Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all!
So, I have 3 pigs. They were born on 15 Feb of this year. I got them in early April. Fed them hay and some hog feed. Mid May I moved them to pasture where they have been since. I moved them in the beginning about every 4 or 5 days. Since mid Aug I have been moving them to new pasture every 2 days. They have never been rotated back to previous paddocks. They seem to have gotten bigger bellies, but thin on top. Started giving them apples as the apples fell from the trees. Started off with half a 5gal bucket, but as more apples fall, the pigs are getting 1 and 1/2 5gal bucket a day. About two weeks ago started giving them a oats, barley, molasses mix of feed once a day, about 3qt. In the past two paddocks they have really started rooting up the paddock. They would do it some in previous paddocks, but this has been a lot! Not sure if it is due to putting the feed directly on the ground, tossing the apples into the paddock or if there is something in this part of the paddock (tubers, grubs) they really like.
I have no idea how much they weight.
I know they are not up to slaughter weight as I prefer pasture raised vs stuffing them with feed. My FIL insists I need to give them 5lbs of feed a day. I have seen his pigs. They could barely get up, let alone walk. They were fat no doubt, but not healthy, something he and I argue about.
So, attached are pics I took yesterday. That is a 7gal water tub for scale. The A-frame is 4ftx8ft.
Please tell me what you see.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,860 Posts
They look wormy and undersized. W just hauled our February 7 Poland China barrow to the locker today, he weighed 297 lb.

It appears that you are not doing the pigs justice with your feeding regime.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
They look pretty small for nearly 7 months old...fairly well muscled and lean. It's all in what you are looking for. There's nothing wrong with lean if that's what you want. I like well marbled pork. If you keep doing what you're doing, they'll eventually get there, but it may take longer than you'll like.

What kind of forages do you have planted in their pastures? Legumes? Brassicas? Alfalfa? They need a good balance of high energy and high protein forages as well as proper mineral intake. Does your soil lack certain trace minerals? If so, are you supplementing those minerals?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,852 Posts
These look like they need more protein in particular but also more energy. Looking at the pasture I'm trying to see the forage mix. It looks like hard grasses for the most part. I don't see legumes. This may be a difficult pasture for pigs - too low in protein. At seven months I would expect them up around finisher size of 225 to 250 lbs or so depending on sex and genetics.

For future years, boosting the field with softer grasses that are more digestible, going heavy on the legumes, brassicas, amaranth, chicory are all things that may help. With just pasture I find it takes about nine months. Good pasture boosted with whey they finish in six to seven months or so depending on season, sex and genetics.

The deworming and mineral comments are also good points to help them get their maximum. Check gums and inside eyelids - they should be a good pink. White is an indicator of worms. Hair coat looks okay. Your doing rotations is good.

-Walter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,156 Posts
The 5lbs of feed a day your FIL recomends would be maintenance level or slightly above if they were at what most people would consider normal weight at their age.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
They look wormy and undersized. W just hauled our February 7 Poland China barrow to the locker today, he weighed 297 lb.

It appears that you are not doing the pigs justice with your feeding regime.
Can you test for worms (FEC) the same way as for goats?
I have the equipment for conducting FEC now.
Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
They look pretty small for nearly 7 months old...fairly well muscled and lean. It's all in what you are looking for. There's nothing wrong with lean if that's what you want. I like well marbled pork. If you keep doing what you're doing, they'll eventually get there, but it may take longer than you'll like.

What kind of forages do you have planted in their pastures? Legumes? Brassicas? Alfalfa? They need a good balance of high energy and high protein forages as well as proper mineral intake. Does your soil lack certain trace minerals? If so, are you supplementing those minerals?
Well, the pasture is still overgrown in spots with weeds. Working on clearing with the goats and to a lesser degree the pigs. I passed the pigs through a section with a significant amount of tall red and white clover. The rest is mainly grass. Not sure on the type, still learning, but I do recognize Timothy.

Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
These look like they need more protein in particular but also more energy. Looking at the pasture I'm trying to see the forage mix. It looks like hard grasses for the most part. I don't see legumes. This may be a difficult pasture for pigs - too low in protein. At seven months I would expect them up around finisher size of 225 to 250 lbs or so depending on sex and genetics.

For future years, boosting the field with softer grasses that are more digestible, going heavy on the legumes, brassicas, amaranth, chicory are all things that may help. With just pasture I find it takes about nine months. Good pasture boosted with whey they finish in six to seven months or so depending on season, sex and genetics.

The deworming and mineral comments are also good points to help them get their maximum. Check gums and inside eyelids - they should be a good pink. White is an indicator of worms. Hair coat looks okay. Your doing rotations is good.

-Walter
Thank you Walter!

The pigs seemed to be doing well, not too much belly, but not too much on top. Then when I moved them into an area heavy with the red and white clover, their bellies seemed to get big, and thinned out on top.
Ah! So, pigs are like goats in the eyelid checking thing! Did not know that.
I have the equipment for conducting FEC. If the same tests can be performed on pigs as they can goats, I will do one today or this evening.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,184 Posts
If they were mine at that age and that size I would be very disappointed. The bloated bellies can be from worms. I agree with the others that I would worm them and start them on some grain. Please understand at their age they are not just a little underweight, but way behind what they should be. I would recommend a commercial hog grower, as it will be mixed properly for their nutritional needs. There are non-gmo and organic feeds available if that is what is really important to you.

I do understand your concerns about raising FAT hogs. I also understand your desire to raise your hogs on a pasture based diet in order to get a healthier meat product. I think what you need to understand at this point is you need a better pasture, more suited to pigs, as far as the proper forages. This takes time, as in several years. You simply can not grow pigs while developing your pasture without some grain supplement.

In a perfect world we would all take time to build all of our facilities and buildings. We would fully develop all of our pastures, with the proper forage mixes. We would insure we had all of our fences at 100%. Then we would start off by buying a few feeders if we had never handled pigs or livestock. The fact is we do not live in a perfect world and most of us do not have everything in place as it should be when we start. This is not a major issue, if we recognize where we are lacking and supplement those areas until they are fully developed. This would mean not overwintering pigs if we do not have proper shelters. Not letting them roam over our entire property if we do not have the proper fencing. Or in your case providing supplemental feed until we get the proper pasture in place.

None of us here have the PERFECT setup. I am sure everyone here could come up with a list of things we need to improve. However, we all try to recognize where we fall short and do things a little different (maybe not ideal) until we can make it better. I myself am feeding a lot more grain than I would like to. My pigs do not have access to all the pasture I would like them to. But right now it is the best I can do, until I get everything fully developed and all of the infrastructure and pasture in place. My program will change with time. My pigs will have access to more and more pasture and woods as the fencing is put into place. I am planting pastures, and hopefully in the coming years they will provide more and more of the pigs diet, up to a reasonable amount. However, I know right now what grasses I have is simply not the right kind or the right amount, so I am providing supplemental feed to meet their nutritional needs. In my mind, this in no way takes away from the idea of pasturing pigs or raising healthier pigs, it is a step in that direction and we will eventually get to the point we want to be at. However, I would caution, do not put an agenda to raise pasture pigs before the health and welfare of the pigs. What I mean is, if you know your pasture is not providing what they need, and providing proper growth, supplement with grain in order to meet their nutritional needs until you get the proper pasture in place. Good luck with your pigs, you have come to the right place to learn more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
If they were mine at that age and that size I would be very disappointed. The bloated bellies can be from worms. I agree with the others that I would worm them and start them on some grain. Please understand at their age they are not just a little underweight, but way behind what they should be. I would recommend a commercial hog grower, as it will be mixed properly for their nutritional needs. There are non-gmo and organic feeds available if that is what is really important to you.

I do understand your concerns about raising FAT hogs. I also understand your desire to raise your hogs on a pasture based diet in order to get a healthier meat product. I think what you need to understand at this point is you need a better pasture, more suited to pigs, as far as the proper forages. This takes time, as in several years. You simply can not grow pigs while developing your pasture without some grain supplement.

In a perfect world we would all take time to build all of our facilities and buildings. We would fully develop all of our pastures, with the proper forage mixes. We would insure we had all of our fences at 100%. Then we would start off by buying a few feeders if we had never handled pigs or livestock. The fact is we do not live in a perfect world and most of us do not have everything in place as it should be when we start. This is not a major issue, if we recognize where we are lacking and supplement those areas until they are fully developed. This would mean not overwintering pigs if we do not have proper shelters. Not letting them roam over our entire property if we do not have the proper fencing. Or in your case providing supplemental feed until we get the proper pasture in place.

None of us here have the PERFECT setup. I am sure everyone here could come up with a list of things we need to improve. However, we all try to recognize where we fall short and do things a little different (maybe not ideal) until we can make it better. I myself am feeding a lot more grain than I would like to. My pigs do not have access to all the pasture I would like them to. But right now it is the best I can do, until I get everything fully developed and all of the infrastructure and pasture in place. My program will change with time. My pigs will have access to more and more pasture and woods as the fencing is put into place. I am planting pastures, and hopefully in the coming years they will provide more and more of the pigs diet, up to a reasonable amount. However, I know right now what grasses I have is simply not the right kind or the right amount, so I am providing supplemental feed to meet their nutritional needs. In my mind, this in no way takes away from the idea of pasturing pigs or raising healthier pigs, it is a step in that direction and we will eventually get to the point we want to be at. However, I would caution, do not put an agenda to raise pasture pigs before the health and welfare of the pigs. What I mean is, if you know your pasture is not providing what they need, and providing proper growth, supplement with grain in order to meet their nutritional needs until you get the proper pasture in place. Good luck with your pigs, you have come to the right place to learn more.
Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful response!

Can I use Ivermectin pour on (I have it now for the goats)?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,201 Posts
Can you recommend a mix?

Thank you!
Lots of comm. grain feed for swine on the market. Check your local feed outlet for what is avail in your area.

http://archive.org/stream/pigfeeding00bell/pigfeeding00bell_djvu.txt

Link above is old but is a good read for what is important for swine feed.
I have read dozens of research papers on swine feed. Most are about the same from 1950-2014.

If anyone has an update(2014) on swine feed please post it. Feed for everyday feeders on pasture and some grain etc. (not show pigs or factory hogs.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Lots of comm. grain feed for swine on the market. Check your local feed outlet for what is avail in your area.

http://archive.org/stream/pigfeeding00bell/pigfeeding00bell_djvu.txt

Link above is old but is a good read for what is important for swine feed.
I have read dozens of research papers on swine feed. Most are about the same from 1950-2014.

If anyone has an update(2014) on swine feed please post it. Feed for everyday feeders on pasture and some grain etc. (not show pigs or factory hogs.)
Thank you Gerold, that was very interesting. Going to save that as a PDF locally!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
952 Posts
Pigs are genetically inclined to grow quick. Simply slowing their growth to almost nhil does not increase "nutritional density" or their health. If a pig isn't growing its lacking nutrients, something that doesn't have the nurtrients to grow is not going to be a nutritional source of food.

Feed has alot to do with growth. I was using commercial feed to supplement their pasture for a while because it was easy to get ahold of. Very slow growth. Switched to a local mill and their growth rate tripled. Their coats became shiny again and they've been able to resist worms better. I limit feed mine to encourage foraging. 6 lbs a day for everyone right now: nobody is fat! The only fat pigs I had were fed the same but kept off pasture to get them ready for 4h. Kids didn't exercise them like they should and the two boys just lazed around and got real fat. Moved one out to pasture and he lost that weight in a matter of days. Given pasture they shouldn't get fat even if you feed them extra grain based feed.

I've got pigs that were born march and customers are sending off to the butcher already at 250 some lbs. Late Janurary born fatty was 299. I've got a couple runts born in March I've kept rather than selling and they look to be bigger than what you have. Runts had worms, bad. grew much better after a few rounds of worming.

As to the apples: a whole bucket sounds like alot but apples are mostly water, then fiber, then sugar.. But mostly water. if you dried that whole bucket you might get 3 or 4 cups of fiber. Thats not enough feed for 3 growing pigs. Its a nice treat, but they all need a bucket plus a protein source and ideally some calories.

good luck.

Take care of your poor pigs. They don't look well at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
gave the pigs their first dose of Safe-Guard (fenbendazole) yesterday.
As much as I didnt want to do it, went with the commercial hog feed. Could not find any organic around me readily available.
We will see where we are in a week or so!
Thank you all for your input, advice and suggestions!
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top