site, but I find some of it very interesting...and it has some links to other sites about grazing pigs.
A good book on the subject is Small-Scale Livestock Farming: A Grass-Based Approach for Health, Sustainability, and Profit" by Carol Ekarius. I go back and reread it every year or two. It covers pasturing pigs as well as other livestock.
 

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Donal said:
Cowgirlone: How many pigs do you have in that 100'X60' enclosure, and for how long? I'm trying to figure out if 2 pigs would be enough to till up a quarter-acre of alfalfa and clover as part of a rotation (so they'd be on the plot most of the year).
Donal, I keep three sows in there, then separate them into smaller pens when they are due. So they are in there together for about three months at a time.
I wish I had more room for them. I feel like the more room they have, the healthier they will be. :)
 
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