need advice

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Tabitha, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

    Messages:
    1,751
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Location:
    Ky
    we just moved onto our few acres last fall and of course have been biting off more than we can chew, trying to do everything at once. Nevertheless, I would like to get a few pigs. we visited a farmer in Austria two years ago who keeps pigs to do his work. they do all his plowing and tilling, you have never seen a farm such as this. he does not feed the pigs either, he plants all kinds of foodstuffs, from potatoes, sun chokes, beets and carrots, etc etc. He harvests what the family wants and sells and leaves enough for the pigs, they can do their own harvesting, they have time all day. I could not do it as intensive as he does, but I do have a pile of pallets and am thinking of making an enclosure for pigs in a place I would like to till next year. Our place is overgrown with vines somewhat awful. we mowed a lot but there is no grass growing in some areas but what looks like trimmed down honeysuckle. does anyone know what I am talking about? I do not do so myself, since I am a stranger to these parts.
    I do not want potbellied pigs, what I would like is an oldfashioned, hardy breed that does not need to be babied. Does anybody have an idea what kind of pig I am looking for and where I can find a few? we live in Kentucky. WE have a bathtub with built in enclosure that is damaged and lying face down it looks like a perfect little cave for a few pigs. I would like to put it over by the edge of the woods so it will be in the shade. do pigs eat all those roots and tubers in the ground where it has not been cultivated in a very long time? I have found some quite big tubers and spent many hrs digging out roots by the wheelbarrow full. If some pigs would do that chore for me I would be very happy.
    Thank you :)
     
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,484
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes, your pigs will definitely help to clear your space out. They may not get everything out that you want out, but they will help. One way to get them to clear it out better is to put them in a small moveable pen. That way they go over that area completely, and you move the pen to a fresh area every day or two. This more labor intensive, though. It's less work on you to just turn them out in the space and let them go to work.

    The breed at first, IMHO, is not as important as finding someone who raises hogs the way you like. If you can find someone reasonably nearby that stills has their hogs outside, lets the sows farrow naturally on the ground, etc., then get a few feeder pigs from them. As you learn more about hogs and the different characteristics of each, then you can decide on a breed that you like, and start breeding them.
     

  3. diehard47

    diehard47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    LA.
    If you build the fence out of pallets,be sure to anchor the bottom of pallets to ground securely. Also try to use the longest pallets available. Electric fence will work better, especialy for your purpose.
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,844
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I would second Ty's reply but would add that in the States you have many "old" breeds to choose from and it's those I would be looking at although I appreciate that locality may have some bearing on what is available. The Duroc is a good all-rounder and an easy care pig for those who don't have a lot of experience, the Tamworth is also a good choice.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,205
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    After they clean up the place (my pigs till the garden and clean up after harvest also) your pigs will be bored and get out of the pallets. It won't take them long to leave the place ready for planting, even if it is overgrown now. If you get gilts and they start cycling, they will jump or break them to get out. Invest in some combination panels. You can use the pallets to build them a shelter. You can start with four panels ($16.99 each here) and increase by two in a month and then two more- that way as they grow they keep on working and you have a good secure enclosure. Good luck :)
     
  6. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Location:
    southwest AR
    Tabitha we raised pigs last year in a similar situation to what you are describing - we built our fence from pallets in a wooded and VERY overgrown area and the pigs do just what you want - till it up and eat everything they find and leave it clear. If I had it to do over I would train them to elec. fence early and make a way to put up paddocks of elec. fence around my main pen to increase the area they can intensively work. We really didn't take advantage of the enormous potential for clearing underbrush.

    We just had plain old pink yorkshires and they were fine!
     
  7. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Location:
    southwest AR
    I want to add that I agree with Tango - our pallet fence is no good anymore (a year later) and when I do pigs again I will buy the panels as cash on hand allows. But last year we had no money and a mountain of free pallets! Our pigs were close to escape when we finally got them off to the butcher, and the girl pig was the culprit.

    We reinforced our fence with sheets of tin nailed along the outside along the bottom - the theory of "they can't see out so they won't want to get out so bad" - and t-posts driven through the pallets at places we noticed they pressured the fence alot, and barbed wire on the inside at the base and shoulder height (for pigs) to keep from rubbing - they had a nice big tree to rub on.

    Our pigs got to over 300 lbs - if they wanted they could have pushed down the fence. But it was adequate for smaller pigs. But alot more work than the panels and now it is trash.

    But you make do with what you have, and that is what we did and it worked out great - so I say go for it!

    PS to water the pigs we ran a pvc pipe over the ground to the pen and attached a nipple. It doesn't get that cold here, so on nights when we thought it ould freeze we just drained it and turned it back on in the morning. Again not the deluxe solution but it worked.
     
  8. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

    Messages:
    1,751
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Location:
    Ky
    thank you folks for all your kind and good advice. I feel so encouraged.
     
  9. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Location:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    Yes, all great advice in my opinion. I would also concur that you should consider electric. You can then make the enclosure whatever size you need on a moments notice and move them around at will. Some breeds, like my beloved English Large Blacks, do not root all that well. A good "tilling" breed that still has great heritage meat qualities would be the Duroc or Tamworth. I am not completely familiar with the other heritage breeds as it relates to their rooting ability. I like the Blacks, because they do not rip my pastures to shreds.