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Adventures with hogs

 
Amos Burkey
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Location: Nebraska
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Three guinea hog sows have been added to the farm last weekend. They had been living in a confinement building with concrete floors and eating mostly grain. They are starting to get used to their new home and grazing pretty well. Two of them have been bred with a young berkshire boar and due in August. They other one has recently weened a litter. We have some pasture that they are paddock grazing and right now we are feeding some fermented wheat in the evenings. I have not had any hogs since I was about a 5th or 6th grader and I have never grazed them or farrowed them out. This should be an adventure for sure!
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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All three getting a treat (fermented wheat)!


 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I have been working on drawing up the paddocks. It deffinitely easier to try different configurations digitally before settling on the initial design.

I started with a google earth picture of my place. Right now I am using sketchup to set up the paddocks and get the dimensions. To get the scale of sketchup to match the map image, I rescaled the the map image until the scale on the map matched the measurement in sketchup. Well, at least it is close, lol. This was the easiest way I have found so far.

Sketchup makes it so much easier. My property is a funky shape with a creek through the middle. It has been a challenge so far. I will post it for feedback when I get it ready.
 
ariel greenwood
Posts: 33
Location: piedmont north carolina
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are you importing a Google earth screen shot into Sketchup or can you somehow sync the two?
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I just used a screenshot. Then I saved it and as a JPG. And then imported it into SketchUp. There's probably a fancier way to do it, but this ones the easiest way that I could figure out. I am still pretty green with SketchUp.
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I opened up the next paddock last weekend, but one of them would not cross the line where the electric fence was. They have had access to both this week and I have been out of town, too. I am planning to get them moved in this weekend. I am also adding some visibilty markers on the fence to help the pigs, dogs, and humans see the fence easier. Since pigs have dichromatic vision, I would like to use red markers to contrast against the green of the grass.

We received about 2 inches of rain in the last 10 days which was great. That should keep the pasture growing.

Last night I was able to get all three to follow me into paddock 2 to get a fermented wheat snack.
A few pics...


 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I have started worming the three ladies. I am adding garlic to the fermented wheat. I have been increasing the amount of garlic each day to get the pigs accustomed to it. They have not seemed to notice though. Basically, they pig out normally.
 
Jennifer Quinn
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Any updates on your pigs?
 
Amos Burkey
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Location: Nebraska
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Some updates are coming. Thanks for asking. My to do list and work has been occupying most of my time lately. I should have a few updates with pictures in a couple days.
Stay tuned......
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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The girls seem to really like certain weeds. They were scouting out their new paddock and discovered these. The weeds didn't last long.

Eating weeds....


 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I made a quick shade for the girls. Some of the paddocks do not have any shade. I used 4 pieces of 3/4" emt and 4 pieces of 1/2" emt. The 3/4" was used for the verticle pieces and the top horizontal. Everything was welded together and covered with a bit of ag tarp that I had laying around. I use a few rebar stakes to secure it in the paddock. I plan to add a second layer of ag tarp to it with some insulation (straw) in between for the colder months.

Molly inspecting the hog house.


A view from the bottom
 
Tim Wells
Posts: 119
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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Your pigs look really fat! What are you feeding them ?
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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Tim Wells wrote:Your pigs look really fat! ....

They are. I think their body mass composition is getting better though.

Tim Wells wrote: ... What are you feeding them ?

Right now they are getting mostly pasture with some garden scraps (melon, tomatoe, lettuce, etc). They also get a small amount of fermented wheat, approximately 3 cups per hog per day.

They have become leaner and stronger over the last two months. At their previous residence, they were eating a commercial hog ration and living in a confinement operation. The hog confinement lifestyle really fattened them up. They weren't getting what they needed to be healthy, so the previous caretaker wanted to get them to greener pastures. That is how I came across them.
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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The current paddock has a crab apple tree in it. I picked one apple for myself and one for the pig that was near me. She looked hungry. I think she liked it and began sniffing around for another. She then noticed all the apples in the tree and found a branch that was low enough to reach. She then picked the low hanging fruit. It was pretty fun to watch.

Low hanging fruit....
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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The girls received a fruit cocktail last night. A recent thunderstorm knocked some pears and apples from the trees. A gathered a few in a bucket and delivered them to the paddock. This dish seemed to be a hit.

 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I bought the three guinea sows thinking that they were bred. As the due date came closer, I began to question this. I have very little experience with pigs and the farrowing process so I had very little to go from. I did a little searching on the www and low and behold, Walter came through for me. Thanks Walter for sharing so much information. This post from Walter cleared things up pretty quickly. They are not bred and I guess its time to start looking for a boar. One of my neighbors offered to AI them. I have not had any luck finding AGH semen though. And the adventure continues on....
 
Kevin MacBearach
Posts: 213
Location: Beavercreek, Oregon
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Does adding garlic to their food help get rid of worms?
 
Amos Burkey
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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Many people have found that garlic, amoung other natural ingredients, helps to keep your animals healthy. Here's a few articles and other producers' experiences with natural dewormers:
Pigs and garlic
Natural dewormer for pigs
Study-- sheep and organic dewormers (including garlic)
 
Kimmi Woodmansee
Posts: 7
Location: Loveland, CO - zone 5
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Any update on the pigs? were you able to breed them? where do you live in NE. I live in Loveland, CO and we are looking to buy a breeding pair of Guinea hogs. You have any for sale?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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