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first time getting pigs, pasturing questions

 
                
Posts: 8
Location: Driftless Region
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I have a few questions and a few different ideas on how to set up the pig pasture.
1. How do you place a grounding rod for a pasture that is going to move ever few days to weekly? We are putting them on pasture that will not always be pasture, so I don't want to sink a grounding rods that will always be there in case this becomes a hay field in a few years and needs to be driven on, or is that my only option.
2. We have a wooded area with lots of trees and briers and brush that we will eventually be clearing for oak Savannah restoration, would it be ridiculous to think that this could be the pigs permanent home (shelter, wallow) and to free range walk them out to the rotating pasture (shade awning and water, no wallow). My husband thinks that having them loose for the walk back and forth is asking for trouble, I think if they know there is grain waiting on either end that they will go directly to the pen.
3. If we have them in one pasture that rotates, do they NEED a wallow (yes? for "sun screen"?) and is that going to be a horrid mess making a new mud puddle ever several days? Could I just seed behind their rotation and not worry about open ground?
4. This is newly established pasture (seeded spring 2011) we are wondering if we want to leave the pigs on long enough to root up a bit of the soil or are we looking to move them following the 30% rule and not let them tear up the ground. There are no tubers buried in this ground, all they could get is grass/legume roots.
4.5. In the future we would like to have sun-chokes planted in the various areas where they would be pasture rotated to give them some tubers to forage for, is it a good idea to have them root in pasture, or should this be a separate non pasture area, more like a boundary between pasture and woods.
I know this is a lot of random questions, but its our first time raising pigs (six Berkshires) and we are hoping for healthy happy pigs, and want to do right by them. Thanks for your responses and thoughts. Cheers
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Julie BE wrote:1. How do you place a grounding rod for a pasture that is going to move ever few days to weekly? We are putting them on pasture that will not always be pasture, so I don't want to sink a grounding rods that will always be there in case this becomes a hay field in a few years and needs to be driven on, or is that my only option.


We setup fencing around the perimeter of the fields and then use step in posts and polywire to bring electricity to where we need for interior paddock fencing. See:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/tag/fencing/

Julie BE wrote:2. We have a wooded area with lots of trees and briers and brush that we will eventually be clearing for oak Savannah restoration, would it be ridiculous to think that this could be the pigs permanent home (shelter, wallow) and to free range walk them out to the rotating pasture (shade awning and water, no wallow). My husband thinks that having them loose for the walk back and forth is asking for trouble, I think if they know there is grain waiting on either end that they will go directly to the pen.


I would suggest homing in the center and do managed rotational grazing around that. A tic-tac-toe setup works well. See:

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+tic-tac-toe

Julie BE wrote:3. If we have them in one pasture that rotates, do they NEED a wallow (yes? for "sun screen"?) and is that going to be a horrid mess making a new mud puddle ever several days? Could I just seed behind their rotation and not worry about open ground?


Depends on the weather. In the hot summer they benefit from the wallow. A semi-permanent one can be at the center of the rotation.

Julie BE wrote:4. This is newly established pasture (seeded spring 2011) we are wondering if we want to leave the pigs on long enough to root up a bit of the soil or are we looking to move them following the 30% rule and not let them tear up the ground. There are no tubers buried in this ground, all they could get is grass/legume roots.


I would rotate them ahead of serious rooting. New pasture does tend to have more stuff down below that they'll want to get but after a few rotations things settle down. Mob seed behind. See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2011/10/03/rootless-in-vermont/

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2010/09/15/frost-seeding/

Have fun with your new pigs!

-Walter
 
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