It may not add many calories but there's a lot for the pig to eat in the ground there. They're omnivores. My concern on a slope would be erosion, after they root up the soil and if it rains. As you'll have plenty of tree roots to mitigate that, you ought to do well.
t posts are fine but you may want to get 6 ft posts and drive them in so the tops are level with the hog panels. If they're happy, as thomas says they're unlikely to try to get out. But you'll likely want to remove any electric in there when you're loading (unless you want a shock!) and a 300 pound pig leaning up against a t post that's only 1 foot in the ground can bend it over without really trying.
The way that electric fencing works is that the fence is on ALL THE TIME so that when a young animal touches the fence, it gets a shock. Depending on how smart the animal is, it learns not to touch the fence.
After that, the animal won't touch anything that looks like the fence. It doesn't matter if it has a charge or not. You can unplug it if you want.
If the animal accidentally touches the fence too many times and doesn't get a shock, depending on how smart it is, it will learn that the fence doesn't work any more.
If you want to make a "smart" fence, develop a herd that learns quickly not to touch the fence, and is risk-averse to testing the fence later on.
You're treating the animal like a cog in a system, and trying to engineer the system. The animal has a brain, and can easily game whatever system you devise. You need to work on animal psychology, not electronics.
Anj Herrem wrote:If I am planning on having 2 and rotating them weekly or bi-weekly how big of a pen would be sufficient?
If you're planning on MOVING all the hog panels weekly...I would ask why.
I wouldn't put any number of pigs on less than 1/8 of an acre. They like to explore, they're not ruminants that just chew cud all day. Limit their space too much and they'll try to get out. That said, you can keep quite in a 1/4 acre at a time if you move them frequently.
I'm trying to figure out why you would move hog panels weekly instead of just using electric. You can run a charger off a 12 volt battery. Get 2 deep cycle batteries and change the battery every day to be safe, while one is on the fence the other is charging. For pig electric you just need 2 polywires. We use fiberglass posts but heck, you could cut your own from wood and a bag of plastic clips for the polywire is like $10, that's all you need.
Yes the charger is going to cost you a few hundred dollars, but I would think you could resell it if you don't want to keep it and it's going to be cheaper than hog paneling 1/8 of an acre.
Use the 16x32 hog panel pen to train your piglets to the fence. Put the polywire right next to the panel so they bump into the wire, get a shock, and then bounce off the fence. If they're happy where they are (food, water, stuff to root around in) they'll learn fast to respect the fence.
Here's what we did. Thanks for the suggestions. $heep hurdle$ co$t real Money, and we didn't have time to source cheap used ones. Likewise didn't have time to build our own.
We set up a cattle panel against the outside of a shed, secured to t-posts (easily removed with a post-remover). The cattle panel was angled so one end was out pretty far from the shed side and the other end was only wide enough for one sheep. This makes a chute where one side is the cattle panel and the other is the shed wall.
On the wide end we put a piece of cattle panel as a gate, tied with baling twine (strong but easy to remove). The piece of panel was left over from another project. We had previously fenced off the shed, so the only access to the makeshift chute was the temporary gate.
At the narrow end of the chute we put an outdoor table flipped on its side. Easy for us to move out of the way but hard for one sheep to push away.
We dumped a 2-string bale of alfalfa hay into the chute.
Oh, and we made sure to do this when the sheep had been on that paddock next to the shed for a few days and had already eaten everything they really, really like.
Every time a few sheep went in to eat alfalfa, we followed them in and closed the gate behind us. Only one sheep could get to the end at a time and that wasn't enough mass to push the table out of the way. A few sticks with the sharps and then push the table aside and let them out (into a nice fresh paddock with lots of really nice grass.) Repeat.
Hiccups just took some time. The last 5 sheep had possibly wised up to what was going on and wouldn't go in to eat the alfalfa until we left them alone for 30 minutes or so. Came back after doing some other chores and found 4/5 eating the hay. After the last sheep was left all by herself she went in pretty quickly. The whole thing took about 22 hours.
A way to improve this for next time, we'll use some field fence and t posts to make a holding area. Part of the reason the last 5 took so long was that with the rest of the herd gone, they could mosey around and look for clover and other goodies that the other sheep had missed. This made them less interested in the hay.
We're not sure if the shed wall helped a lot. It provided a nice secure area, but it's possible that the shade/shadow cast by the wall made the sheep less eager to go into the chute.
Your husband is absolutely right. It is a ton of work, and he will end up doing a lot of it because unless you spend a bunch of money anything you want to do requires sheer physical power, of which he likely has more than you. If he doesn't want to do it then you will not succeed.
However, we do live in a technological society and if you can afford to spend the money on machines to make the work easier, that changes things. But you still are going to fail if you don't have the support of your spouse. Either you will fail, or your marriage will fail. Don't do that.
However, there is a lot you can do just where you are. Bloom where you are planted. It really is a great life, and without knowing your situation I will say it would almost certainly be more rewarding for both you and your husband. Perhaps if he sees a "proof of concept" on a small scale he will become more supportive.
If that doesn't work, doing it on whatever small scale you can manage will almost certainly interest your kids. I'm not sure why anyone would want to homestead for selfish reasons, because it's a ton of work and extremely stressful and working a normal job is a lot easier. You can still give your kids a lot of the benefit even if you don't "homestead" full time.
On the subject of homeschooling I will point out that every parent is a homeschooler, it's just that some of us outsource school to other people part of the time. Nobody can prevent you from teaching your kids things when they are at home.
I just want to comment that planning on scumming rides off your neighbors is not a neighborly thing to do, and you shouldn't do that. Neighbors ought to help each other out, we're not your Dad.
Now, if you live in a community with other people and you all rideshare (and share in the effort and cost of maintaining however many vehicles that requires), then I would say you have a vehicle. Whether it is parked in your garage or someone else's is just logistics.
I see a few people hinting at the idea that you can live in a place and not have a vehicle because you can just beg rides from other people. I'm not sure anyone has come out and gone so far as to suggest doing that, but...no. Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy.
The "Chicken Chick" is talking out of her cloaca. Got the help of a "scientist" for a major international corporate feed brand, huh? Riiight.
Our chickens have always been raised on pasture with a lot of volunteer oats. Except in deep winter we don't feed even half enough the amount of feed that the chickens require. This encourages them to forage in the pasture. We sell out of all our eggs all the time; our customers say they are better than any other eggs they can find. We've never lost a chicken to disease, egg-binding, or anything except predators.
If you confine your chickens and feed them on a diet exclusively made up of oats, I'm sure they would get sick. You would too.
You know what else makes your chickens sick? When their coop smells really bad and instead of cleaning it out (or just moving it, like we do) you sprinkle perfumed sawdust on it that you bought from the "Chicken Chick". Because hey, nothing keeps your chickens healthy like perfume on the shit you make them live in!
elle saganev is right, pigs only leave if you don't give them what they want. 16 by 32 is NOT enough space for 2 pigs, so they will try to get out. If you give them enough space and enough feed, water, and things to root around in, they will be happy and will stay there.
You might consider putting them in an area where you don't need to fence every side. We have found that 10 foot thick blackberry thickets make excellent "pig fence".
Generally speaking, the more room you give them the less they are going to try to leave that area. It is, in fact, somewhat difficult to get pigs to move to a new spot if you're trying to rotate them and they are happy where they are.
We use a Speedright 6000 charged with a deep cycle battery. It can power several acres of polywire. We swap out the battery every 2 to 3 days.
Once the pigs are trained to electric this is far more than you really need, and in the summer we just use a solar charger on adult pigs and have never had them really test it. You do need a good charger when training them to fence. Ideally you would borrow a heavy-duty charger from a friend, train the piglets on that, and then swap over to a solar charger for the rest of the time.
Pigs that are trained to the electric and happy inside it will stay there.
If you live in the United States and your name is not Dick Proenneke, then no, there is no possible way you can live in a rural area without a car or truck.
You could certainly live in a small town, and ride a bike and get rides from friends and friendly strangers, but since the Federal government gave a gigantic subsidy to the petroleum and automobile industry by building the interstate highway system with tax dollars, "rural living" has become impossible without a vehicle.
Some things to consider:
If you have to get to town, how far can you bicycle or walk in 100 degree heat? How about if it is hailing or sleeting? Ice on the roads? Again, no, you have to have a vehicle unless you are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in bushcraft, which you indicate you are not.
You can get a cheap vehicle, that runs, for $1000. Anyone should be able to figure out a way to make $1000 to scrounge up a vehicle.
Electric cars use rare earth elements which are in very limited supply and are mined using tremendously environmentally destructive open pit mining. You're destroying habitat and contributing to hugely elevated levels of disease among workers who work in appalling conditions. Far better to get a gas-powered vehicle with a working catalytic converter and just DRIVE LESS.
Our sheep are on pasture 24x7. We have perimeter fence and use electric to rotational graze.
I want to build a corral so I can worm them (give them a dewormer*).
Ideally, this would be a mobile arrangement so I can move it to the sheep instead of bringing them to the corral.
Materials cost should be in tens or low hundreds of dollars, not thousands. No tractor (can't always get a truck or tractor into the field because of wet conditions.)
Any ideas? Anybody doing this? I can come up with something using cattle panels and T posts, but it's going to be annoying to put in and remove and I'm no Temple Grandin, so I don't know if the sheep will mosey inside to the enticing alfalfa, or run away. Anyone have a proven design?
* Yes yes I know pasture management blah blah. We're using the sheep to manage the pasture, we need to responsibly deworm the sheep until such time as the pasture isn't a petri dish for pole worms and liver fluke.
Unless raised in confinement it's really impossible to get any kind of exact measure of ration efficiency, so if someone is claiming they can measure percentage changes in FCR I would say that person doesn't know what they are talking about.
You can, however, look around the feeder and eyeball how much food is wasted. WETTING the feed certainly seems to save a lot of waste for us. Does some of the wet feed ferment? Probably. Are there benefits from fermented grain? Theoretically.
Let's posit, theoretically, a gradient of feed efficiency. Theoretically, fermented feed is more bioavailable. Empirically, rotten feed is less nutritious. Empirically, wet unfermented feed gets wasted less.
If your grain is free, maybe you try to achieve a perfect stage of fermentation. If you're trying to save money, maybe you just wet it for a day or so, hope that some of it ferments, and feed it before it grows rot.
Number one priority is to only look in places where you have a ready-made support network.
This could be family, friends, a church you would attend, a social group, a local nonprofit in which you would be involved. Something local, physical, with people who will come out to your homestead and help you when you desperately need extra manpower.
There is absolutely no chance that you are doing this on your own with your budget. People first, plant later.
We get a raw milk share from a local farming family. Ownership changed recently and the new owners are getting the milk tested regularly, which is nice I suppose but we never had any problems. We've been drinking raw milk pretty much exclusively for a couple years now. I've helped with the milking. The milk comes out of the cow into the bucket, goes through a strainer and directly into jars which go into ice chests.
People who think that factory-produced animal products are safer than what you get from a local farmer you can drop by and visit any time you want, and who feeds the same food to their own family - those people are victims of a well-funded lie.
Katie Green wrote:We allow the blackberries to do their own thing on steep banks. They're holding the soil in place and provide delicious berries every August.
That said, we did clear some from pastures and structures. Our main method was goats. They like the leaves and growing tips. Once the canes were stripped we would cut them down and then run the goats through spring and fall to eat new growth.
Pigs, apparently, will root them up and eat them. I'm not sure if I would run them by a river though.
Nope, pigs will not eat them. Blackberry thickets make great pig fence.
If YOU chop and drop the canes, then pigs will happily root up what's left. But they won't go through standing canes (although they might use them as back-scratchers.)
And yes, please don't run hogs in a riparian zone, especially not one you share with other people.
It sounds like the blackberries are the only thing keeping this unstable river bank from washing away. If that is the case they should be left alone. They won't grow in the shade of the trees anyways so they are unlikely to spread if there are all the trees there that OP described. In fact the best way to get rid of blackberries permanently may be to encourage trees to shade them out. Takes a while, of course.