Starting in the winter?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Siryet, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

    Messages:
    847
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    River Valley, Arkansas
    I would raise them in the winter but the wife says no! I have heard they will eat more but since I raise mine for fun also a little more feed wouldn't bother me.
    Go for it and let us know.
     
  2. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    542
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2004
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I just bought 3 piglets today. I raised 2 last winter.

    I keep them in a "pig tractor" over winter. I move the pig tractor through our garden (I do the wide row gardening, and the tractor is 4 by 16). I used to not want babies in the winter, but last years really worked out. By "tilling" the garden I was able to reduce the feed by about 1/3rd. I'm planning on finishing them in a 16 by 16 pen in our new pond (it's not holding water so I'll run them on the bottom and up a little on the sides). They seem to really enjoy rooting through the garden (they were almost like dogs wagging their tails when they knew I was going to move them).

    Again, this is the 2nd year I've done it, and told the guy I bought these from I'll be looking to buy piglets again next fall. It really worked out well for us.

    Pat
     

  3. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,852
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
    We raise grower pigs through the winter in addition to keeping our sows and boar. They do excellently in our very cold northern Vermont winters here on the mountain. It gets down to -45°F and we get a lot of snow. We have minimal shelter, dens dug into the hill plus a three sided shed open to the south. We provide plenty of hay for a deep pack bedding. They snuggle down into the hay for warmth at night but during the day our out in the garden corrals playing in the snow.

    Pigs, like anyone else, do eat about 10% more in the winter to keep their heat up. They need more calories, not protien for this. We feed mostly hay plus some excess milk and cheese trim as well as garden gleanings, pumpkins, etc when we have them.

    The one trick is make sure they have plenty of fresh drinking water. They may well eat snow as well but they should have fluids available. In extreme freezing weather this can become a chore if you don't set it up right. We have inground plastic water barrels that are continuously running from the overflow of our spring. That works great. The warmth of the ground keeps the barrels warm - our frost only goes down a few inches due to our early and deep snows.

    One big advantage of winter pigs is you can put them in your garden. In the spring they can till it up and weed it. Then after they are out, put in chickens. They'll smooth and weed again. In a couple of weeks remove the chickens and plant immediately. Presto, fertilized weed free, tiller free gardens.

    If you are feeding commercial feed then keeping pigs in the winter makes little difference vs the summer.

    Cheers,

    -Walter
    in Vermont