pasturing pigs

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by rmercier, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. rmercier

    rmercier New Member

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    If we want to raise pastured pigs in cleared and succession lands, how many acres of pasture would be needed for 10 animals. This would be on stony uncultivated New England land.
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hogs with rings in their noses will require less ground than ones without rings. Pigs without rings soon make a pasture look like a waste land. With rings, they don't kill whatever grass and greens there may be there to start with. There are so many variables that it is only a crap shoot to answer your question, but on rough land about an acre for each 5 hogs should be plenty.
     

  3. rmercier

    rmercier New Member

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    thank you uncle Will
     
  4. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    OTOH pigs without rings might dig up those rocks for you and make it easier to pull them out of the pasture


     
  5. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

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    Some books make pigs sound like dream animals for clearing land, but it seems to involve a whole lot of resource management. (moveable fences and whatnot)
     
  6. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, we're in the mountains of northern Vermont with thin poor rocky soil. :) We have six sheep, four sows and 26 piglets along with fifty or so assorted chickens and ducks on about seven to nine acres of poor quality pasture that they are improving. They have only worked about half to two thirds of that. The pasture looks far better than it did years ago when we started reclearing the grown forest out of the fields that have not been used in decades. Now it is starting to look like real pasture. This is a sustainable level. I'll need to increase the herd sizes to work the other 26 acres of pasture we're opening up.

    It comes to about half an acre or so of poor quality pasture per pig sized animal unit per year. As the pasture improves it supports a more dense population. The sections we did first are now lush grasses and legumes. In our case the soil is quite acidic so liming also helps - but that's expensive so I've only done it once. We do spread wood ash which also helps.

    Both pigs and sheep are very good at clearing the brush.

    We don't ring ours. When they go out on the pasture first first thing in the spring they do dig in a bit. But quickly they switch to browsing and grazing. The area they dug up looks better than before after a few weeks of regrowth. They don't make it look like a waste land unless they are too confined.

    All that said, their wonderful ability to till can be put to your advantage. If you fence them into a small area, say 100' x 200' four sows and six sheep, and give them a week they'll till it up nicely for planting crops behind them after they move onto the next section. After I move the pigs I put the birds in as they scratch the soil up, break up the clods and poops and smooth it out. This is a lot cheaper and more peacefull than me doing it on the tractor. Saves me time too. Then I plant crops. Most of these I have the animals harvest later in the year as part of their feed when the weather turns.

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    in Vermont