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Pig Diet

 
Kathleen Driscoll
Posts: 9
Location: Oregon
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We raised three pigs last year on the following (with excellent results): rolled barley and oats soaked overnight in whey, alfalfa hay, eggs (we have a flock of layers), mangels, turnips, beets, carrots, and all garden/kitchen leftovers and scraps. Their pen is about 2000 square feet. Unfortunately we are unable to provide them with anymore space, so we don't have any sort of pasture rotation system in place. This year I did plant a cover crop in their pen that is growing nicely, and have a large crop of mangels, beets, turnips, carrots, kale, and cabbage for them. We also do not have a source for whey this year, which is my main concern. I am worried about them not getting enough lysine. We do get our family-use milk from a local dairy (raw) and I am wondering if they can have the cream that gets skimmed off. I usually use it for butter, but I can certainly give it to them instead. I do not want to feed them commercial diets consisting of corn and soy, but am now worried since we do not have whey this year. We are picking up our new piglets in two days, they are York/Hamp/Duroc crosses. Any feedback would be very appreciated!!! Thank you.
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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Yes, they can have the cream.

-and- you can thin it out with water if this helps your system of feeding. Every little bit helps.

Also, you can soak and feed whole or split peas, from your local feed store, which have lysine. At least these are commonly sold as feed in my area.
Also Cowpeas, pigeon peas and various beans.... have you tried growing your own legumes for them?

Until we got our own family cow we just used soaked peas for this purpose.
 
Kathleen Driscoll
Posts: 9
Location: Oregon
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Thanks Jami! There are peas in the cover crop mix, but I imagine they won't last long. I will check with our feed store about getting more. I forgot to mention before that we are also doing barley fodder. We have been doing it for the chickens and plan to expand that for the pigs as well. Thanks again.
 
Christian Korpijaakko
Posts: 5
Location: Southern Finland- Suomi
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i also had a question about feed. this is my first time with pigs and we are getting 4. a local nano brewery has promised 100-150kg of spent mashed grain per week. along with this i can get whey and 'expired' produce from the local store including massive amounts of bread. i figured this is a good mix. any thoughts? how much should i be feeding? we are only keeping them to fatten up for the fall- then christmas ham and bacon!
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Kathleen Driscoll wrote:I am wondering if they can have the cream that gets skimmed off.


Yes, dairy is an excellent food for pigs and pigs are an excellent use of excess dairy. We feed dairy to our pigs. Primarily our dairy is whey but whole milk and cream are even better as is cheese. I figure that milk is worth about 10x whey. About 7% of our pigs's diet is dairy, about 80% is pasture and the rest is other things as available like pumpkins, apples, spent brewer's barley mash, etc. Varies seasonally. We feed no commercial hog feed or commercial bought grain. We've been doing this for about 12 years and have about 400 pigs out on pasture this way. Variety is the spice of life and of diet.

Kathleen Driscoll wrote:We are picking up our new piglets in two days, they are York/Hamp/Duroc crosses.


A fine cross. The line matters even more than the breed. We have Yorkshire, Berkshire, Large Black and Tamworth primarily.

On your 2,000 sq-ft of space. You could divide that up into multiple small paddocks, ideally a minimum of four but preferably more, and then do a nano-scale rotational grazing system. I have a ten paddock system setup which we use for training and taming weaner pigs that is on one quarter acre. That is about 10,000 sq-ft so bigger than yours but I'm putting a lot more pigs through it sustainably - just small pigs. I figure that I can sustainably do up to a maximum of ten pigs per acre but that's full size growth. The trick would be to rotate quickly with fast growing forages. They would get some of their food from the land and the land would have cover. See:
http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2013/09/25/south-weaner-paddock/
and
http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2014/09/17/one-day-of-rotational-grazing-shoats/

Christian Korpijaakko wrote:i also had a question about feed. this is my first time with pigs and we are getting 4. a local nano brewery has promised 100-150kg of spent mashed grain per week. along with this i can get whey and 'expired' produce from the local store including massive amounts of bread. i figured this is a good mix. any thoughts? how much should i be feeding? we are only keeping them to fatten up for the fall- then christmas ham and bacon!


All good stuff. Feed pasture first in the day and then supplements later in the day to maximize the pasture they'll eat.

On the spent barley I would not take it over 25% of their diet.

Similarly keep the bread down to about that.

The produce can be free fed - it is mostly water at about 10% Dry Matter (DM).

-Walter
 
Jami McBride
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Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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That is a good, diverse mix and should grow up some pork for you nicely.

Regarding Expired produce: Personally I have problems with the 'health' of some produce, because of sprays, radiation and/or other modern measures regularly taken. If we don't eat it in my family I don't feed it to the animals that we do eat, but this is just me.....

Because of this I would watch the processed foods. However, if the source doesn't bother you, and your not keeping any of these pigs as breeders then feed around 20% of their feed in the breads on top of a grass ration, in other words feed this at the end of the day. Spent grains are actually better than dry whole grains as the anti-nutrients have been mitigated through the fermentation process.

As for the spent grains - I would recommend you feed them wet if at all possible, again in the 20-25% of total feed amounts. While wet they can go bad quickly so just re-wet before feeding if your storing them.

In my opinion, feeding 'wet' feed as the bulk of the diet is better for non-Ruminant animals when possible. There are many studies on this you can find by doing a simple search. I'll see if I can find my sources and post back if your interested in the science. It's been a while since I've read up on it. I really respect what Walter has been able to achieve with feeding hay to his pigs in the winter, he has a great set up. But I personally did find it fit my feed requirements - your millage may vary. I raise only small breed pigs, and my ground is not covered by snow nor does it freeze, it is in fact a soft mess in the winter due to heavy rains. I'll have to post my experiment last winter with feeding dry hay

Note: different breed of pigs grow and develop differently, so know your breeds and their traits, and your weather and land. It all plays a roll in your animal husbandry.



Shameless plug for dairy animals & home grown feed - having one's own steady source of proteins and vitamins such as found in dairy (goats, sheep or cattle) is a sustainable feed model. And easy to maintain by growing small amounts of high quality feed like alfalfa, and some grains and feeding those to one's dairy animal - then feeding some to the other animals plus the milk. It's a sustainable model people have been successfully using for hundreds of years. So if your reading this and you do not have sources for free veggies, spent grains, gallons whey, etc. don't worry remember that most people through out time didn't either

 
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