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Pigs and sheep as pets/land stewards?

 
Posts: 14
Location: Southern illinois
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Hello I'm just checking all avenues for land clearing/maintenance pals. We dont eat meat but not against raising animals for work around the property. What breed of pigs do good in forest and dont get over 200-300 lbs and live a long time? Was thinking maybe 10 maximum. And what breed of sheep do well for grazing and live long? Thinking maybe 10 sheep as well. Like I said were just trying to put together a good solid dependable workforce to assist maintaining our 27 acres. We have lots of sloping land and hardly any really flat spots. Hints the reason for the workforce. Not very fun Bushhogging 20% grade regularly, when the sheep would love to have at it and the only overhead would be keeping drinking water around for them instead of fuel for the tractor and my time. I got better things to do then mow grass but that's what they live for Haha. So seems like a win-win to me. And if I'm wanting to keep 10pigs and 10 sheep what would the upkeep entail for this size of a team? Do I need any vaccines for them? Hygiene upkeep? I assume during summer it's easy breezy as long as you have water for sheep to drink, but winter grazing I would assume ends and then what do they need to eat? And pigs forest foraging, would they need any supplemental food in winter? And the team is gonna need protection from our native mountain lions and coyotes, so I was thinking either a great pyrenees or maybe a few donkeys. Any issues between pigs,sheep,donkeys,great pyrenees being around each other becides the initial dog training? Sorry for all the questions at random, I just typed them as they came to mind while typing this up.

Thanks mike
 
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10 pigs is a whole lot. What fencing do you have around your acreage? What fencing are you planning to use to keep these animals in? If you just let them loose they'll graze the same area until it's flat. They don't wander around willy nilly in my experience. My pigs graze the sainfoin for months and it's only 4 acres. They don't even wander to other parts until the sainfoin is done. So you'll need to fence them into specific areas you want them to handle and then move them or they aren't going to do what you want them to do, mow everything down.

My pigs hate my pyr and my pyr is scared of my pigs. I have American Guinea Hogs. I've found it depends on what line you get them from as to the size. Our boar is 350lbs but we got some girls from a different place that were around 180 full grown. Just small. I know Ballerina Farm in Utah uses a donkey for her mountain pigs. We have a big ol' boar and nothing has ever tried to attack him or the barn so we don't have a guard. You could say he is the guard. We've never had a pig that appreciated having a dog around and we did get them as babies. They know a predator when they see one and they bite them. That's why our pyr is so scared, he's been bit.

You're going to have to worm your pigs. I'm the laziest pig owner there could possibly be but you have to care for them. Spring-fall I let them out to roam our 40 acres. We don't have a fence that will keep our pigs in but we also don't have anything around for them to wander off and eat. When they do start roaming off the property it's late fall and it's my indicator that they must now be locked up and fed. I feed all winter. I have a pond that I keep full of water all spring-fall. In the winter I have rubber dishes I use because they're easy to break ice out of. I have water in the barn that I can't use when the temp is below 20. Then I bring gallons of water out from the house twice a day for them. They have a warm barn that they choose to go into year round. I also have a little pig house inside the barn for cold winter nights which has bedding in it. They do go in there when it's cold. If it's not cold they don't. Pigs are smart, they know how to care for themselves but they must be given the proper resources to do so. I personally couldn't see just releasing them into the forest with nothing. Mine walk home every single night to go to bed in the barn. There are a few occasions when someone knocked the gate closed and the pigs broke through the fence to get into the barn. I can't see them happily sleeping out in the open no matter what time of year it is.

10 pigs will cost a lot to feed during the winter. I had 15 last winter and I was spending at least 5-600 a month in feed. Plus I had to bring out absolute buckets of water. It can be a lot. I suppose you could butcher all the hogs in the fall every year and sell them. Then you have no winter feed needs.



I know nothing about sheep but imagine most of the same would apply.
 
michael rowald
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elle sagenev wrote:10 pigs is a whole lot. What fencing do you have around your acreage? What fencing are you planning to use to keep these animals in? If you just let them loose they'll graze the same area until it's flat. They don't wander around willy nilly in my experience. My pigs graze the sainfoin for months and it's only 4 acres. They don't even wander to other parts until the sainfoin is done. So you'll need to fence them into specific areas you want them to handle and then move them or they aren't going to do what you want them to do, mow everything down.

My pigs hate my pyr and my pyr is scared of my pigs. I have American Guinea Hogs. I've found it depends on what line you get them from as to the size. Our boar is 350lbs but we got some girls from a different place that were around 180 full grown. Just small. I know Ballerina Farm in Utah uses a donkey for her mountain pigs. We have a big ol' boar and nothing has ever tried to attack him or the barn so we don't have a guard. You could say he is the guard. We've never had a pig that appreciated having a dog around and we did get them as babies. They know a predator when they see one and they bite them. That's why our pyr is so scared, he's been bit.

You're going to have to worm your pigs. I'm the laziest pig owner there could possibly be but you have to care for them. Spring-fall I let them out to roam our 40 acres. We don't have a fence that will keep our pigs in but we also don't have anything around for them to wander off and eat. When they do start roaming off the property it's late fall and it's my indicator that they must now be locked up and fed. I feed all winter. I have a pond that I keep full of water all spring-fall. In the winter I have rubber dishes I use because they're easy to break ice out of. I have water in the barn that I can't use when the temp is below 20. Then I bring gallons of water out from the house twice a day for them. They have a warm barn that they choose to go into year round. I also have a little pig house inside the barn for cold winter nights which has bedding in it. They do go in there when it's cold. If it's not cold they don't. Pigs are smart, they know how to care for themselves but they must be given the proper resources to do so. I personally couldn't see just releasing them into the forest with nothing. Mine walk home every single night to go to bed in the barn. There are a few occasions when someone knocked the gate closed and the pigs broke through the fence to get into the barn. I can't see them happily sleeping out in the open no matter what time of year it is.

10 pigs will cost a lot to feed during the winter. I had 15 last winter and I was spending at least 5-600 a month in feed. Plus I had to bring out absolute buckets of water. It can be a lot. I suppose you could butcher all the hogs in the fall every year and sell them. Then you have no winter feed needs.



I know nothing about sheep but imagine most of the same would apply.

well I was thinking we would start out with 4 bcuz I know they like to socialize. And once we see how that goes maybe get more, but 10 would be the max if we liked how they work the ground. But since you mentioned the boar being pretty self sufficient predator wise, would having four boars together cause issues?

what kind of predator pressure do you have?

Right now we dont have any fencing but plan to eventually fence off all the areas we plan to keep the animals in. Was thinking barb wire fence 3 or 4 strands. And sectioning the areas off to rotate them around so the ground doesn't get too abused, maybe 8 separate 1.5 acre paddocks and maybe a 2 acre central spot with shelter and a swimming/drinking hole. That's all the area we decided we could dedicate to an animal workforce. We have some areas we would like to have them abuse pretty bad so we could go from young nappy forest back to pasture for a berry orchard.(help with all the roots for some minor earth works)

How much does deworming the pigs cost?

I assume it would be the same for sheep?

Annually needed? Since I'm planning to keep them around for their lifespan.

what do you feed your pigs in the winter to cost so much? I dont know anything about them but that just seems kinda high for 15 pigs/month....

But since I'm not trying to fatten them up for the kill couldn't they lean up during the winter to offset some feed cost and fatten back up with the following summers growth. We have alot of pignut hickory trees, acorn bearing oaks, walnuts, paw-paws, persimmon, pin cherry's, and maybe other food bearing trees they can munch on, as well as whatever grasses and roots they dig up. Obviously these will only last so long into winter.

so what else can you feed pigs?

I assume a blend of corn and some other grains?

Would they eat hay?

We also will have birds around for pest control so eggs can be fed to them as well. Berry canes that get pruned during winter could be fed to them as well if they would eat it, but if they are hungry they'll eat it.

Any other feed options that are cheap for the winter?

How much is the average amount of food needed per pig a day?

Remember, I'm not trying  to fatten them up for the kill, just kept healthy enough to make it threw winter for another year of work. Basically a animal sanctuary but they have to work for that said sanctuary.

Thanks mike
 
elle sagenev
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Pigs will eat hay but they would rather sleep in it so you can't just give them hay and think they'll be fine.

I was going through about 40lbs of food per day in the depths of winter. They require more food in the winter as their metabolism is part of what keeps them warm. I was also buying hay. I do think part of that figure is dog food, as we buy it all at once. Still, it was a lot.

Our predators are mostly small though we have coyotes, I've seen a bobcat and there was a cougar killing horses when the mountains were on fire. Badgers are also an issue and raccoons. A lot of those smaller ones really aren't a risk to a full grown boar. It's not that a boar can't be taken down if a predator were hungry enough, he's just a bigger issue for most predators. They go for the easy pickings first I'd imagine and we have enough rabbits and the like around they don't really need to attempt to eat the boar.

I haven't found my pigs to be super useful in preparing ground. I think you'd have to lock them in a small area for some time for them to do what you want them to do. They'll dig around here and there but I tried to get them to till my garden and it wasn't very satisfactory.

deworming is cheap. I do it every 6 months. I have 1 bottle of dewormer and I might have to buy another one eventually. Just bought it at the feed store.

I cannot see my pigs eating berry canes. They'd eat your leg off when you deliver them before they would eat them is my prediction. You have to keep in mind these are pigs. They will happily eat you. A hungry pig is an uncontrollable pig. You hear the stories of pigs being impossible to pen or eating other animals, those are hungry pigs. My pigs aren't hungry. My kids are in there with them. I did way over feed the very first year I had pigs and my boar was so fat he could barely stand. I don't do that anymore. I just gauge how much to feed based on how they look. If they're getting too fat I feed less, skinny I feed more. It's not an exact science for me.

I kill all the mean ones too. If you've got a boar with tusks you're petting you don't want him to have an attitude problem. Even still I am aware that he could turn his head and accidentally stab me with his tusks. Pigs are nice. I love them. Super happy to have them but they're big, strong animals and I don't want you to get hurt.

I don't know if barbed wire would work to keep them in. They have thick skin. We have this very short, weird stretch of fence that is barbed wire for some reason and they don't have an issue with it. I see the little cuts on them but they don't seem to notice and they plow through it. I think this will be particularly true if you aren't feeding them. They will find food when they are hungry and a fence won't stop them.
 
michael rowald
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elle sagenev wrote:
"I was going through about 40lbs of food per day in the depths of winter. They require more food in the winter as their metabolism is part of what keeps them warm."

I haven't found my pigs to be super useful in preparing ground. I think you'd have to lock them in a small area for some time for them to do what you want them to do. They'll dig around here and there but I tried to get them to till my garden and it wasn't very satisfactory.

I think you may be feeding your pigs too much and "spoiling" them to the feed instead of your land, if you want them to till for you anyway. But like I said I've never raised pigs. but it only makes sense that if you want them to root around and "till" they have to be hungry which means 40lbs of feed a day and they ain't gonna dig for it when they know you'll give it to them, no work involved. But you also are trying to fatten them up for the kill, I assume, so that means feed them. And when you said 40lbs per day, how many pigs is that for?  

How do wild hogs make it threw winters? I'm pretty sure there is an area about 3hours away from me that has wild hogs and their winter weather is the same as ours, so how can they make it on zero human help and you say you have to feed 40lbs a day. I just dont under stand it lol. Maybe I need to go pignap some wild ones.
 
elle sagenev
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I live in Wyoming. We don't have wild hogs here for a reason. I feed nothing spring-fall, they still don't till to my human specifications.

Wild hogs aren't constrained. You want to keep your pigs in a certain area you'll need to feed them. Like I said, a hungry pig will be hard to keep contained.

Best of luck to you.
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