[Note: I no longer feed organic grain.]

To date, I have been raising heritage breed feeder pigs. A feeder pig is a young pig (usually 6-12 weeks old) that is purchased to raise (feed) to slaughter weight. Heritage breed pigs are older breeds that were abandoned by commercial farmers as more modern breeds were developed. There are two reasons that I prefer heritage breeds. First, the meat tastes better because it has not had the fatty marbling bred out of it. Second, I think it is important to preserve genetic diversity. The commodity pig market is based on the genetics from just a couple of breeds, and I think so drastically reducing genetic diversity is a recipe for disaster.

After arriving at the farm, I immediately place the feeder pigs on pasture, season permitting. To me, pasture is a good stand of actively growing (or stockpiled for grazing after the growing season ends) green grass, legumes, and/or weeds. I rotate the pigs off of one section of pasture to another section of pasture when they have grazed down most of the green stuff, or if they have started rooting up the pasture too badly. The purpose of pasture is three-fold, it permits the expression of the pigs’ instinct to root and forage, it provides essential nutrition, and wandering around it gives the pigs exercise.

The material essentials for pigs on pasture are food, water, shelter, and a wallow to cool off in, all of which I provide. The non-material essentials are a low-stress environment and calm conscientious handling and/or herding, both on the farm and at the slaughterhouse.

I feed the pigs a commercial grain mash produced at a local mill (with mostly imported grains), cull vegetables from a local vegetable farm (when available), and farm-grown forage, which is grown with no synthetic chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. I do not use hormones (saying this is superfluous as hormones are not allowed for use in pigs or poultry). I do not use antibiotics unless required by the presence of an infection that cannot be resolved by non-synthetic chemical means.

Currently, I either hand feed the pigs three times a day, using pig feed troughs, or the pigs are self-fed from a range feeder. According to Morrison in Feeds and Feeding, self-fed pigs consume slightly fewer pounds of grain per hundred pounds of gain, so the self-feeders pay for themselves over time, even not taking into consideration any labor savings.

I haul water to the pig pastures in 275-gallon totes, and they are watered out of the totes via pig nipples piped into the totes. The system is gravity fed.

For shelter I either use Port-a-Huts, which is an all-steel hoop-style shelter with an open front and a hinged window in the back for ventilation, or homemade wooden shelters. The shelters provide shade and protection from the rain, wind, cold, etc. The shelters are built on skids, so as I rotate the pigs from pasture section to pasture section, I use the tractor to drag the shelters along.

Pigs do not sweat and they cannot shed heat adequately by panting like dogs do, so they need to have a way to cool off when it is above seventy degrees. In nature, they use wallows, either streams, naturally occurring pools of water, or they dig deep holes until they hit the water table. If no water is available, they spend the hot hours of the day lounging in the shade of woods/forest. On a farm, wallows and/or woods must be provided. I dig a wallow for the pigs with the bucket on the tractor and then fill it and keep it filled with water. For a wallow to do its job, there must be liquid water in it, not just mud.

Environment and Handling
The pigs have plenty of space and everything they need or want right in front of them, so their environment is low-stress. To make handling easier, I spend time walking amongst the pigs, petting and talking to them. When I need to move the pigs, I do my best to set it up so they will want to go where I want them to go, or if I need to drive them, I try to do so without making them too anxious. I work them slowly and deliberately. For the most part, pigs (like other animals) happily move to where the best grass or food is, so I just take advantage of this natural tendency.

My preferred method for loading pigs on a trailer is to entice them with grain. However, if there is a loading chute set up, I do not mind driving them through it and onto the trailer as long as the driving is done slowly and the pigs are given a chance to get over whatever has them frightened when they balk. Given that chance, a gentle nudge with a knee is usually enough to get them moving again. If all hell breaks loose, I try to get things squared away as quickly as possible. If things completely break down, I walk away and to calm down and catch my breath, and then try again in a few minutes.

If the pigs I raise are treated poorly at the slaughterhouse, then I have failed in my effort to raise pigs according to the highest welfare standards. The people at the slaughterhouse need to handle the pigs in a low-stress manner, both from the trailer to the holding pen and from the trailer to the kill floor. This year I am working with a new slaughterhouse and I am hopeful that their handling will meet my standards.

102 Responses to “Farming Practices: Pigs”

  1. Bob,

    We feed pasture and hay as the primary feed for our pigs supplemented with dairy. They grow very well on it producing an excellent flavor, color and texture of pork that gets rave reviews from customers. This is far less expensive than grain. We ended up doing this because of two things: 1) our pigs were eating our sheep hay; 2) the cost of grain (and this was 5 years ago). After observing the pigs chowing down on the pasture all summer and the hay in the winter I started researching what a complete diet would be based on forage. A dairy supplement was the answer. I have done years of experiments with different groups of pigs using different variations. It works, delightfully so.


    in Vermont

    1. Rani Douglas Says:

      Hi Walter,
      Could you explain what the dairy supplement is? I have a small herd of pastured pigs and the supplemental feed is way too expensive.
      Thank you.

    2. Arthur Perrea Says:

      Hello Walter Jeffries, in Vermont,
      could you please tell me how you supplemented with dairy ? do you extra milk from milking or a power form , Regard,s Arthur , In Burke Ny

  2. Carl blake Says:


    Hey, I learned early on that weaning them further out produced a much better piglet. While conventional confinement wisdom says four weeks…6 weeks is wayyyy better. But also, watching the sow in the event she cannot go that long. But I discovered it works very well. I have not lost ONE piglet and I want to say this helps. I always put a little grain in with the little boogers and some even start to eat it after a couple days from birth. Course…mine have some wild in them.

  3. Carl blake Says:

    Oh, I REALLY want to say it. Confinement wisdom really sucks. Nothing they do with confinement produces a good pig to eat. Nearly every practice harms human consumption in one form or another. And I am not one of those hard core hippy folks with PETA. Just plain common sense. You have success with your pigs because you work at it and provide them with what they need. You are absolutely correct that all the work you have done with the pig is ruined if that last few minutes are so stressful the animal will now taste poorly.

  4. Mary Byron Says:

    I am so grateful for your farming practices. I just saw the documentary Food INC and I cannot believe how stupid we are and just blindly go into a supermarket and eat whatever they tell us to eat. Don’t we care where our food comes from? I am ashamed of myself and have told all of my friends and family how stupid we are. Everyone in my circle knows that I am an animal lover(even though I was eating factory farm products and I feel so uneducated for doing that) but I believe that if animals are given a satisfying oportunity to live in thier natural enviorment then it is, in fact the earths food chain.I put it to the people I know that if your not an animal lover how about the poison your unknowingly eating every day.
    I swear that they were all shocked to hear what I had to tell them. I have always believed that “word of mouth” is what people listen to. I so wish that the farmers could make a prime time documentary for people to see.
    I think education is the key. We have all been so brain washed. I was born in 1955 and still remember a real farm. How did we get so far removed from that?
    Sorry to go on and on about it but it is such a relevation to me, my family, and everyone else I mention it to.
    Thank you for working your farm in spite of our ignorance.
    Mary Byron
    Chicago, IL

    1. Nora Henry Says:

      “King Corn” is a documentary about corn fed cattle. Its a very interesting video. I have just purchased 15 acres and intend to pursue my lifetime dream of organic farming. I have been consuming whatever chemicals the grocer had to offer,even corn syrup is made with a complicated chemical process..That documentary made me really aware of it.

    2. Anonymous Says:

      I haven’t purchased store bought meat in months after seeing Food Inc. I never will again. I am now looking in to raising my own.

    3. Jenna Says:

      Food Inc. is a very biased documentary. A lot of the situations are skewed to imply negative feelings on our food producers. Doing more research before saying that large production agriculture is wrong, is something that everyone needs to do. I think it is truly important for people to become more educated before trusting one source of information.

    4. @ Jenna You are correct that we should not believe only one source of info. However I worked in agriculture and I have to say that the bottom line is the bottom line…. sorry for the play on words but it is the truth. The farmers are usually detached from their ani,als because all they see is the bottom line $$ and cents not sense. I worked loading commercial chickens their barns are 2 stories and each story will yield roughly 15000-20000 (which we loaded every night) and each bird had a space of one square foot a piece yes they were free to roam in the barn but when the bird takes up almost a square foot in body size can you even imagine the crowded barn no im sure you cannot also these birds are fully mature and ready for you to eat at 8 weeks old these are the 1kg birds you buy in grocery stores they typically weigh 2-3kg when loaded and due to the heavy feeding of god only knows what they can loose one pound for every two hours they are on the road they are fed multiple times a day to retain their weight so the farmer gets as much mulah as possible these birds typically far too heavy to hold their own weight anything past 8 weeks as their bones are not caught up too their bodies at 8 weeks old it is deplorable and the methane gasses produced in these buildings are so strong that a simple flick of a lighter could blow the whole place to smithereens so no do not believe one source how about you go look for your self and see what you believe then … their living conditions are simply disgusting and honestly i cannot believe humans consume that much ….

  5. Miles Johnson Says:

    I’m in the process of purchasing 2.5 acres where I’m going to pasture some animals for our family’s use. My intention is to raise pigs without utilizing chemicals/medicine while also producing meat that doesn’t have parasites. How do I do this?

  6. ml. nolan Says:

    ml. nolan irl says.
    if taking your pigs to the slaughter house give them a few pints of guinness they will die with a smile on their face and the flavour you have worked so hard to keep will be their when you put it on the frying pan

  7. Tony Says:

    Hi , I work with pigs everyday and I always have a hard time loading them on to my trailer. What do you recommend I do?

    1. BlueJae Says:

      I have a butcher come to my farm and kill the pigs (and whatever other livestock I have ready) skin, gut, and hang them in a refriderated truck then take them to the shop for processing. Works great, no stress, and no trailering.

    2. David West Says:

      We usually hold back our pastured pigs supplemental feed(whey, natural grain, or alfalfa) that day until we want to trailer them. This allows us to use one of said means to entice their cooperation. Works wonderfully. We have a ramp door that the pigs are more comforable with then having to hop up into the trailer.
      Good Luck,

      in Utah

    3. thoughtbugs Says:

      I’ve worked with pigs in the past and made it a habit to talk to them the same way every day when I fed. “Here piggy, piggy” was what I used. When it came time to load them I just took a feed pan with a small amount of grain and walked in front of them saying “Here piggy, piggy” and they followed me right up in the trailer with no fuss.

  8. rachalmers Says:

    I have been raising our 4 pigs (Large Black) on pasture and Pig-Grower so far. I see lots of people say they supplement feed for their pigs, but how much?
    Feed is getting more expensive each day – so if I could almost purely pasture feed them, that would be brilliant.
    Is there something like a ‘scale’ that would suit them?

  9. peter myers Says:

    I have raised pigs for personal consumption for three years, and am finding the cost for feed to be to high. I am trying to raise them in a 20 acre pasture set up for rotational grazing. I would like to feed them vegetables grown in another large field that i will plant this spring. I would like to get ideas for what kinds of vegies to use. I’m thinking peas, spinach, corn, carrotts, beats, cucumbers, green beans, and squash.
    One: do u think it would work to replace pig feed. Two : if it wont completely substitute commercial feed. How do i know how much commercial feed to give them to make the most out of the pasture, and home grown veggies. I really appreciate your impute, and look forward to hearing from you

    1. Anonymous Says:

      Pigs love sweet potatos and greens.

    2. thoughtbugs Says:

      And try pumpkins. A side benefit is the seeds are a natural wormer.

  10. hannahbeet Says:

    Hi, I haver a similar question to the above readers: I have a 40lb York/Hamp cross feeder (our first pig) and it has access to lush pasture. I want to avoid commercial feeder pellets as supplement, and prefer COB rolled grain in small quantities, with alfalfa cubes as well, but how much? Also I can’t figure out how to keep the goats out of the pig feed!

  11. ian Says:

    hi folks, i love what i hear, for us at our organic hog farm we “suppliment” our hogs with pure alfalfa hay, we are breeding up to a pure grass hog, but it will take some generations to get back to the way it used to be. for us alfalfa is king, 16% protien, lots of fibre, and essential minerals and vitamins. another awesome feed stuff is the nettle, harvest young shoots before they have a sting, dry in thesun and feed crushed up over their other veggies or dairy or grains. very high in protiens and amino acids and vitamins. this also increases egg production and milk production in the other farm critters. If the nettle is larger and has a sting just soak over night or dry it out and the sting is gone! have fun and keep striving for a simpler cleaner food!

  12. simone Says:

    I’m interested in supplementing my pigs with milk products from my cows and boiled eggs from my ducks and chickens…I heard pasturing them with poultry cuts down on parasites since the birds are eating a lot of the pest carrying bugs and feeding herbs and pumpkin eliminates intestinal worms for the hogs and the poultry…also I read for a balanced diet it’s wise to grow nut/fruit bearing trees in pasture for the hogs, to spread spores for edible mushrooms, and to grow berry vines over fencing…sounds like a balanced omnivour diet to me :-)

  13. Andre Jones Says:

    Bob, I’ve been raising pigs organically in a wooded area with some access to grass and garden weeds. Most of their feed is an organic whole grain mix with alfalfa pellets and fields peas which consists of 18% barley, 35% alfalfa, 12% oats, 35% fields peas and some raw milk or keifer. Is feeding pigs that much grain making the meat to much omega 6 fat. I know pigs aren’t ruminants but this has always bothered me and I can’t ever find a definitive answer. What would be your comment on this.
    Andre Jones
    Grafton NY

    1. stonybrookfarm Says:

      Sorry, Andre, but I don’t have a definitive answer for you either. My comment on it, however, would be that worrying about nutritionist minutiae is less important than making sure that one eats a diet as heavy in whole, unprocessed foods as possible, and that one gets a lot of exercise.

  14. Naz Michaeiides Says:

    Very interesting

  15. Anonymous Says:


    1. Allen Says:

      Yes, pig artificial insemination is available frozen from a few suppliers I have found on a web-search. I was weighing the cost of raising a boar over the cost and labor of AI on sows. It is quite labor intensive, but available. I will probably just buy a boar and let him do all the work for me.

  16. Bakulumpagi Kabazzi Says:

    I live in Uganda,Africa. I was born in 1944 and I believe in devine natural food. We have many wild pigs and waterhoogs which happy lives on the natural grass, forage and fruits. They produce excellent meat. I also have a ranch of four sequare miles with cows and sheep and they all survive on the pasture all year round. The meat is very tasty and tender depending on the age of the animal. Free range feeding is the way to go.Anybody interested in big land for commercial free range farming can contact me

    1. sohail zandi Says:

      Hello, I am interested in knowing more about your ranch and how you operate in Uganda. Could you please email me and give me any information if possible. thanks! szandi35@gmail.com

  17. Glenn Says:

    Is corn on the cobb good to feed pigs to add weight to before slaughter?

    1. stonybrookfarm Says:

      Yes, definitely. Note, however, that unless they are only a week or so away from slaughter, it should not be their sole feed as they still need a bit more protein and vitamins and minerals.

  18. Andre Jones Says:

    I avoid all soy and corn when feeding my pigs and chickens. It makes their fat content chemically the same as vegetable oil. Polyunsaturated oils are high in omega 6 and that’s what clogs are arteries. I get enough protein with field peas,oats, and barley. I do feed raw milk and kefir as well. Along with natural grazing you can get a better meat with a well balanced omega 6 to omega 3 ratio.


    1. Andre, where did you get this info. It makes sense. Do you have a website about your animals? I would love to know. We are raising heritage breeds and want the best meat possible. So far we have not fed any corn or soy. Our pigs are a little on the skinny side. Currently we are feeding wheat, barley and oats. 2 parts wheat to one part oats, and one part barley. They are on pasture. We currently do not have a source for milk products but would love to have that incorporated as well.

  19. Becky Says:

    I have a small breeding herd of hogs on drylot, pasture and barn access for specialized care. I had a sow farrow this past December, in minus 40C she had to be in a large stall with 500watts of heat lamps to keep everyone alive. I love having the hogs out on pasture. I am a full ration grain feeder as well. With feed concerns however people tend to get caught up on protien levels. Lysine levels are far more essential. I’ve played around with my feeds a fair bit. With high lysine levels and a good quality 14 – 15 percent the density of my feeders was amazing. The siblings that were not giving as high a lysine feed grew, but were “rounder” more uniform in shape without the muscle definition. The best way to balance lysine is to use soyabean meal. A small amount mixed with the feed goes along way. Where I live the most reasonable grain is wheat or a wheat barely oat mix. Corn is unreasonably priced. Depending on the type of wheat, it can be fed with the same value as corn, but contains even higher protien levels. Very interesting to read everyones take on things. Either way we small producers grow it, it is far better than anything we can buy.

  20. Bakulumpagi Says:

    Thank you very much for the information. I think here in Uganda we do the extreme. We feed our hogs a food mixture of corn bran, crashed snail shell, fish, cotton seed cakes, soyar flour etc. To me this has never made any sense to me. Hogs in the willd grow very well without any of than modern fancy staff. We hunt those hogs on my ranch and theygorw well and produce excellent lean meat. I have tried to raise hogs on free range and they have given me the same results. Theye do not grow as fast as the ones fead on feed but their excellent makes a big difference in prices. I think mother nature has lots of lessons for us to learn from

  21. Owen victory Says:

    I am getting different contributions and materials concerning piggrey farming..all the contributions i got have been impresive. I am a nigerian and i am working towards owning a large scale pig farm. I’ ve been thinking which trade to invest in and i decided to try out piggrey… Because it is not expensive to carry out… I plan to fully startup befor this year runs out. I jus need to raise my capital. Thanks also for the tip it has been of great hlp me……..

  22. Jay Tee Says:

    Hi. I’m wondering at what age are the pigs slaughtered? Also, did you find an ethical slaughterhouse?

    1. stonybrookfarm Says:

      The pigs are slaughtered at 7 to 9 months, and yes, I did find an ethical slaughterhouse, a couple of them actually. Luckily the one I use is only twenty minutes away.

  23. Wendy Says:

    My husband and I are getting ready to buy 10 acres. We currently live on 1 with 2 pinned (yes, I know.. Hence the 10 Acres:) pigs. I was wondering if someone with more pasturing experience could check out this website and give me advice on what pasture mix to use. Once we move, the pigs will be moved from pasture area to pasture area. I will also have dairy cow and goats, horse and chickens (layers and meat), so at one point and time they will all be on the same areas, just not at the same time. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. We live in southeast Texas, zone 9 if that helps. Very humid. http://www.groworganic.com/seeds/pasture-seed.html

    1. GREYROOSTER Says:

      Wendy: I live in South Mississippi above New Orleans, La. What is called the Mississippi Gulf Coastal area. I have a good sized farm but more important is that I raise Berkshire and Large Black hogs. I also have Hereford’s but I am deleting the Herfords.
      Here is what I do and I only use approximately ten acres divided and sub divided by electric fences. I’ll tell you why electric later.
      What I do is in the Spring I completely disk up and level a main pasture of about 5 acres. In this I plant with a fertilizer spreader a basi mix of Millet, iron and clay peas and soy beans. At my feed store I purchase all the outdated seed they carried over at a greatly discounted price. Kale, carrots, green beans (hogs favorite) lima beans, field peas, peanuts, purple hull peas, radishes, even tomato and melon seeds. Anything that is a spring and summer crop. In 60 days I turn the hogs into this field for the summer and fall. They have access to a small farm pond (1/4 acre) That’s it until December. No additional feed. None, Nada. My hogs are beautiful, not overly fat and nicely marbled meat. They do need shelter from the SUN down here. I have oak trees that overhang the electric fence for shade and I have 8 X8 ft shelters on skids for them to have their babies in. The Summer the hogs lay around because of the heat but spend the nights in the pasture feeding. This system is so productive that I must bush hog it down several times during the summer. THEN in October I disk up another pasture and plant for the winter. Austria peas, rye grass, kale, turnips, carrots, mustard greens, rutabagas, radishes (French breakfast radishes get 5″ long and 1″ wide in two months) wheat, oats again anything I can get cheaply. Two months and I turn the hogs in. Until the summer pasture is again ready.They prefer the winter to summer pasture. They love siberian kale. You can by Kale seed for a few bucks and a pound contains thousands of seed. Also kale grows right back like grass. That’s it. I don’t buy any other feed.
      I use electric fences on 3 ft fiberglass poles because I can remove them quickly when disking, mowing and spraying fence lines. You will need to spray several time a year to keep the fence line clean.
      I raise Berkshire hogs and Large blacks because of the superior meat and gentleness. I’ve never had a mean hog since I got rid of those big white ugly monsters called the other white meat. I do leave my pigs on the sows longer as I see a much better pig when I do.
      Some say you must feed supplemental feed. I say 500,000 wild hogs in Mississippi prove them wrong. The more variety of feed the healthier the hog. Works for me. Hope I helped.

    2. Joann Says:

      I agree with greyrooster below. I raise American Guinea hogs and find them very docile. They take a little longer to mature but are a great size for homesteaders with small acreage. I only feed mine a cup full of corn a day to teach them to come when called. I just butchered my first hog last month and put about 100 lbs of meat in the freezer, which is plenty unless you have unlimited freezer space. The sausage is to die for. I just bought my first Gloucestershire Old Spots. I really love the heritage breeds because it keeps the bloodlines going, the meat is tastier and they are very thrifty, doing great on just pasture. I also use a natural wormer (diatomaceous earth) mixed in with their feed or water which eliminates the use of chemicals.

  24. Bernadith Deleon Says:

    B coz i want to learn what is best feed to swine grass b i wsnted to adop in my backyard…

    1. Crystal Says:

      No offense, but you need to learn how to spell.

  25. Wendy Says:

    Thank you GREYROOSTER … Very informative and exactly the things i needed to hear. And your right, soooo many wild ones here too, and I have a male that is 1/2 piney woods rooter (his name is, of course, Rooter) and a female blue butt (grand daughter named her Maybelle). They both are as sweet as can be, with the male being bottle fed and cuddled as a baby (I agree, the longer the milk the better, and we bought him at 3 days old). The blue butt was a show pig until her ear fell, but for what I need her for that doesn’t matter.
    As far as housing them, well hubby is a carpenter by trade so there’s no telling what he’ll come up with. We do plan to dig a shallow retention pond, so they will have acess to that for muddin’ in.
    How many breeding sets do you keep? Do you leave them all together? Some split the males off after breeding, some don’t. I plan to only have 2 sets, as I don’t need more for my little operation. I will definitely be checking into the outdated seeds, sounds to me like the whole bit would work here too.

  26. the pasture is a grasses or any other growing plants that is sweetable for livestock feeding.

  27. lucious Says:

    Will you please give me full business profile on pig farming

  28. Anonymous Says:

    GREYROOSTER: How many hogs do you run on the 5 acres?

    1. Greyrooster Says:

      Wow. I’ve been gone to long. At present I have 34. I let mother nature take it’s way. What I mean it my boar (Berkshire) runs with the herd. I get another one every year. Beats having to pen them separately. I’m trying to create something a bit different. Mainly developing a hog that can make it on it’s own without a lot of problems. The amount hogs you can carry per acre naturally depends on the size. What I was surprised to discover is that it’s very hard to over graze. I have to mow pastures down to avoid them getting to though. I do feel minerals free choice. Did you know pumpkins are a natural wormier for pigs? I plant an acre of them in June so they will be ready in October. Easy to grow. I also plant an acre of watermelons. Desert king is the best tasting and is drought tolerant. I use two pastures. A summer and fall. However I can see the benefit of smaller pastures and more of them separated by electric movable fence.

  29. jose Says:

    Iam looking in to raising some pigs of my own .what kind of pasture grass should I provide and how many pigs/ acre.thank you

  30. Daniel cecot Says:

    My pigs are pastured ,feed free choice,build them wallows.We kill her at the farm,tuck carcass to butcher shop,no stress no mess. Hanging weights of 180 to 200 lbs in 180 days hamps spots Durocs blue butts . Danny C Hemlockhamps

  31. Andy Alex Says:

    Pasture and hay are normally used as the primary feed for pigs. A dairy supplement is added for faster growth. Grains like corn, wheat or oats are good sources of protein. Vegetables and fruits are also good feed options.
    Swine feeds of good quality can be purchased from swine feed dealers.

  32. Bunya Ronald Says:

    I have cambrough pigs on sale contact me on 0703-979025 | 0772-66-05-72 | rbuny4@gmail.com

  33. agyemang Says:

    but I need constant messages on that.

  34. Bree Williams Says:

    How do I find an ethical slaughterhouse and/or butcher near Chicago, IL? I’ve tried Google but I just get meat packing places. I’m interested in starting a backyard mini-farm with chickens (will slaughter myself), pigs and perhaps a mini cow or two but we can’t / don’t want to slaughter the pigs/cows ourselves. I don’t want to buy the cows / pigs unless I know someone else can slaughter them in the future. I’m willing to drive several hours if needed, too. Thanks!

  35. Chris de Beer Says:

    We have a 75 sow pig farm which we started one year ago. We are new to pig farming so it’s been a steep learning curve! We have the opportunity to buy returned dairy products, mostly whole milk but also yoghurt, cream etc, but I need to work out if it would be cost effective. I’m trying to find out how much milk would be needed to replace 1KG of dry feed, can anyone help? Also, I have read that some pig farmers feed only milk and add vitamins and minerals, what do you think? I would assume that pregnant and lactating sows would need dry feed designed specifically for them. We can also get free bread dough which I think we would need to cook by boiling as we don’t have the facilities to dry it. Again, how much could we give to the pigs? Hope you can help.

    1. Edmund Says:

      Sounds like you need a copy of this book – http://www.amazon.com/Science-Edition-Palmer-Holden-Retired/dp/0131134612/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399347115&sr=8-1&keywords=swine+science

      I don’t own a copy, but he has a whole chapter on ration and ration equivalents. I would think dairy products would be better than dry grains, but maybe that’s just me.

      Why do you think the bread dough would need to be cooked? That sounds like a lot of extra cost in both time and money. Try feeding some raw and see if the pigs care. My money is on “they don’t care at all”.

    2. Greyrooster Says:

      Mix your dough with water until it’s a thick slurry. The hogs will burst before they quit slurping it.
      Whey from dairy process is great hog feed. I would look for some but I’ve decided the cost of fuel and my time isn’t worth it. Do you have your pig on pasture or in pens? That makes a big difference in what you feed. Such as Pigs born out in the pasture don’t need iron shots. Pigs born on concrete or in a feces filled pen do. The simpler you make it the better things seem to work. When I started raising pigs I started with the wrong kind of animal and still have concrete pens with automatic watering and feeders to look at.
      I can and do leave for vacation several times a year for several weeks and the hogs do fine on their own. I call it lazy farming.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    im currently looking at starting free rangeing 300 sows in the next year and going to have a dairy system going. brake feeding and pasture feeding also useing maze silarge in wintering months and rotateing crops to diffrent padocks. my view is to watch behavior in your pigs get to know them from padock to kill clean padocks are gd padocks get a feed plan in place and keep to it dont swap around and go for every thing on the market keep it simple and gd luck

  37. Bill K. Says:

    I’m new to pigs, and could use some advice. I have about 4 acres of fenced woods and pasture. I also have a 1/2 acre pond that would be a 1 acre pond if it would ever seal. That’s where the pigs come in. I understand that pigs are wonderful pond-sealers, so I’m thinking of getting about half a dozen feeders and turning them out on the property. I’d like to broadcast grain or corn or something to keep them tromping around the banks of the pond, rather than string electric fence to keep them in that vicinity, thus permitting them freedom to graze the rest of the land. I’d also place an automatic feeder near the pond for supplement, as no veggies are planted on the property. Do you think that would work, or would the pigs spend too much time roaming around the rest of the land. If so, what feed would they find irresistible on the banks of the pond? Thanks!

    1. Greyrooster Says:

      Your pond will be weed free around the edges and muddy. It’s what I use. My hog pond started as a deep banked catfish, bass and bluegill pong. Now I do see catfish when I throw the feed. I live on the Mississippi gulf coast and the hogs spend a lot of time in the pond. I would move your feeder to another area. Otherwise a lot of feed will get into the pond from the hogs mouths and may foul the water. If you have had fences a long time they will clean the fence line rooting for weed roots. The more cover you have (corn) the more they will be in it. Hogs like that environment.

  38. dave west Says:

    In our experience if the pond is their water source the pigs will take care if it. This time of year you won’t have any trouble “keeping” them near the pond and bank of the pond. They will take care of it in their own time and in their own way. (:
    Also I don’t believe you will need to entice them with anything to do the job, our heritage breeds love, enjoy, and find what they need in the dirt and mud on our farm! Kindest regards, dave

    1. Bill K. Says:

      Thanks, Dave! That helps very much.

  39. Greyrooster Says:

    I just spent over a thousand dollars on a stainless steel/aluminum feeder to supplement the little ones as some of my customers want them a little larger earlier. Rain proof. It took my boar exactly five minutes to figure out how to remove the lid.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Hi my name is cooper I would like do bye a pig

    1. deleted Says:

      It is cooper how much dose the pig cost

  41. dennis Says:

    what is the best heritage pig to raise that wont root that much

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Dennis: There’s not such animal. They will all root fresh pastures that haven’t been rooted before. Also in area that has been plowed or disked. I can go to a 5 acre pasture planted in Bahia grass for years and suddenly for some reason one spot in the middle will be rooted up. I have a water filled roller pulled behind my ATV that levels the area so moving isn’t rough.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    I raise American Guinea hogs and Gloustershire Old Spots. The Guinea Hogs do very little damage to my pastures.

  44. amit kumar Says:

    Want to start pork business need guideens

  45. Joe Says:

    Its Joe; We raised pastured pigs when i was a young in northern Alberta canada we used electric fence and an A frame shelter to( pharo? how do you spell that?) in. even the little pigs learned to respect the electric fence very soon. I think we supplemented with some grains and milk,we had dairy cows, I know they do very well on milk and its byproducts.I just bought 5 weiner pigs and want to start pasturing them in spring im in north montana now so i dont have growing season like you do in southern states thank -very interesting!

  46. Greyrooster Says:

    Joe: You raised fed pigs on pastures. Pasture pigs are not fed anything but what they crop themselves. I don’t see how one can raised 100% pastured pigs in the far north. I live on the Gulf coast and even here must plant for winter feed. I plant summer pastures and winter pastures. Takes equipment and work but it sure is nice to go for months without having to feed or mess with the hogs. I use field fence for perimeter fence and electric to separate pastures. I use an A frame with a flat top. The top being four feet and bottom being 6 feet. Many of my sows just build their own nests in the fields and seldom crush one. Hope this helps. If you can pasture your pigs 6 months a year where you live it will help with the feed bill and give a healthier hog.

  47. katamba isaac Says:

    I want 2 start my farm for pigs on a small pierce of land

  48. davidkleinfitness Says:

    Keep up the good work! People do appreciate it and are starting to care more and more.

    Can I ask, is the grain you feed organic (NON GMO) ?

  49. DavidCrockett Says:

    I finally have access to whole milk for my 4 pigs, approximately 60 lbs apiece. They have unlimited pasture and woods. How many gallons of milk per pig per day would be enough if that is all the food they get? Thank you very much in advance for any help you can give me.

    1. Greyrooster Says:

      Can’t help you. Never had access to cheap milk. I don’t think I would wish to fool with it. Cleaning, etc: I’ve found it’s best to feed hogs hog feed. If they have pasture and woods I would feed them only enough to keep them tame. That is unless you plan on raising “the other white meat”. Commercial breeds must be fed some grain and protein as they don’t get enough on their own.

  50. Trudi Says:

    I am wanting to raise 1 pig for meat. I have a large barn that I’m not using for the horses much anymore. I thought about cutting a doorway & making a paddock outside. So she can go out & in. We live in central Florida. I would feed pig feed,veg, & soaked alfalfa hay cubes. Please give me feedback on your thoughts about that idea. Tks Trudi

    1. Greyrooster Says:

      You don’t need to cut a hole in your building. Just give them a place to get shade. My hogs do better outside where it’s cooler. Be careful if your raising those big white hogs as they don’t have any back fat and the sun can eat them up.

  51. I have read every single thread along with the main post. Everyone is so very helpful. This spring we intend to raise 3-4 pigs on around an acre of our 3.5 acres of land. Really interested in the Guinea hogs as they sound like they do better in a smaller area. I live in Michigan in the heart of farm country and my neighbors and friends support commercial farming and I don;’t get a lot of help or advice. Really could use some suggestions (aside from the wealth of information I’ve found in your posts).
    Also, looking for a heritage breeder near west Michigan. We plan to raise these hogs for feeders and do not intend to show them. Thank you!
    Feel free to email me with any leads: elitetutoring.angie@gmail.com

  52. organicproducer/Canada Says:

    Really interesting!! I live in Manitoba, Canada- where the weather goes from one extreme in the winter, to another extreme in the summer. We’ve raised pigs in the past, but haven’t for sometime. The family farm- parents/siblings is an organic grain farm (wheat, oats, barley, flax…). which is on a 3 to 4 year rotation ( 3rd or 4th yr being summer follow). We have been talking about seeding the the 3rd/4th year land into radishes/alfafa to grow and plow under… but curious if hogs could do the trick, while adding value to the land and weight to the pigs. With the land base on a rotational grazing, I am thinking 400-600 wealing, or 90 sows/piglets would be required per 1/4 section (also thinking of the possibility of putting free roaming chickens amongst the pigs as I hear they do well together). I guess I am having troubles rapping my head around the perfect organic farming scenerio. So I guess my questions are: #1) Does anyone know of farms doing something similar with that amount of pigs- while maintaining the organic standard? #2) Our summers are not quite long enough to sustain grass until the hogs would be weight appropriate to butcher, so any suggestions as to trying to keep them as much “grass fed” as possible throughout the winter until they are ready for butcher (what is the ratio of grass to other foods that is required for the us to still be able to maintain that the pigs are “grass fed” throughout their life? Thanks

    1. Richard Anderson Says:

      Warning. Some pigs don’t eat chickens and some do. When they do they can eat a lot of chickens. On the good side. They don’t waste any of the chicken.

    2. Richard Anderson Says:

      I planted Diakon radishes one year. The things grew 18″ long and the hogs loved them. They outgrew turnips, rape and rye grass. If you like pork that tastes like a radish go for it. Ha, ha. I wouldn’t plant to many but I’m not afraid to mix a few of them in.

  53. emmanuel kanyerere Says:

    can you mention those vegetables you use to feed the pigs?

  54. Michael p adleta Says:

    I’ve recently bought 2 large black gilts only one is breed and I’m raising them on orchard grass alfalfa clover mix and what ever they may find in the woods like acorns. And raising them the nature intended I’m aways looking for ways to in prove this small pig operation. Thanks for your information. This country needs more farmers like us to make a better product then the cardboard pork Industry.

  55. Mary Says:

    We have bought an old 1872 farm property on five overgrown wooded acres. We are raising chickens and ducks and are getting the old hog house ready for a couple of heritage pigs.
    We fenced in our yard to keep us in, so we never have to dodge any droppings and our chickens and ducks roam the property picking and scratching, keeping the bug and tick population down all day long. They have their own clean, insulated coop and are “tucked in” at night safe from any preditors. We have 12 laying hens, 1 happy rooster and 22 heritage roosters growing up untill they find their voice at which time they will loose their head. It takes about 4 months and they are so happy and never see it coming! We feed only organic feed from the local mill. I butcher myself in the spring or fall for myself and family and will also butcher any pigs when they are ready and we are in need. ( If you have a computer you too can get the job done and you never have to wonder who/how your meat was handled? I went on line and cured and smoked my own bacon last year and it was remarkable and so easy. Our feed mill also has organic pig feed. We are fencing in several different areas for rotational grazing now. I feel that even the family farmer needs to take into consideration that the amount of pasture they have should exceed the amount of pasture needed for their number of pigs. I have seen too many farms that end up with too many pigs for their space causing it to look and smell like any commercial feed lot. I hope no one knows I have pigs because of the smell. I am starting out with 2 and will see how it goes.
    As I read about loading up pigs I wonder……we have the option to hire the local butcher shop to come and skillfully shoot the unsuspecting pig where they lay, thus taking any stress away from them. They then load them up and take them back to the shop or in my case will help me hang them and I will process it myself. I don’t know if this is available all over the country or not but when I lived in Washington my neighbor took advantage of a local butcher that offered this option also.
    Pigs love milk and it makes great tasting meat so I hope to supplement my pigs diet with milk from the organic dairy down the road. So I hope this will give people some ideas for options with taking on their own farm animals.
    We too have watched several netflix documentary’s and it is something everyone should see. Check things out we have been blind sided for far too long. Go check out these commercial lots. Those chickens and turkeys never see the light of day and cows are piled on top of one another while being fed unbelievable diets that are turned into the meat you are eating.
    Support your local farmer, but check and make sure they fertilize with natural things. Lots of people are using miracle grow to make those big beautiful plants and produce. I will pick the pathetic seedy looking non fertilized food any day now that I’ve been enlightened.

  56. ngene david c Says:

    is there any green pasture that can fasten the growth and development of pig

  57. Greyrooster Says:

    Hogs need protein to grow faster. The more protein the faster and larger they will get. I raise Berkshires on pasture. They are even born out there. But my pastures are planted for them. I plant soy beans and iron and clay peas in the summer pastures. I plant kale, essex rape, turnips, etc for winter pasture. I don’t believe people who claim they feed hay only in winter. Simply not enough protein in hay. It takes me about 3 months longer to produce a 260lb hog than is I grain fed them in a pen.

    1. roundersroit Says:

      Grey Rooster,
      I am in south Alabama and would like to somewhat replicate what you have done with your farm. I know you mentioned having 34 pigs on the 5 acres at a time. Is that the boar, 3 sows and 30 pigs you are growing to butcher or how does it work?
      Thank you

  58. Leon McBride Says:

    Do you use wire fencing or hot wire to section off your sections? Also, how many acres per head of hog should be used? Thanks.

  59. Anonymous Says:

    My perimeter fencing is field fence. I separate pastures while planting, growing, etc: with portable electric fence using fiberglass poles about 60 ft apart. If you put posts to close together they will get broke when accidents happen. (one pig shoving another) 60 to 80 feet gives enough slack to avoid this. I use the rope type wire because it’s east to roll up and reuse over and over. Once your crops, such as iron and clay peas are 6″ tall turn the sows in. Don’t let it get to far ahead of the herd. Turnips, rye grass, Austrian peas, essex rape and Siberian Kale for winter pasture. When they crop Rape, Kale and rye grass it grows back. I use 5-8 sows to the acre. 5 sows will keep you very busy giving you an average of 100 feeder pigs each. That’s a lot of docking and castrating. My pastures at this time are about 2 acres each. Sometimes I still have to mow them down to keep them tender. In the hot summer months you can scatter iron and clay peas and sow beans to keep the ground cooler and they will grow taller than the hogs to supply them with shade. But mostly, pasture hogs feed like wild hogs. At night when the feed is cool. They day time is reserved for laying under the oak and taking a dip in the ponds.
    I use a cattle duster set 2 ft off the ground for insect control. The hogs figure out what it’s for after going
    under it a few times. I have less losses to crushing when they are allowed to make their own nests so I let them farrow in the fields.

    1. Sbowen Says:

      You by far have the best info on the net. Thanks for all your efforts. I’m in the process of developing a business plan for pasture pork. Could you please break down the cost of a boar and sows, and also advise any that you may have for sale for breeding stock. I’m in a little town called Tuscaloosa Alabama, you might have heard about us we got a football team here. I don’t think the geographical location would change that much with your pigs. Feel free to contact me via email if you want to.

    2. Richard Anderson Says:

      You had a football team until they messed with Mississippi.
      All I have now is one very nice sow who is proven as she had 14 one month ago. I also have a few gilts out of her. She’s available because I’m moving all hogs to one farm and I don’t need a sow fight. I have perhaps two gilts who are presently one month old I could let go in a few more weeks. This year demand far exceeds what I’ve raised. Perhaps the price of beef has something to do with it. Or perhaps people are sick of the tasteless other white meat.

      Everything else is spoken for or already gone. When I answer all these E-mails I’m sure they will be gone also. I’ll get back with you in a day or two. Thx for your interest.

    3. Steve Bowen Says:

      Laugh out loud yes Alabama did have a football team., but they didn’t show up to play Mississippi. I’m very interested in keeping in close contact with you., thank you for responding.

    4. Steve Says:

      I’m sorry the previous post is for grey rooster ,205 886 1083

  60. Oluwole Olusola Says:

    sir.we are interested to buy 100% pure large. white pigs

  61. Anonymous Says:

    I have to do this assignment for ag class and it’s stupid

  62. Sharleen Says:

    Do you worm your pigs? If yes, with what and when

  63. Anonymous Says:

    I use a pelleted wormer on the little ones. Don’t need to on the big ones as they never seem to have a worm problem. Planting a field of pumpkins every year seems to keep them worm free.

  64. Anonymous Says:

    GreyRooster – you mention using electric fence. Any problems with Coyotes? I keep hearing them at night out in my pasture and I want to set up a system to keep the predators out before bringing in any pigs.

  65. Christian Says:

    I need a diet for for fast growth in large white pig

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