We raise Ossabaw Island pigs specifically because they are only a handful of generations away from the wild pigs still on Ossabaw Island, and they still have genetics and behaviors that are more 'piggy' than other domesticated breeds - this allows them to interact with their environment the way a pig is supposed to rather than the way we've bred them to.
This is a short video tour of one of our pastures after they have been on it for 2 weeks, and a discussion of why and how we are planning our rotations. You can see the areas they hit very hard that are ready for reseeding with better forage, and the areas where they created 'intermediate disturbance'. This is less about care of pigs than it is about care of land, so I opted to post it here instead of in the pig section. The youtube page has a few notes about the video as well.
Very informative, thank you. I hope to raise hogs someday, and this type of thing helps greatly. To be able to see exactly what to expect, and even the little things like, "Oh, on a pallet, great idea." Very helpful for a beginner like myself. Thanks
You mentioned oak savannah; where are you?
"...he is the greatest patriot who stops the most gullies." - Patrick Henry
posted 5 years ago
Noel Deering wrote:Very informative, thank you. I hope to raise hogs someday, and this type of thing helps greatly. To be able to see exactly what to expect, and even the little things like, "Oh, on a pallet, great idea." Very helpful for a beginner like myself. Thanks
You mentioned oak savannah; where are you?
US midwest - we're in southern Iowa specifically. I have a lot to learn before I can restore landscape to that level, but I'm finally feeling like I'm on track to make real progress.
If you are interested in raising pigs and are on facebook, check out the group 'pastured pigs' - it's a group I started to educate and promote raising pigs this way. Lots of great information there.
I raise red wattles in Southern Oregon and we use management intensive grazing techniques that have become essential to our system on the farm. We use movable electric fencing to provide new pasture to root up every day and feed locally sourced hazelnuts to our finishing stock. Managing pigs is a lot like dating a dozen women — if they all have their needs met they're happy, if not, they'll let you know about it.
In the summer we have a harder time keeping them comfortable than in the winter. I spent all day today essentially irrigating the pigs with a six foot tall sprinkler to keep them cool and moisten the soil so they can root it up uniformly. I usually back fence the wallows that they make after a day or so. I've also been using a tarp shelter set up with four T-posts to give them shade when we're not around any trees.
I keep a blog for the farm. If you're interested in seeing our set up take a gander.
Nice looking paddock! I would recommend that you nail a piece of plywood to the top of the pallet. Otherwise the pigs will catch their legs between the slats and wrench their legs or worse. Especially when they are smaller. I use a barrel with two water nipples on top of a pallet. That way the piglets can get on the platform and reach one side while the adults side is higher (relatively speaking anyways). Everyone's happy.
I am raising a few of the Ossabaws and I am not especially enamored of them. I will check out your video when I have more time, but I have some off hand questions:
How long does it take you to finish them out? Do you use commercial feed? Do you get bacon from them? How do they handle the cold weather?
The main trouble with mine is that they are escape artists. 2 of them blew through my polywire fence repeatedly, but I have them in some poultry net and that is working well. They are also gaining at a far slower rate than either my Large Blacks or my Tamworths.
Edit after watching:
Looks nice and green out where you are, my favorite color to see. I have family in Iowa and I have always enjoyed visiting there. We have different tolerance for disturbed soil and that's fine. My thought is that you can't use pigs to replicate the Oak Savanna system because there weren't any pigs at that time. Rooting by pigs allows establishment of annuals which I am trying to avoid - for me it is too disruptive of the soil. I think we are both coming at pasturing pigs from the same place - making the land better, which is unfortunately rare.
I am jealous of your pig waterer - is that some type of specialty commercial waterer? I have tried a few things and am now using a 60 gallon stock tank which isn't so great.
Power corrupts. Absolute power xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is kinda neat.