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salt and mineral feeder for hogs

 
ben harpo
Posts: 76
Location: Illinois, zone 6b
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Is it better to mix salt and mineral with pastured hog rations, or offer salt and mineral free choice?

If mixed how can you tell when they have too much or not enough?

If free choice, how do you build a mineral feeder cheaply that hogs and rain will not destroy?
 
chad stamps
Posts: 46
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ben harpo wrote:Is it better to mix salt and mineral with pastured hog rations, or offer salt and mineral free choice?

If mixed how can you tell when they have too much or not enough?

If free choice, how do you build a mineral feeder cheaply that hogs and rain will not destroy?


Over time, you would build this up through higher quality pasture. If you are feeding a premixed pig ration, it will have some mineral in it already.

Whey or other dairy will contribute to some of the things less likely to be found on pasture. Lysine is something they definitely need a source of and dairy products will have at least some of that.

If you were feeding mineral direct you'd have to portion it out somehow daily / weekly. There will be a lot of waste, but if it ends up in the soil that might not be 'waste' forever.
 
Steve Hoskins
Posts: 65
Location: NW lower Michigan
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So do you mineralize the pasture as well as the pigs, or are the pigs eating and then dropping the mineral exclusively?

I'm asking because our soils on Michigan's Leelanau peninsula are famously deficient. I'm happy to invest in minerals, but I'm unsure how to do it most effectively.

Azomite? Kelp? Conventional mineral blocks? "Trophy buck" rocks?
 
S Haze
Posts: 227
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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duck forest garden trees woodworking
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More info on this topic would definitely be helpful, unfortunately I don't yet have any. Just got my pigs yesterday and I'll be using a pre-mix made by mid-western bio-ag in with the feed using the same proportions that have been used successfully by pasture hog farmers in my area.

Maybe next year I'll try some free-choice minerals. I've started doing it that way with the poultry and water fowl without any problems yet. The feeder used for the birds it made from 3" PVC pipe with a 'Y' fitting and a plug at the bottom. It might work for hogs if it's firmly anchored to something solid.
 
Paul Ewing
Posts: 127
Location: Boyd, Texas
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I would be very leery of giving pigs a mineral mix free choice. It is very easy for pigs to overdose on salt which is fatal to them.
 
Rebecca Beidler
Posts: 12
Location: Albany, VT
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Maybe next year I'll try some free-choice minerals. I've started doing it that way with the poultry and water fowl without any problems yet. The feeder used for the birds it made from 3" PVC pipe with a 'Y' fitting and a plug at the bottom. It might work for hogs if it's firmly anchored to something solid.

S Haze do you have a picture of the free choice mineral poultry feeder you created? I am interested in trying this with poultry, pigs and bovines. I have heard that free choice for cows is a great way to apply the appropriate minerals missing from your soil. Others that have tried it report high mineral cost in the beginning, but over a couple of years the mineral requirements decrease significantly as the soil mineral levels become balanced.
 
Darin Colville
Posts: 78
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Hey Ben the website ncat.attra.org has tons of organic and holistic info about pasture pork and lots of other critter stuff. I can almost smell the chops!
 
S Haze
Posts: 227
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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duck forest garden trees woodworking
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Here's a photo of the poultry feeder Rebecca Beidler. It could use a better roof but it's working well other than that and the fact that it looks kinda crappy. Sometime I'll attach it to one of my mobile coops.

I have heard that free choice for cows is a great way to apply the appropriate minerals missing from your soil. Others that have tried it report high mineral cost in the beginning, but over a couple of years the mineral requirements decrease significantly as the soil mineral levels become balanced.


I've read that this is true and it makes a lot of sense.

I would be very leery of giving pigs a mineral mix free choice. It is very easy for pigs to overdose on salt which is fatal to them.


Duly noted, if I try this I'll be very cautious and perhaps try to use supplements relatively low in salt, like uh... not just salt.
mineral feeder.jpg
[Thumbnail for mineral feeder.jpg]
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Be very careful of salt and pigs. Pigs have a low tolerance for salt and it can cause what is termed "Salt Sickness" or "Salt Poisoning" which can easily and rapidly kill them. Avoid the salt based mineral blocks and loose minerals. If you're buying commercial hog feed it should have the salts in it. If your mixing your own or just on pasture then get a soil test so you know what you're working with. Of prime interest is iron and selenium to start with. If you'r short then a mineral for pigs is best - do not use cattle, sheep, goat or horse mineral mixes or blocks. An organic option is kelp but do not free feed it as some vendors suggest as that can cause salt poisoning. Here is a source we get kelp from:

http://www.noamkelp.com

We're fortunate to have complete soil but our winter hay comes from fields down valley that are low in selenium so in the winter we dig up our soil to feed to the pigs or we feed kelp - both work. Mineral deficiency is fairly easy to spot. See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2012/03/24/mineral-deficiencies/

Low iron gives white gums and eye membranes.

-Walter
 
S Haze
Posts: 227
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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duck forest garden trees woodworking
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I see in Walter's link it describes curly hair as a sign of a mineral deficiency. Since my hogs have some mangalitza genetics I think they're supposed to have curly hair.
Right?
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Think of it as more a change than an absolute.
 
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