The sows over-winter in the shed, while the piglets spend the rest of their lives there. The result is gradual improvement in our soils and our pigs get the vast majority of their feed from pasture – we buy no commercial hog feed or grains but are able to raise about 400 pigs this way, breeding through farrowing to finish delivering weekly … ‘There is much variation between individual producers’ costs within a given system,’ Honeyman said. How to Raise Pigs on Pasture. An easy middle ground here is on pasture for the summer only. You’ll spend more on feed per pig than you did to buy the pig in the first place! During this last year and a half, we have learned a lot about how raising pigs works on our farm. If you are just keeping a few pigs, plan on 450 to 875 square feet per feeder or 8,500 to 17,000 square feet for sows on pasture. Fencing options vary, although some veterans recommend steel wire or electric fences that use rolls of netting on fiberglass posts for greater visibility. Pasture or woodlot pigs will cost more to feed. The prototype, larger than the indoor-based models, operates within a paddock system that requires about 100 acres for every 300 sows – or three sows per acre. Dec 10, 2016 - Learn how to raise pigs on pasture for a healthier litter and more nutritious meat. We've been putting pigs on pasture for 15 years here on New Terra Farm. No doubt about that. The buildings were already in place as the area had previously been used as horse paddocks. Like I said in the beginning of the post I have never raised pigson my farm before. When raising pasture pigs, it is best to focus on the quality of the meat rather faster growth rates. This post should come with a mild warning. That is my idea of a life well lived. Telling you how good the momma sows are and how Charlie hates to be alone, might lead you to think we treat the pigs as pets. ‘We allow that to get destroyed if we need to,’ a better option, she says, than damaging prime pasture acreage through overgrazing. Pig Courses. Finisher Pig on Pasture Occasionally someone tells me that one can not raise pigs on pasture without feeding them a balanced commercial hog ration, that pigs can’t eat grass, that they won’t grow. When raising pigs on pasture, you may also need to supplement with grain or other foodstuffs, as grass isn’t necessarily a complete food source for pigs. More woodland will be fenced in eventually, and we will see how they do with a more wooded environment, too. I'm wanting to raise 2 pigs in the spring and I am very green. Lowered production costs lead to higher profitability. Instead, producers are raising sows outdoors to allow them more space and access to fresh air and sunshine. I love having pigs on pasture, but hate the muddy mess and huge ruts we have to make to get feed out to them. Charlie is missing his sows and they start to miss him too. Not too far back in agrarian history, pasture pig breeds were more common. Farrowing on pasture. Chester White. Pasture-raised pigs get a diversity in diet than factory-farmed pigs often don’t. Everyone seems so calm this time, with the situation. Outdoor pig production on a large scale is gaining a hoof-hold in the southern High Plains because of the moderate climate, relatively flat land and sparse population. Researchers and farmers […] Instead, producers are raising sows outdoors to allow them more space and access to fresh air and sunshine. Large pasture farrowers have developed time-saving systems, such as arranging huts in set patterns or creating same-size paddocks so fencing and water lines can be pre-measured. Before the 1950's and the start of confinement type farms, the majority of pigs raised were raised on pastures and allowed to forage for feed. The separate paddocks isolate breeding, gestation, farrowing and pasture growth. Print; Email Print Email. This is far from the truth. Your email address will not be published. The grazing animals were supplemented with 1.5 to 2 pounds of corn per day. 2019-38640-29881. We agreed from the start that a certain level of cleanliness would be necessary. White pigs sunburn and require additional shade in sunny, sizzling climates. Raising pigs on pasture for meat and money. Pigs on pasture. Results reveal outdoor herds save $3 less per pig in fixed costs than indoor herds. Hog producers use a variety of wood, metal, or plastic huts to house their farrowing sows. Beyond a marketing tactic, these farmers have embraced the work it requires to pasture pigs because it results in a better tasting product. And, while raising pigs on pasture reduces the grain use (for Joel it's by 30%) you have no way of knowing when a pig has eaten enough grain. Soon after another sow was added. Stocking rate is the total number of pigs per acre over time. Texas Tech researchers are evaluating production costs, behavior and environmental impacts, dust and microbe levels, and pork quality. The institute’s director, John McGlone, is sure sustainable pastured pork systems will take off once more producers learn of their environmental benefits, lower start-up costs and marketing opportunities. Photo by Janet Horton Raising piglets on pasture allows access to nutrients you would otherwise need to provide via supplements. How to make money farming pigs . Do not use floors in farrowing huts and move huts to fresh ground for each new litter. Pasture Rotation is Key When Raising Pigs Farrowing on pasture. FULL TEXT The full text of this article is available. For thousands of years, pigs have been the quintessential biological recyclers, foragers, and grazers. Ok back to the story. While Charlie may not take an active role in raising the piglets, he isn’t bothering them either. My field has mostly field fence but 5 strand barb-wire in the front. Even chickens can be raised on pasture! Shelter for Pasture Pig Breeds. When my husband and I first decided to take the feeder pig route, we … Production costs for a 250-pound outdoor market hog were $4.88 less per pig, reflecting feed, labor, repairs, utilities, health and fixed costs. Where do I Find Feeder Pigs? If you are new to raising pigs for meat, I recommend reading this pig farming for beginners guide. When farrowing on pasture, there are a few important things to remember, starting with sows like to be alone to farrow. She would be pampered with lots of table scraps, fresh composting veggies and extra hay and feed. This means that the longer you keep the pig, the more time you spend paying for maintenance, not growth. If not, the pigs may stall out and not grow. The main cost in a pasture hog system is supplemental feed, with grain accounting for 60 to 70 percent of the cost from farrow to finish. Thanks to the low start-up costs, pasture systems create an ideal way for new hog producers to get started in the industry. Are you looking just to fill your freezer? The other thing we agreed on was that we absolutely did not want pigs living in close, crowded conditions of filth and manure. Labor is more seasonal than in confinement systems, so evaluate whether to raise one or two litters per sow each year and time group farrowing around crop chores. Although I am about to get on my soap box and spew 10 reasons why pigs should be raised on pasture; I’m going to give the concrete method full consideration. Each block counts as a unit in our rotation and goes into a year of cover crops once every three years. The piglets don’t stay long on our farm before moving on to whoever buys them. Let’s start with the concrete mode. We believe there’s a healthy and humane way to raise pork. When I went out and explained this to this pig he: A) Laughed so hard that he rolled down the mountain; B) Rolled his eyes at such foolishness; or. We respect that and take precautions. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. However, some criticize the system as promoting ulcers, sores and behaviors such as bar biting. The latest project here on our farm is raising pigs on pasture. Chickens . Joel Salatin’s 10 Paddock Pastured Pig system is absolutely brilliant. Certain breeds seem to handle this better than others. This allows the vegetation to regrow and the fields from being overfilled with pig manure and mud. SARE Outreach operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Maryland to develop and disseminate information about sustainable agriculture. Our pastured raised pigs are born on pasture and are fenced lined weaned, which allows the piglets to still be able to see and touch their mom, but not suckle. In recent years, hog farmers thought sows needed to farrow in confinement to ensure piglet survival. Environmental Management Plans. For starters, raising pigs on pasture (ideally, within multiple paddocks), will help spread manure around. For the price paid, this book has little in the way of meaningful details to help the beginner. It has a white face, white ears, red body, and then it has a white underbelly and four white socks." The reason you need to keep pigs growing quickly is that younger pigs are more efficient than older/bigger pigs at gaining weight from the food they eat. Honeyman said that fixed costs were $3.33 less per pig weaned outdoors, 30 to 40 percent lower overall than confinement systems. Many farms that sell pastured meat are often proud of how they care for their animals and will happily share the details with potential customers. Or for some extra income as well? In the last year and a half, seven litters of piglets have arrived, showed off how cute they can be, were weaned, and fed for a few weeks (and even months in some cases). This is one of the most challenging aspect of pastured pigs, should you decide to raise you pigs on grass, or even for woodland raised pigs. Whether they are in a barn or on pasture, you decide. Some people seem to think the proper way to carry a piglet is by it’s back legs or leg. Messages: 55. Whether you are planning on raising pigs to be sold for their meat, or to be kept as pets, you will need to know how to house them and care for them. Inspired by books on pasture rotation, and sustainable agriculture by Joel Salatin and Gaining Ground by Forest Pritchard, we learned about how to raise pigs naturally in a pasture setting. Jan 31, 2016 #1 . I’ll be the first to admit that pigs are not cows. Careful attention to pasture conditions makes the system work. Shelter is key. The question is, for those of us on small acreage, is raising pigs on pasture part of a sustainable, homestead system? Last Updated on November 13, 2020. 3.0 out of 5 stars Very Basic - not much detail to help someone wanting to raise pigs on pasture. Pigs are a great help in clearing land of roots and vegetation! Where to buy Pastured Pork. He is behaving the same as he always does toward Mariah and is tolerant of the babies, three weeks later. Raising pasture pig breeds is talked about frequently in farming discussions. Some farms raising pigs this way will even offer farm visits. Some states consider breeds like the critically endangered Ossabaw Island Hogs and Choctaw pigs feral swine and do not permit breeding and raising them in those states. Pigs, Pasture & Profit. A review of over 200 scientific articles finds flaws and suggests improvements. Raising pigs on pasture: A slightly younger, much less stressed version of me gives a pig a belly-rub out on Tara Firma Farm in California. He plants corn alongside strips of pasture, partly to provide shade or act as a windbreak. In fact, the traditional cattle country of the Texas panhandle is beginning to diversify into hogs. Our third sow, Squishy, stayed with us an extra year and gave us one litter. Learn how to improve your pasture for free. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. No matter how long you live on your farm or homestead, there is always something new to learn. This site is maintained by SARE Outreach for the SARE program and is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award No. Texas Tech University’s Sustainable Pork Program began studying intensive outdoor pig production in 1993 and, in 1998, built a research farm dedicated to exploring profitable, environmentally sound systems they call ‘animal-, environment-, worker-, and community-friendly.’. Here he shares versions 1.0 – 3.0 with the benefits and drawbacks he found along the way. We raise all of our pigs on pasture, with their litter mates and in a rotational paddock system. Pigs are a great help in clearing land of roots and vegetation! And we have neighborhoods and a road near the farm, so security and safety were of high importance. When we built our state-of-the-art pastured hog facility in 2015, we wanted to create a scalable model for other farmers looking to raise hogs the right way. How you decide to raise your pigs depends upon what you have to work with, land and facilities wise, and what you are hoping to do with the pigs. Cheap, no. Of all the animals we have raised (cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, dogs and cats), we like the swine the best. Raising pigs on pasture Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Dad2ms, Jan 31, 2016. Make no mistake, it was a lot of work to get this set up for raising pigs on pasture. Like and Subscribe to be notified when we release our next video! In the last year and a half, seven litters of piglets have arrived, showed off how cute they can be, were weaned, and fed for a few weeks (and even months in some cases). Good luck with raising pigs! Pigs need 80 square feet (8 feet x 10 feet) each in a deep bedding style pen or 1/4 acre (10,890 square feet) for 2-3 pasture raised pigs, which is 5,445-3,630 square feet per pig. Most swine herds suffer from internal parasites that may persist in soil. A study conducted in Iowa by Mark Honeyman and Arlie Penner of Iowa State University compared economic and production data of indoor and outdoor herds. Pasture Rotation is Key When Raising Pigs Rotation is the key to raising pigs on pasture. Pigs are very intelligent and are social animals. Plus, the meat tastes better than what you’ll ever get at the grocery store. Keeping sows and raising piglets is generally left to professional breeders. Raising Feeder Pigs – You have to decide: Concrete or Pasture? Check the end of the article for opportunities to learn more about raising livestock and marketing and selling meat. If you’d like to raise pigs, this piece from the On Pasture archives is a great way to start. But even better than that, YOU get decide how your pigs are raised. When choosing a farrowing hut, seek portability and an easy entrance and exit for the sow and litter. I enjoy having the pigs on the farm. Raising livestock on pasture isn’t new, but with the advent of confine­ment livestock operations and the industrialization of meat production, chickens, cows and pigs were moved inside and shut off from the natural world. Raise you pigs on pasture (or concrete) if that’s what you want to do. This only works when the pigs have ample room. Today I want to show you the best pasture pigs rotational grazing paddock design and how you can raise pigs on pasture in a way that stewards the land well and makes your life much easier. With the right system, there is minimum overhead, low labor requirements, and no long-term commitment. The pigs tend to raise eyebrows when they walk into a show ring because of their unusual coloring. Don’t like GMO? The facility and its eight acres of surrounding pasture serve as our laboratory. Appropriate shelter and access to clean water are critical aspects of survival for humans and animals alike. Guide and Tips on Raising Pigs on Pasture. You can use a movable coop or chicken tractors to accomplish this goal. At Texas Tech, researchers use English arc-style huts to decrease the likelihood of piglet crushing. To determine how much meat you need, Even worse, they may become sick from a nutrition deficiency. And, while raising pigs on pasture reduces the grain use (for Joel it's by 30%) you have no way of knowing when a pig has eaten enough grain. Sows about to farrow graze on corn, oats and clover strips. The environmental considerations, too, make this an attractive system for hog producers. If you are just keeping a few pigs, plan on 450 to 875 square feet per feeder or 8,500 to 17,000 square feet for sows on pasture. 0. Iowa State University (ISU) compared economic and production data of indoor and outdoor herds. You must commit to rotating the hogs to fresh pasture regularly, a task that takes effort and time. I am not sure how many people are raising pigs on pasture, but for this small and growing group, this article is for you. Thus far, they have found improved pig health, a better work environment, less odor, less microbial activity, fewer regulatory problems and lower start-up and operating costs. © 2021, Countryside - All Rights Reserved, Raising Piglets: Ensuring Your Little Ones Are Born Safely, Belfair Miniature Cattle: A Small, All-Around Breed, The Jersey Cow: Milk Production for the Small Homestead. Another important concept in raising pastured pigs is stock density. W hile raising pigs isn’t for everyone, they can be an enjoyable addition to your small farming operation. "It looks like a Hereford beef cow. Raising pigs on pasture is an interesting trade-off. Getting Started. In the meantime, the alfalfa stand improved the soil. A pig board is a must to have between you and the pig at all times. Another important concept in raising pastured pigs is stock density. Pigs born and raised in a pasture-based system are healthier and require less maintenance than their factory-raised counterparts. By Forrest Pritchard / April 21, 2014 / 10 Comments. Doable, yes. The babies would thrive and follow Momma around. Everyone has to start somewhere, and our farm is no different. The project was started by one of our adult children and he has been successful with the whole thing. The facility and its eight acres of surrounding pasture serve as our laboratory. Breeders in Chester County, Pa., developed Chester Whites in the early 1800s and … Beware, pigs are smart, social animals. Food, Shelter, & Water 3. ‘Pigs are going to be bigger than cattle on the southern Plains, and it could happen within the next 10 to 20 years,’ said McGlone, who has received lots of ink in newspapers and magazines in Texas and beyond for his new production model. You’ll soon be able to tell your pigs apart just by their habits and sounds. 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