kyle meinert wrote:Firstly, should i be concerned they just want acorns? Secondly, we have a little over a half acre fenced off with electric wire inside an out of a field fence. Will this be a sufficient area? Also is there some do not feed stuff for pigs? I am asking because living in the city i have access to tons of grocery store and bakery waste.
So I raise and finish pigs in the ozarks and we had a bumper crop year for nuts & acorns. My hogs prefered the forage to feed but they wound up taking longer to finish out so it seems that they still needed the calories to make weight. The general rule of thumb is that you need 4 pounds of feed for every pound of gain and I don't think that the acorns & nuts have much poundage once you take out the weight of the shell. If is a high quality fat and will give the meat a great flavor and it is NOT too soft ... perfect for the fork.
Anyway, once they finish the forage they'll be back to feed and "back on course" for the butcher. Regarding scraps, think of them as a vitamin to enrich the quality of their diet but the will need grain for the caloric part.
Kyle: I think the suggestion to subdivide your half acre is a good one. moving them often is going to be your best defense against pests, and your best hope of consistently having forage/ground cover, and keeping your land from becoming an over-nutrified, barren moonscape. And 2 pigs on 1/2 an acre (even if it is subdivided, and is littered with acorns right now) are definitely going to need some external feed brought in. There are plenty of people doing small numbers of pigs with little or no milled annual grains, but most of them have broad acreage, and/or whey from cheesemaking operations. I feed my pigs anything that humans would eat, but try to get it to them before it becomes stinky, just cause the pig's fat will carry a lot of the flavor characteristics of their foodstuffs. Also look up some of those 4H project pig charts you can download. It is helpful for telling you how much your pigs might be eating at each age of life. I think their chart says about 10 pounds of grain per day for a finishing hog. Keep in mind that grain is pretty calorie dense, and moisture free, and a lot of food scraps are the opposite. So if you're feeding them kale trimmings and carrot tops, you're going to need caseloads per day for 2 full size pigs.
On the breeds, if amount of meat is important, I would get one that grows to full size, forages well, and has a good fat cap (for flavor and insulation). If you can barn the piglets for the first few months, while its cold and while you train them on electric fence, then you could start them soon, in hopes of fattening them on next fall's acorn drop -Acorns are great for fattening pigs, and do have a lot of starch and the most beautiful fat. You're also going to need to have a good setup for training them on electric fence, indoors or out. Wind, wet, and cold are a bad combo. But so are dry, hot, and un-shaded.
Luke Groce: Trying to figure out how to grow food and heal land.