Pastured pigs

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Rob30, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I pastured all my pigs this year. I have a couple questions.
    Most of my hay is medium quality mostly grass. Can the pigs get much out of grass? Or does it have to be a legume hay?
    What should I do to speed up finishing? My babies from April are only 150lbs or so. They were fed all the pasture they could handle. They shared about 10+ acres with 6 pigs, 2 calves and 5 goats. I also supplimented with about 6lbs chop per day for the pigs. I bought a couple feeders in March, but it took until mid September to finish him. However the meat is great.
    My other question is how do I fix the fields now. They look like they have been ploughed in some areas, but the areas are spread out. I have tried discing one. Should I harrow next?
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    The 6 lbs of chop must have been for the 6 pigs and not 6 lbs per pig, is that correct? Finishing hogs need higher protein than the pasture is providing. The pasture arrangement would be more suitable for sows. You should be able to finish a good feeder pig (50 lbs) at 220 to 240 lbs in approximately 115 days. It is all dependent on the ration.
     

  3. Rob30

    Rob30 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How could I increase protien levels it the pasture?
    I have been doing alot of reseach on pastured (grasss fed) meat and its health bennifits. Or should I just put some soy meal in a creap feeder.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I suggest that you feed the pigs some additional creep feed in the 14 to 16% protein level until they achieve 75 to 85 lbs. Small pigs will not do as well on just grass. Hogs have a rather small digestive tract relative to ruminients and they do not digest roughage and extract nutrients as efficiently. Once they achieve shoat size then pasture only will suffice.It may take them longer to reach market weight but just anticipate that in timing when you want to butcher.
     
  5. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    pigs will tear up a pasture, left to their own devices about 20-30% of their diet will be grazing, the rest is plowing for grubs etc, and they can very quicky starve the herbivores that are sharing the pasture, by turning over the sod and killing the ground cover. I made pig excluder gates so there are some pastures that they cant get into, since they aren't good jumpers. The sheep, burro and dog have no trouble clearing the excluder gate, but it stymies the pigs. As for increasing protein, you could plant legumes, any variety, your ag extention agent should be able to tell you what will grow easily, also turnips.
     
  6. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Supporter

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    We pasture our herd of pigs along with the sheep. Ours don't dig the pasture up very much, but then perhaps I'm not very fussy either. :) When we run the chickens behind the pigs the birds scratch down any high spots and smooth the soil back out. Then I seed any bare spots as this gives me a chance to change the mix to more legumes. We are recovering old brushy pasture and woods. In the winter we feed the pigs the same hay we feed to the sheep. When we have it available we feed excess milk and cheese trim to the pigs. This makes them finish faster. The will finish fine on just pasture and hay but it takes about a month longer than if grained or fed the dairy.
     
  7. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    Rob...we also pasture our hogs. You will need a good quality legume hay in order to get the protein levels up. White, Red & Alsike Clovers along with Alfalfa, Fescue and some perrenial Ryes would be a good combination...of course that depends on what soil conditions you have. Depending on how chewed up the pastures are, you should be able to harrow and seed. Of course that would be pointless if your animals are still allowed access to that area of the pasture. Pasturing works better if it is intensively managed. I would surmise that your finishing would go faster if your protein was higher. Field Peas, Soy, Milk protein etc.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading/2004_April_May/Makin__Better_Bacon
    http://www.grassfarmer.com/pigs/gunthorp.html
    http://www.eatwild.com/news2.html

    Good luck!