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Anyboby providing near 100% of their animals diets via their own land?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 75
Location: Montreal, QC mostly. Developing in Southern New Brunswick, Canada.
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Hi All,

I don't have pigs, and will be posting this same question regarding birds too, but I'm curious who has been able to completely or nearly cut outside feed sources for their animals in favour of homegrown/foraged and how they're doing it.

I'm particularly interested in terms of those who need to overwinter animals indoors for long-ish periods. I would like to eventually invest in some small livestock, with the hope I could eventually feed them off my land solely...but its all hypothetical for me at this point. I'm in NB, Canada, so its of particular interest to know how folks are doing it when forage/grazing is not available part of the year. The most common sources of winter feed seem to be things that are mostly grown in vast monocultures. Grains and Hay come to mind for various different creatures. Is anyone growing enough of these staples to overwinter their animals? If so are you doing it via some sort of polyculture? If yes what kind of harvesting methods are used? Maybe you're still purchasing or bartering for feed, but you're getting it from a permie neighbor specializing in such things..if so, what are their growing practices?

I'm sure you all see what I'm getting at.

Thanks!
j

 
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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Nowhere close to being able to do this, but wanted to share they'll eat the immature fruit from fruit trees with relish, I've given mine the wormy apples, crowded pears, etc. by the bucketful. In fall they can eat chestnuts, acorns, hickories, walnuts, etc. They root up earthworms and grubs as well as roots and tubers in the pasture and happily eat any animals that die, also guts from animals butchered. They also really like moldy hay. As in they go nuts for it and do a happy dance when you give it to them.

Small pigs like pot belly pigs eat a lot less than the full-sized ones for overwintering if you want to keep a breeding pair/trio.

If you read Foxfire, they used to just turn the pigs loose to fend for themselves then find them in the fall for "harvest". I guess with the wild hog problems now that's not PC at all, tho.
 
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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We produce nearly 100% of our livestocks needs. We are capable of doing 100% but there are some free resources that we avail ourselves of when appropriate. We do buy in winter hay but we would produce our own. I would rather buy it in because that imports those nutrients to our soil and it is a time savings as well as meaning we can graze pastures that would otherwise be reserved for hay. If we produced our winter hay I would either cut the number of pigs down to 300 or expand hay fields.

Like wise we can and have produced our own food for years but we enjoy the luxuries of chocolate, bananas and such that we can't grow here in the mountains of northern Vermont. Winter is a wee bit too long.

Its good to be able to do it, but don't be fanatical.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/
 
pollinator
Posts: 1280
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I'm reviving this thread because it would be interesting to see if things have changed in five years. I know that on my own farm it surely has. Five years ago I bought pig chow and supplemented it with some veggies and fruits. Now it is just the opposite. I grow or forage almost all the food necessary for the pigs, and supplement that with goodies that I get for free. So in those five years I went from supporting the commercial system to breaking away from it.

Has anyone else moved away from using primarily commercial feed to using foraged, free, or farm produced items?
 
Posts: 28
Location: Limpopo, South Africa. Sub-tropical, summer rainfall, 1200m.
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Thanks for your update Su. I came across this thread because we are planning to raise domesticated wild boar and I want to try and feed them off the land. In my country all the corn-based animal feeds are GM based and I don't want to feed them that. Can I ask how many pigs you have and what it takes to feed them? What are you growing for them and on how much land?
I raw-feed my cats and dogs and would also like to raise pigs and chickens to feed them and feed the pigs and chickens from my land. I have 6 hectares.
 
Posts: 1496
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I do not feed from spring to fall at all.

We have sainfoin, alfalfa, sweet clover and various grasses that they eat. We have 40 acres but we only have about 10 planted out with anything. Also, we let them in our fenced yard to eat the commercial grass and they LOVE it!
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1280
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Joe, I raise anywhere from 1 to 5 piglets at a time. It all depends upon what the sow had and how many weaned piglets I sell to other homesteaders.

My piglets are raised on pasture and supplemented with Mom's Famous Slop & Glop, my own mixture of cooked swill. They also get a small amount of commercial feed that gets given to me (broken or returned bags from various stores that were otherwise heading to the dump). I'm not above utilizing waste stream items. Some may contain GM corn, but I'm not such a purist to avoid feeding a little to the piglets. The feed is free, and that's totally fine with me.

The young piglets start out in a small pen 16' by 16' so that I can watch them closely and tame them down. The pen is portable , made out of cattle panels, so I can move it to a new location if them eat or trample all the grass. When the piglets have learned to come to me when called for swill and allow me to brush their backs, I release them into a larger 150' by 150' pen. I have 3 of these pens and can rotate the piglets through them as needed to keep the grasses young and nutritious. These pastures are growing a variety of grasses and other plants. Over time I have removed any plants that they refuse to eat.

In addition to pasture, they are offered swill. Always well cooked. I cook everything except the little commercial feed I use. The reason for cooking is threefold. Cooking improves the flavor. Things they won't eat raw they will eat when cooked. Cooking improves digestibility, so they get more nutrition out of the foods. Most importantly, cooking prevents parasites and diseases. Since some of the foods are foraged or given to me as kitchen scraps and leftover food, I could introduce problems if the food wasn't cooked to kill the pathogens. Since the piglets do get meat scraps in the swill, boiling the meat tainted items is really important.

Pasture is available 24 hours a day. Mom's Famous Slop & Glop (a.k.a.- swill) is offered 2 to 3 times a day. I only give them what they will clean up at the meal so that the rest doesn't go bad, get moldy, or smell.

Most swill ingredients come right off the farm. Some is waste from my gardens. Blemished vegetables. Leaves from edible plants. Some ingredients are crops grown specifically to feed them. Pumpkins. Pipinolas. Sugar cane. Sweet potatoes. Bananas. Plus others. I also forage fruits that other landowners don't want, such as common mangoes, macadamia nuts, guavas, lilikoi, etc. I also get restaurant waste and kitchen waste, all of which MUST be cooked and handled in a way not to contaminate the rest of the feed,

My piglets are raised for home consumption only. I do not commercially sell the meat. I slaughter them any where from 45 lbs to 125 lbs in weight because that is the size I can handle.
 
Posts: 123
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I am in process of doing this.

I have been growing fodder trees which I use to feed worms,   when the worms are high enough I grow more fish,   more fish can be either eaten or turned into fertilizer.

My links about this...

https://www.pinterest.com/mart85yahoocom/leucaena-tree-fodder/?eq=fodder&etslf=4444


https://www.pinterest.com/mart85yahoocom/tree-hay/?eq=tree%20hay&etslf=6948


But animals need things you won't find on the farm like minerals / nutrition, if the soil does not have neither will your animals.

Mart

 
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Tree branches have a lot more minerals in them, also pigs love acorns research the nutrients in those ( acorns are not a good option for breeder stock ) they have a mild toxin in them wich in small dosages help with killing parasites but in large doses some animals , i am talking all mammals here  can suffer liver and kidney damage.

Also a side note as far as i know all female mammals benefit from higher protein intake just weeks before being bred. it increases the number of eggs released, so larger amount of offspring.. wich also means , in times you are not breeding your animals it can be feasible to slightly lower their rations.
 
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