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In pig advice sought

Posts: 120
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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Hi all,

Please consider my rambling overview for discussion:

We rescued a pet pig kune x pot bellied boar 1.5 yrs old late may.

He has joined our 1 year old male kune (not sexually active yet) and 5 sows.

1 pot bellied x kune looks ready to pop age 2yrs (due oct?).

2x 3rs kunes looking "in pig"

2 x 5yrs kunes not showing to my eye, though i know they have been serviced.

they are on 6 acres of mix pasture and woodland, sharing with 16 soay sheep.

The sheep have grazed the grass down to inches over this year as they keep finding ways to get over the fences i erect to split the paddocks up into shift system.

Last winter I confined the pigs to a 3 x tennis court paddock as 1 pig (now gone to sausages) was turning over the soil like crazy- a different breed that troughs more than the grazing habit of kunes.

They destroyed 75% of grass and where i fed them on the fence line and at bottom of slope it cappded and only 8 months later have the thistles started to re establish.
Else where on the paddock great as a result of troughing the grass, mullien (verbascum thapsus) has reappeared after 3/4 years of absence to my delight as its a great medicinal and looks great.

Otherwise the herbage is thistles and nettles on our very sandy valley with clay at bottom of slope and bog areas with common rush.

We have a small pond on the key line. 6 stock ponds at the lowest point and a small stream running the boundary. 4 mature oaks (acorns) and half the acreage is 20 year old mixed native trees planted 3 metres apart.

I fed pig mix during the winter, survival rations and was absent 3 out of 7 days so they went a bit hungry i suspect. They scratched a lot, were obv stressed, patches of rubbed off fur and they looked manky, suspected worms and they didnt have access to the pond so they had trough water only. I mixed garlic powder with the feed to combat worms; until mid spring when i let them forage the holding and stopped feeding the mix, just supplementing scraps. Their condition improved a lot, coat and colour came back, tails swishing, happy pigs. However they are looking a bit thin to me, ribs exposed a deep cavity where back muscle meedt upper thigh, and since they are in pig i am now adding mix to their forage.

I have 4 decent pig sheds. My thoughts are to separate the sows to pig in a shed each 1 big shed can get carved up, with some paddock and tree cover to forage and bring in ( they currently bed down like sardines in 1) and give the 2 males a small paddock. Reason is the male kune x pot bellied is turning the soil a bit now where i like to have paths through the woodland. I this i will split the 3 tennis court - sized paddock they were on last winter into 3 small paddocks. Keeping the males on one and 4 females on the other 2 as they have sheds on, with a gate out to the main forage woodland for the 4 females and lock the males down so he can trough that paddock up. I have another paddock fenced off other side of plot with some woodland that can house another sow to pig. So that will house the sows. Although 2x 2 sows will have sheds next door and have access to each others. Will that be a problem? The boars will be in paddock next door with stock fencing and barbed wire bottom line which has kept them in paddocks so far. The boar has stopped hassling the sows now he has them in pig. and they bed down with few hassles, the big 5 years sow gives him a beating sometimes when he gets cheeky. The sexually immature boy does take some sacrificial riding, poor boy.

The overall plan is to see if it's possible to expand the pig numbers without spending a fortune in feed and get self sufficient in pig meat and maybe sell some meat or a hog roast service or sell kune stock for breeding.

Any ideas and feedback would be great.

love and gratitude

Tim Wells
Posts: 120
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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I read on another thread that farrowing sows will fight if they have access and best practice is to separate sows entirely until weaned. Anyone can confirm?
Posts: 101
Location: Nebraska
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I am not a journeyman hog rancher, so here is a few links that may provide a bit of information for you. Walter's site contains a lot of good information.

As far as your pasture, I am not sure what information you are looking for. I would think that seeding specific plants into your pasture is a good idea. My pasture is heavily populated with a tall grass in the sunny areas. I am adding diversity to the mix after I move the pigs out of each paddock. I am adding a few varieties of clover and a non-gmo alfalfa. I am thinking of also adding a root plant (radish, etc) in as well. You will have to figure out what will work for you and the pigs. Conscious changes to the plant profile should allow you to add nutrition density. This allows greater animal density as well. Getting the balance of pigs and sheep to your pasture is the key. I have not begun to experiment with that yet. I have three sows on 9 acres of pasture plus 3 acres of reserve hay. I still need more animals .

Good luck on your journey.

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