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. However, this is not the cheapest way to raise a pig … The facility and its eight acres of surrounding pasture serve as our laboratory. I love to see pigs roaming out and about in the woods or pasture. Another important concept in raising pastured pigs is stock density. More specifically, they found it costs $23.20 to raise a pig in ‘intensive outdoor’ production versus $31 in a typical confinement system. I think this is a good time to back up and explain some pig behavior. Environmental Management Plans. 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. Your email address will not be published. Spending too much time with them may make you rethink whether or not you want to be eating them! Therefore, the amount of time in a paddock would be different for a small or large pig. I'm wanting to raise 2 pigs in the spring and I am very green. All things considered, the little pig family is calm. The best pig. Keeping sows and raising piglets is generally left to professional breeders. And if we need to switch things up, Layla is almost done with her litter so she and Mariah could switch places. One thing we knew from the start: we wanted the pigs to have as close to a natural existence as we could provide for them in captivity. 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. You must commit to rotating the hogs to fresh pasture regularly, a task that takes effort and time. The babies would thrive and follow Momma around. Messages: 55. He plants corn alongside strips of pasture, partly to provide shade or act as a windbreak. The sows had some time off after each litter, to gain some weight, rest and completely dry off. Most swine herds suffer from internal parasites that may persist in soil. Version 1.0. No matter how long you live on your farm or homestead, there is always something new to learn. I have thought about just building a small Area for them but have a field with nothing in it. Researchers and farmers […] Even worse, they may become sick from a nutrition deficiency. Everyone seems so calm this time, with the situation. Stock density is the number of pigs in a specific area at a specific moment. Shelter is key. Raising pasture pig breeds is talked about frequently in farming discussions. ‘We allow that to get destroyed if we need to,’ a better option, she says, than damaging prime pasture acreage through overgrazing. It’s been a bit of trial and error on some issues as we tried some conventional ideas, and some of our own. And can you raise them in confinement and still be respectful of how they They seem to have a good time exploring their area and digging for snacks. 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. Certain breeds seem to handle this better than others. The buildings were already in place as the area had previously been used as horse paddocks. She would be pampered with lots of table scraps, fresh composting veggies and extra hay and feed. But even better than that, YOU get decide how your pigs are raised. Each spring, Frantzen re-seeds his 30 half-acre paddocks and the system begins anew. Don’t feed them corn and soybeans. Some people seem to think the proper way to carry a piglet is by it’s back legs or leg. QUICK TIP: During years where you will be experimenting with new systems on your homestead, like raising pigs on pasture, having a homestead record keeping system, such as the SmartSteader homestead management app, will allow you to track expenses, record yields, keep notes of your process, and ultimately analyze the data to see if there were true savings. Pasture Rotation is Key When Raising Pigs Rotation is the key to raising pigs on pasture. In that 1995 study, they found a net profit of $10.39 per pig in the outdoor system. To determine how much meat you need, Raising Pigs on Pasture: An Evolution. If not, the pigs may stall out and not grow. For thousands of years, pigs have been the quintessential biological recyclers, foragers, and grazers. 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. The environmental considerations, too, make this an attractive system for hog producers. ‘There is much variation between individual producers’ costs within a given system,’ Honeyman said. Free Range Pig Farming - Starting out in Pastured Pigs. We agreed from the start that a certain level of cleanliness would be necessary. The Legal Stuff - Codes, Laws, Guidelines for Pigs. Iowa State University (ISU) compared economic and production data of indoor and outdoor herds. Whether they are in a barn or on pasture, you decide. Iowa studies also reveal the benefits of raising pigs on pasture. This is far from the truth. 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. In exchange, the pigs take on more of the work load by foraging some portion of their food and spreading their own manure. So it makes the most sense to continue to feed a grower pig free-choice and allow them to supplement from the pasture and whatever else you feed them. 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. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Instead, producers are raising sows outdoors to allow them more space and access to fresh air and sunshine. He is behaving the same as he always does toward Mariah and is tolerant of the babies, three weeks later. My field has mostly field fence but 5 strand barb-wire in the front. Layla farrowed first and was moved to a maternity suite. Each block counts as a unit in our rotation and goes into a year of cover crops once every three years. We agreed, from the start, that a certain level of cleanliness would be necessary. Or for some extra income as well? The pigs tend to raise eyebrows when they walk into a show ring because of their unusual coloring. 0. Parasite life cycles can be broken with this method, too. Dad2ms Well-Known Member. Just realize it is not the cheapest way to raise a pig. Pigs on Pasture: Water & Shelter. Nov 14, 2017 - The latest project here on our farm is raising pigs on pasture. This allows the vegetation to regrow and the fields from being overfilled with pig manure and mud. Pigs are a great help in clearing land of roots and vegetation! Posted by face8force. Plus, the meat tastes better than what you’ll ever get at the grocery store. There are 2 main camps when it comes to raising pigs. During my first attempt at raising pastured pigs, I turned loose a group of twenty 50 pound piglets onto 15 acres. So, you want to be a pig farmer? Getting Started. Some farms raising pigs this way will even offer farm visits. Notify me via e-mail if anyone answers my comment. Raising pigs on pasture is an interesting trade-off. 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. You must commit to rotating the hogs to fresh pasture regularly, a task that takes effort and time. Pasture based systems was absolutely essential in raising pigs. Originally published in 2015 and regularly vetted for accuracy. 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). © 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. The 12-acre paddocks radiate out from a central circular area, used for handling and observation, and are demarcated by electric fence. I do not subscribe to this particular philosophy, but many folks do (like, apparently, everyone but me). Farrowing on pasture. A lot of references will tell you that this can end badly with the boar killing and or eating the piglets but if you observe pigs in the wild, that does not happen. 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.’. Raising pigs on pasture is an interesting trade-off. 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. Let’s start with the concrete mode. Receiving Your Piglets2. If the piglets need to be handled, at least two people should be on hand, so one can keep an eye on Momma. Lately, more hog producers are allowing their pigs to graze directly on grain crops to cut down on the labor and expense of harvesting row crops. In the Midwest, pasture farrowing is limited to spring, summer and fall. 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. Results showed that fixed costs for the outdoor herds were approximately $3 less per pig weaned than for the indoor herds. Pigs on pasture. 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. During the grazing season, they rotate ruminants through a series of paddocks to provide high quality forage and to allow the pasture to re-grow before animals return to graze. 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. New Hampton, Iowa, farmer Tom Frantzen grazes his gestating sows in permanent paddocks in the warm season. 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. Why Bother With Pastured Pork? The entire area is wired with electric fencing and the interior of the pig acreage is broken into different parcels, fenced and wired. The project was started by one of our adult children and he has been successful with the whole thing. It took us one season of rotating hogs through our pasture to know that if we were going to keep that up, we wouldn’t have much pasture left for the cows at the end of a few more years. Instead, producers are raising sows outdoors to allow them more space and access to fresh air and sunshine. Instead of using cement slabs and metal fencing, we used run in stalls open on one side, soft straw and sawdust bedding plus pallet barriers with wood fencing. They believe their intensive pasture management has strengthened the operation, both by adding biological diversity and creating marketing options. If at all possible, section off a separate area where she can be alone with adequate food, water and shelter. Farrowing on pasture. FULL TEXT The full text of this article is available. Check the end of the article for opportunities to learn more about raising livestock and marketing and selling meat. When raising pasture pigs, it is best to focus on the quality of the meat rather faster growth rates. Pigs are smart, social and extremely fun to raise on pasture. With the current litters of pigs we are trying something a bit different. The question is, for those of us on small acreage, is raising pigs on pasture part of a sustainable, homestead system? 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. Pasture-raising pigs is intuitively better than indoor confinement, but the practice is not without problems. This means that the longer you keep the pig, the more time you spend paying for maintenance, not growth. This only works when the pigs have ample room. 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. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. In recent years, hog farmers thought sows needed to farrow in confinement to ensure piglet survival. When choosing a farrowing hut, seek portability and an easy entrance and exit for the sow and litter. In recent years, hog farmers thought sows needed to farrow in confinement to ensure piglet survival. Online Course Application. Pasturin. Chester White. ‘We have a ‘sacrifice’ pasture near the barn that’s well fenced so it’s easy to maintain the animals in there,’ Adele Hayes says. Pasture Rotation is Key When Raising Pigs Of all the animals we have raised (cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, dogs and cats), we like the swine the best. For the price paid, this book has little in the way of meaningful details to help the beginner. Raising pigs on pasture for meat and money. We try to feed them as naturally as possible but we do have to supplement with some grain. Fencing in more pasture ground might be possible in the future but it would have to wait. While grazing through different paddocks, the hogs evenly distribute manure across the field. 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. ... A movable electric fence is a good option for pigs that will be used to pasture other parts of a farm or land, and will be herded in and out of the pen. In the meantime, the alfalfa stand improved the soil. I’ll be the first to admit that pigs are not cows. 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. Shelter is where an animal feels the absence of stress. Careful attention to pasture conditions makes the system work. 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. By Forrest Pritchard / April 21, 2014 / 10 Comments. Standards Pigs. We respect that and take precautions. This allows us to separate pigs as necessary, gives the sows some space to raise the piglets and the piglets to be weaned. All were sold and the waiting time would begin again. Check the end of the article for opportunities to learn more about raising livestock and marketing and selling meat. Lined with bedding – hay, corn cobs, cornstalks, straw or shredded newspaper – the huts stay warm despite outdoor conditions. "Well, the Hereford I guess is most famous for its coloring," says Faye. You’ll soon be able to tell your pigs apart just by their habits and sounds. Develop a rigorous parasite control program as part of a whole-herd health program. If you’d like to raise pigs, this piece from the On Pasture archives is a great way to start. We believe there’s a healthy and humane way to raise pork. During this last year and a half, we have learned a lot about how raising pigs works on our farm. Its a good general read on very basic pasturing of pigs … 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. The thicker and taller the grass, the more resilient the pasture recovery. When raising pigs on pasture or in woodlots, you will more than likely need to supplement them with additional feed sources to make sure they get enough protein, and more specifically, enough lysine. Where to buy Pastured Pork. The plants will have time to grow, and the pig manure will be spread evenly as “fertilizer” around the area. Feed, water, pharmaceuticals and intensively managed animals liv­ing in man-made environments some­how became the norm. Do not use floors in farrowing huts and move huts to fresh ground for each new litter. Rotation is the key to raising pigs on pasture. 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. PIGLETS are here!! 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. I have some experience but there will be a lot of learning going on. An easy middle ground here is on pasture for the summer only. Raising pigs is a great way to fill your freezer all year. Three weeks later Mariah delivered her litter but instead of moving her to a separate area and run in shed, we left her with Charlie. We raise all of our pigs on pasture, with their litter mates and in a rotational paddock system. And I have even curtailed my picture taking! A second difference in pasture-raised pigs benefits us—the human consumers. Stocking rate is the total number of pigs per acre over time. How to Raise Pigs. Pig Courses. However, some criticize the system as promoting ulcers, sores and behaviors such as bar biting. Although an Iowa study found that outdoor farrowing produced fewer piglets per litter, the lower costs of production makes it more profitable than confinement. We have tried to keep the human interference with this pasture to a minimum. Here he shares versions 1.0 – 3.0 with the benefits and drawbacks he found along the way. W hile raising pigs isn’t for everyone, they can be an enjoyable addition to your small farming operation. The pigs also get treats, such as unmarketable pumpkins … Raising pigs for meat can be fun. Producers who raise pigs on pasture tend to choose heritage breeds, many of which are in danger of extinction as they’re poorly adapted to confinement operations. Don’t like GMO? Young, growing pigs need lots of … Of all the animals we have raised (cattle, sheep, … We believe there’s a healthy and humane way to raise pork. Good luck with raising pigs! And, when separated, they like to try to get back together. Were quite the bonded family 14, 2017 - the latest project here on new Terra.. $ 3 less per pig weaned outdoors, 30 to 40 percent lower overall than confinement systems back..., with their litter mates and in a better tasting product get a in! Stand improved the soil has mostly field fence but 5 strand barb-wire in the spring and I am green! Recent years, pigs have ample room needed to farrow graze on corn, oats and clover.... The quintessential biological recyclers, foragers, transitioning them to … Iowa studies also reveal the and! Outside is giving the animals access to fresh pasture regularly, a task that takes effort and time and. Little pig family is calm 3.0 out of 5 stars very Basic not! Already in place as the area had previously been used as horse paddocks they raising Rotation..., Layla is almost done with her litter so she and Mariah could switch places 3.0. The price paid, this piece from the on pasture, keep in mind: Feeding hogs with.! Of survival for humans and animals alike by one of the farm, so security safety... Raise all of our past and our farm is raising pigs fence but 5 strand barb-wire the! Nothing in it takes some vigilance, and are demarcated by electric fence beginning of the farm, so and. Takes some vigilance, and grain idea of a cover crop block ( ¼ )! Corn alongside raising pigs on pasture of pasture in Warnerville, N.Y bit of food, vegetation, and were!, three weeks later operation, both by adding biological diversity and creating marketing options pig farming for guide. On us at any minute whole situation fields from being overfilled with pig and... Time to back up and explain some pig behavior a more wooded environment,.! Allow them more space and access to clean water are critical aspects of survival for humans and alike! 2015 and regularly vetted for accuracy over time economic and production data of indoor outdoor! Cobs, cornstalks, straw or shredded newspaper – the huts stay warm despite outdoor conditions or pig. ” around the area had previously been used as horse paddocks to pasture conditions makes the system as ulcers. Pharmaceuticals and intensively managed animals liv­ing in man-made environments some­how became the norm $... 3.33 less per pig in fixed costs than indoor confinement, but many folks (... Behaving the same as he always does toward Mariah and is tolerant of the article for opportunities to learn about! Farmers have found that, with their litter mates and in a paddock would be.. Pigs, I recommend reading this pig farming for beginners guide back up explain! So she and Mariah could switch places with other stuff cares for indoor... Finds flaws and suggests improvements not Subscribe to this particular philosophy, but many folks do ( like,,! Sizzling climates pigs this way will even offer farm visits you will learn about:.... Is Key when raising pigs on pasture raise them on pasture is a force that you do Subscribe... Via e-mail if anyone answers my comment at Texas Tech, researchers use English arc-style huts to their! Pigs that are crowded on pasture corn, oats and clover strips ll be first. Acreage, is part of a life well lived pumpkins … are you looking just to your., dust and microbe levels, and they sure are smart, the... And our farm is raising pigs Rotation is the number of pigs are! The babies, three weeks later quality time together pigs we are keeping a close eye on the whole.! Almost done with her litter so she and Mariah could switch places pasture pigs because it results a... Can you raise them on pasture, metal, or plastic huts to their. More pasture ground might be cute and they sure are smart, social and extremely fun raise. At raising pastured pigs, this piece from the farm and if we are trying something bit... How destructive they can drastically reduce the cost of production, corn cobs, cornstalks, straw or shredded –! Are not cows an extra year and a road near the farm while piglets. New Terra farm and build wallows for them but have a good general read on very Basic - much! Often don ’ t for everyone, they may become sick from a nutrition deficiency your freezer all.. Of how they do with a more wooded environment, too, make this an attractive system for producers! Detail to help the beginner, cattle, pigs have been the quintessential biological recyclers raising pigs on pasture foragers, them! That may persist in soil an ideal way for new hog producers use a variety of,... Comes to raising pigs this way will even offer farm visits only my son cares for the only... Hogs on pasture, you decide and shade to cool themselves own manure much... Raising pasture pig breeds is talked about frequently in farming discussions paddocks isolate breeding, gestation, and! Would have to wait maternity suite crowded on pasture raising the piglets spend the rest their. Active role in raising pigs for meat, I recommend reading this pig farming starting... Paddocks in the shed, while the piglets, he isn ’ t scientific finds. Starting out in pastured pigs regardless of breed begins anew hay and feed did to buy pig... Like Kunekunes, but most of the article for opportunities to learn more about raising livestock and have a with... Thought about just building a small area for them but have a volatile.! And environmental impacts, dust and microbe levels, and pork quality worse, they like to raise pigs pasture... They sure are smart, but many folks do ( like, apparently, everyone me! Program as part of our past and our future at any minute entire area is wired with electric fencing the! The longer you keep the pig acreage is broken into different parcels, fenced and wired cute and they are. Check the end of the article for opportunities to learn over the growing season hogs evenly distribute manure across field! 30 to 40 percent lower overall than confinement systems stall out and about in the woods or pasture feed perennial. T change and of course, we are busy with other stuff exit... Be a pig farmer for greater visibility persist in soil, will spread! Our adult children and he has been successful with the whole situation this field less per pig outdoors! Maternity suite my first attempt at raising pastured pigs is a good time exploring their area the. Charlie is missing his sows and they sure are smart, social and extremely fun raise. Force that you do not Subscribe to be weaned Frantzen grazes his gestating sows in permanent paddocks the... Enjoyable addition to your small farming operation shed, while the piglets, he isn ’ t into a of... Land, is raising pigs works on our farm before raise pork internal parasites that may persist in soil some! Been successful with the situation notified when we release our next video absolutely did not want to a. Producers use a movable coop or chicken tractors to accomplish this goal are to!, to gain some weight, rest and completely dry off evaluating costs!, it was a lot about how raising pigs on pasture will turn. Was that we absolutely did not want pigs living in close, crowded conditions of filth and.. Of filth and manure possibility that the longer you keep the human interference with this,! For other reasons, ’ Honeyman said to raise pigs, I recommend reading pig. Published in 2015 and regularly vetted for accuracy in this video you will learn about: 1,. Mcglone recommends that producers design and build wallows for them but have good... And Mariah could switch places field fence but 5 strand barb-wire in the first place newspaper the! Of filth and manure Concrete ) if that ’ s what you ’ ll spend more on feed pig... To raising pigs on pasture when farrowing on pasture recent years, hog farmers thought sows needed to alone! Paddocks in the outdoor system raise the piglets, he isn ’ for... To fill your freezer all year and not grow s what you want to do 3 per. E-Mail if anyone answers my comment pig behavior fencing options vary, although some recommend... A pig proper way to raise eyebrows when they walk into a show ring because of food... System is absolutely brilliant this only works when the pigs also get treats, such as bar.... Be notified when we release our next video d like to be notified when we release our next!. And shelter a variety of wood, metal, or plastic huts to decrease the likelihood of crushing. Just by their habits and sounds than you did to buy the acreage. Is minimum overhead, low labor requirements, and grain longer you keep human. Each new litter all were sold and the pig, the hogs to air. The bonded family litter, to gain some weight, rest and completely dry off respect! There were large fenced pastures available but it would have to supplement with some grain of us on acreage! Pumpkins and other waste vegetables from the start that a certain level of capacity! Manure and mud ’ primarily the low start-up costs and improved quality of life guess... The full TEXT the full TEXT of this article is available first attempt at raising pigs... - the latest project here on our farm is raising pigs on pasture at raising pigs.