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Does it make sense for me to try pigs (new to bigger critters)?

 
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Hello all. I have a few acres in the mountainous Appalachians. The land is sloped, covered with black bear/coyote, and has little forage.

Everyone I have ever met that has done pigs has tons of forage and flat land. There isn't much to eat at all in the natural environment; it's just pine trees for the most part.

I assume I would require about an acre of single strain electric fencing at minimum, plus I would have to supply close to 100 percent of the food.

Is attempting a few pigs in this situation a losing battle?

Thank you.
 
Posts: 61
Location: East Tennessee
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forest garden hunting woodworking
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We used to raise one or two hogs every year when I was younger, we kept them in a small enclosure; no larger than 100 foot by 100 foot. Hogs can and will get out of everything. Smaller is better with pig pens, the durocks we raised were mean and meanness translates to the flavor. We raised some of the hampshires(?) and a peaceful happier breed I've never seen. Best tasting hogs. We used to let the hampshires out to graze the yard.

Do you have Chickens? They are the best homestead livestock.

 
pollinator
Posts: 342
Location: East tn
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Do you have nut trees? Pigs love acorns, hickories, black walnuts.

Sepp recommends pigs for soil improvement. On a steep slope, you dont have many other safe options.

You could take down some pines, leaving stumps 3 or 4 ft high and placing the cut logs (tops) against them to catch (needles, leaves, topsoil) runoff. Cheap start to terracing.

Plant radish, onion, potatoes between terraces where sufficient sunlight will come through and then (later) let the pigs dig em up and eat em. Some electronet fencing could be moved around to focus the pig(s) on one area at a time. This would add manure to each area and supply forage.

Just an option to consider if you really want pigs and want to develop terraces with soil at same time.
 
gardener
Posts: 3521
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Ryan;
I would suggest starting small. No more than 3 pigs. No breeding, just wiener to slaughter .
Expect to feed them apx 800-1000#  of feed per pig. Supplement with garden waste and apples / fruit.  No processed meat products if you want tasty pigs.

As Ben brought up, pigs are accidental escape artists. They don't dig out like a dog would do. They root... rite along the fence line. Easy to dig deep with a nose like a shovel!
Suddenly !!! their rooting hole is on the other side of your fence!!! Imagine that ! And look all this green grass! After one finds a way out the other two will follow.
Here is how I stopped that.  Used metal roofing! Laid horizontal ,buried 1/3 to 1/2 deep. Or as much as the ground permits.  As the pig roots down he may reach the end of the metal but all that is there is a dirt wall! No grass in sight!  It works very very well!   It is easy to install if you happen to have a digging machine around...

I've been raising pigs to slaughter for at least 15 years now.  
I have a smaller area, maybe 120' x 80'.I have it broken into 5 different paddocks. ,.
Their home area has the barn ,running water and the grain feeder.
The other 4 areas are planted with various greens.  After they till one I move them to the second and replant the previous one.


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master pollinator
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Location: southern Illinois.
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Around here feeder pigs are around 50 each. Buy a couple and go for it.  When fencing, remember pigs don't jump.  When there get larger, they may climb on the fence.  But, if you butcher  them out in December, this shouldn't be a problem.  For your first couple of years. I suggest you do not keep them over winter.  Also, avoid looking to breed them until you get lots more experience.  I suspect this site is full of people who have seen someone have success with  2 pigs and then try to raise 200.  Those who I have seen do this have ended in a major disaster.
 
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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.
 
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