If you have the right pasture plants, right rotational pasture set-up, the right breed of pig, the right bloodline of that breed, and the extra time, one could finish a pig. But it wouldn't necessarily be fat. It would be finished ready for slaughter. It takes a lot longer for a pig to go from birth the slaughter when fed this way.
I've raised some of my own pigs on pasture, but also fed them cooked garden products, foraged foods, and kitchen waste. The perennials in their diet included coconuts, mangos, bananas, pineapples, guavas, breadfruit, papayas, sweet potatoes, cholesterol spinach, chaya, pipinola. There may be more but they don't come to mind at the moment.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
People used to plant mulberries, persimmons, and apples to feed pigs. The mulberries would feed them in summer and then transition into the other fruits. Acorns and possibly chestnuts would work for fall feed too, I imagine. I haven't done it myself though. I wonder about siberian pea shrub and honeylocust pods as well
When you reach your lowest point, you are open to the greatest change.
Location: Appalachian Foothills-Zone 7
posted 1 year ago
I've pretty much decided I'm not going to let my yearly pig forage for the forseable future. We do have chestnuts, hazelnuts, mulberries, and persimmons planted, but none other than the mulberries and hazelnuts are producing at the moment. I'd rather reserve my grass for my sheep that can use it more efficiently. Right now, the pig gets all the kitchen scraps, which can be significant at times, but probably doesn't amount to much.
It might be an interesting goal for someone with enough land, especially if it already has a nice stand of mast producing oaks, hickories, beeches, etc.
We used to fatten pigs on potatoes. Back then we grew a few hundred acres, and would keep water boiling in a 55 gallon drum and boil the undesirable potatoes that could not be sold (over or undersized) and fatten the pigs with them. They got really fat fast on all that starch.
I used to stuff the corn silage to my sheep to get them fat, but I had Montadales at the time, and they would go over the weight limit. I got a nasty letter from the woman who was buying my sheep because the extra slaughter charge was really cutting into her profits.
Whether sheep or pigs, both would do well on potatoes, and I went so far as the ask my Extension about it, but they would not even answer my question. I thought it would be a great test, to see if the pounds of feed per acre for potatoes worked out well to weight on the hoof. I think it would, but that is just a guess. I never did test my thoughts on it.
I present the idea here in case anyone wants to try it.
Travis Johnson wrote:We used to fatten pigs on potatoes.
You didn't find any problems with this? we have lots of spare potatoes of our own (4-600lb ish) and access to unlimited amounts free, but I keep hearing horror stories about pigs and potatoes. and that you can only use them as 20% of the diet max. I would love to be able to use them for something usefull, at the moment they are compost which really annoys me.
Yes I have. On pasture. I have a variety of plants. Sainfoin, alfalfa, clovers, grasses, random other things. I don't feed them anything but a few table scraps during the green months and they're clearly not missing any meals.