Homegrown Pork

threehhorse
By threehhorse on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 - 10:30am

I read many years ago about raising pigs in movable pens and I saw how a friend of mine raises chickens in chicken tractors. So I decided to try with pigs. At the same time another friend was raising Glouchestershire pigs also known as Old Spot. They are a heirloom breed from the UK. They are the old style fat pig versus slim and trim. One important trait is that they are very docile, which is important in keeping them confined.

I built a 16' X 7' pen on skids. The back 4' X 7' is a shelter area. The remaining 12' X 7' area is open to the ground, so they can root this area and eat the vegetation. I got the pigs in August and put the pen in a lush red clover hay field and moved the pen once a day and twice later on. The pigs would eat all of the vegetative matter in the pen area every day. We also fed them extras from the garden, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and sweet corn as it became available. In the whole time we had them they covered about one and a half acres. One important benefit with this system is that there is no smell that is associated with pigs.

In October we started feeding 10 ears of corn a day from some open pollinated corn that we raised to practice with my horsedrawn cultivator. The middle of November the corn ran out and we bought $400.00 worth of pig feed to finish them out. We also had to move them into the barn because the ground was too wet to move them with the tractor or horse. I put them in a pen with deep hay bedding and a interesting thing happened, they stopped rooting. All they did was eat and sleep, they gained over 100 pounds in one month.

In five months they went from 60 lbs to 320 lbs. ( 645 lbs hanging weight for the two ). We received between 350 and 400 pounds of meat. We figure we have around $2.50 a pound invested.

I think with some planning such as when the pigs are born, planting fields with plants just for pig pasture pigs could be raised with out external feed sources. I am going to do this again and am going to be better prepared next time. I hope people get ideas from this.

Threehhorse

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
thanks threehhorse

I've been contemplating something like this for pigs and/or sheep and would like to hear the specifics of how this pen works.  i.e., what kind of fencing you use, do they eat anything but pasturage and extra veggies from your garden while being moved about, what the shelter looks like, what kind of water trough is used, how many pigs you raised in the pen, etc.

I saw a system that used a portable electric fence (battery operated) for pigs that was moved periodically (I don't think daily).  I am considering something like that, that would be rotated around my pond so that the animals would always have access to the pond for water.

What are your thoughts?

Doug

threehhorse's picture
threehhorse
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 17 2012
Posts: 8
reply to homegrown pork

I have trouble getting pictures on these posts, they are worth a thousand words. The pen is made of rough cut wood with metal siding on the shelter area. I used 4" X 6" X 16' treated wood for runners. I pull the pen with the tractor or horse just 12' at a time to give them new ground to root. I watered them twice a day in two 5 gal rubber pans. I tried the nipple, but you need water pressure for them to work right.

This system is a little labor intensive versus having the pigs run free inside a fence. The pluses are that you can control where they eat and they eat everything in that area and waste nothing. I have had pigs in pastures and corrals before and they waste alot and make a mess . The other plus is that there is no smell, that is important where I live. A person could reseed behind the pigs and use the same area over again.

For this to work out best the pigs should be weaned in early June and then ready to go in the pen. If a person planted some root crops and lush clover or alfalfa.also I think the pigs would do very well by fall. It would be a very economical way of growing meat on a small area.

I had two pigs. We were going to  start again in March but the sow aborted 12 pigs. We will be starting again in July/August period. I am growing a much larger crop of open pollinated corn this summer and will have it to add to the pasture. I figure they got more than half of their food from the pasture. If you feed them too much other stuff they stop rooting and taking advantage of the cheap pasture. I know that you can raise them on purly pasture, it just takes longer. My email is [email protected] I can send pics.

Threehhorse

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 2939
Inserting pictures into comments

Threehorse -

This short tutorial walks you through how to insert pictures into a comment:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/tutorial-adding-images-within-post-or-comment

mobius's picture
mobius
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 18 2009
Posts: 160
Hey Adam, Nice chicks...

No seriously Adam, 

...if I wanted to post a screen shot, must that first be imported into a program like photoshop and then inbedded into the comment?

I tried to copy an exchange rate graph from xe.com, but it just wansn't happening.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 2939
Two ways

Per the tutorial:

1) if the image is hosted on a url, paste that url into the field provided when clicking on the "image" icon in your Comment toolbar (you can quickly find out whether the image has a url by going to xe.com and clicking on the image - if it sends you to a specific page with only that image on it, copy that url)

2) save the image/screen shot to your computer as a .jpg, .gif, or .png file. Then upload it using the steps in the tutorial.

If neither of those approaches is working for you, email me.

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