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Buzzard's Roost Homestead is getting Guinea Hogs!

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Buzzard's Roost Homestead is getting Guinea Hogs! We pick up our little boar and one of our gilts on August 29th and we pick up the second gilt around the middle of September.
So: Now I have two weeks to get a pasture fenced in, a Hog house built and get some greens growing so they have fresh fodder in their pasture.
Here's the current plan, if you have suggestions, please, please give them, I am always open to new ideas.

We are fencing in approximately 1/3 to 2/3 acre for the initial pasture, it has good shade trees (White Oak and Hickory along with a few Sacred Cedars) and some native grasses already there.
We have found good spots for the wallow, one partially shaded, the other nearly full shade.
Once the perimeter is fenced I will use some pallets to put together a nice little Hog house that will work for them (they are all around 10 weeks old and each is from a different breeder so gene pool is as broad as we could get it for now).
I have 5 lbs. (2 Kilos) of white clover seed which will get spread in two separate seeding periods and I plan to add seven top turnip, purple top turnip, rape and some Daikon to the planting mix.
The soil that is destined to be pasture has a sandy, stoney- clay makeup and was previously covered with Sumac and Blackberry ( took the better part of a year to get those mostly gone working at it by hand tools).
We have a way to water the pasture but will be hoping to get it onto collected water and soil improvement by rotational grazing should help a lot with soil fertility over the next couple of years.

The current pH of this soil is 6.7, water holding ability is currently around 2 gal per cu. ft. but it goes away very quickly since there isn't a lot of organic matter to keep it in place.
This will change rapidly as the hogs help us build more bio diversity in their living quarters.
I may need to add some lime to the soil prior to the hogs arrival but I'm in a time crunch so we shall see how much can be accomplished prior to their home coming.

As I mentioned above, any suggestions are very much welcome.
I helped my grandfather with his pigs when I was a wee lad but that was almost 50 years ago so you can imagine how rusty I will be at this adventure's start.

Dang forgot to mention that we are using 2x4 welded wire fencing with a white ribbon around the bottom, this white ribbon is electric fence tape and what the breeders are using so our hogs know what that is and should not bother testing the fence at all.
We went with 48" fence because the current crop of feral dogs do not jump higher than 2 feet that we can tell.
We are also going to acquire four cattle panels for use as separation barrier within the pasture, this should allow us to create a rotational pasturing model so the forage can replenish/ recover between grazing periods.
What do you think? is this an adequate startup plan?

We have ready access to hay and straw in square bales and will be supplementing the forage feeds with small amounts of C,O,B and Hog pellets to start.
Once the females and boar are ready to breed, we will make sure the new sows get all the protein and minerals they will need for good litters to be born.
We have been told that these hogs need to be bred before they are a full year old to ensure they will be good mothers. Is this correct?

I'm still learning all I can about the American Guinea Hog and we will be joining the AGHA directly so we have access to many more breeders and their vital information/ knowledge.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
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Up Date: we have now had our new breeding stock onsite for three weeks. They are growing nicely and all are getting along with each other well.
Our breeders all have the red tint hair, a trait I will be breeding for as it is highly desirable and I may even be able to produce some pure red guinea hogs over time.
we are planning to get at least one more boar and two more sows (gilts) for the future of our breeding program.

Next week I will be installing fencing for another pasture paddock and starting construction of a farrowing house.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:We are fencing in approximately 1/3 to 2/3 acre for the initial pasture


Once you have a good perimeter set I would divide that into 10 paddocks to do managed rotational grazing.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:I have 5 lbs. (2 Kilos) of white clover seed which will get spread in two separate seeding periods and I plan to add seven top turnip, purple top turnip, rape and some Daikon to the planting mix.


Good stuff. Add soft grasses, millets, chicory, red clover...

Bryant RedHawk wrote:rotational grazing should help a lot with soil fertility over the next couple of years.


It will in a big way.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:The current pH of this soil is 6.7


Already great. We started in the 4's. With grazing it improved. You should hold well with what you're doing and that should have good fertility.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:I may need to add some lime to the soil


Lime around here is used to raise the acid soil towards neutral so I would not expect you to need to lime. We started with acid soils and don't lime - just the grazing helped adjust the soil.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:We went with 48" fence because the current crop of feral dogs do not jump higher than 2 feet that we can tell.


Hot wire top and bottom outside should help. Us a strong energizer. Minimum is 2.5joule but I would suggest 6 joules. Your own dogs will help even more if you have livestock dogs. A moat system of fencing works extremely well.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:What do you think? is this an adequate startup plan?


It's a start. Keep improving it and it will evolve into a good system. Plant fruit trees. Nut trees. Keep seeding the paddocks just before the pigs leave (mob seeding).

Bryant RedHawk wrote:We have been told that these hogs need to be bred before they are a full year old to ensure they will be good mothers. Is this correct?


Never heard it said that way. With our pigs they tend to first breed at eight months. If a gilt doesn't take by 14 months I cull her.

-Walter
SugarMtnFarm.com
in Vermont
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Thanks Walter,
I plan to have at least 10 paddocks and probably will end up with 12. I had to start somewhere in our typical rush to get it done style. Now I am ready to start refining the plan.

Just bought some great fescue grass seed to add to my current stock of seeds and will be planting again in about a week, when I move the hogs to the next paddock area.
We are going to get some cattle panels too for easy moves and dividing of spaces.

We are getting some hot wire with a hot shot energizer, our biggest concerns are the wild dogs and coyotes getting inside the fence.
I plan to get one that will energize at least 3 wires.

We have some fruit trees and the woods are white oak, persimmon and hickory so we have lots of nuts already, but we also plan to add more orchard trees.

I completed my pH survey of the spaces that will be for the hogs, both woodlot and grass pastures, I won't be needing any lime but will be testing the soils after the hogs make their pass through.
It's nice being a chemist/biologist and having my own laboratory.

We plan to just let the mating happen when it does for the first go round. Since we are raising registered guinea hogs we have to be ready to set identifications when they farrow.

We have two gilts, and they are approximately 2.5 months apart in age so it should work out pretty well for us as we start out on this adventure.

I am very grateful for your input.
 
Bonnie Kuhlman
Posts: 16
Location: Zone 7a, Paulden, AZ
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It's been awhile for this thread.  I'm wondering if you have an update.

Bonnie
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
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First gilt had a litter of seven but they came just as the temperatures hit 100 +, the new sow only had 4 teats fill with milk and the three males got to those before the females, so we lost all four of the girl babies.
The other gilt is now gestating and I will be ready to do some culling of the males to make sure we have some girls survive this time around.
Wife was found to have colon cancer so have been dealing with that to the point of not much new work getting done for now.
On top of her illness, my brother had two strokes and will be in hospital for quite a long time, trouble there is that he is an hour away.
Her surgery was a grand success, we should be getting back on track over this winter.

Redhawk

I will try to keep this thread updated more frequently in the future.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Location: Central, Virginia
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Bryant,
You are in my heart. I wish for you and your family health, strength and happiness. Keep us updated as you can.
 
Bonnie Kuhlman
Posts: 16
Location: Zone 7a, Paulden, AZ
chicken food preservation forest garden
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:First gilt had a litter of seven but they came just as the temperatures hit 100 +, the new sow only had 4 teats fill with milk and the three males got to those before the females, so we lost all four of the girl babies.
The other gilt is now gestating and I will be ready to do some culling of the males to make sure we have some girls survive this time around.
Wife was found to have colon cancer so have been dealing with that to the point of not much new work getting done for now.
On top of her illness, my brother had two strokes and will be in hospital for quite a long time, trouble there is that he is an hour away.
Her surgery was a grand success, we should be getting back on track over this winter.

Redhawk

I will try to keep this thread updated more frequently in the future.


I am so sorry to hear your news.  I do wish the very best outcome for your wife and your brother.  Consider taking a look at "The Truth about Cancer" if you're not already familiar with it.  You can find it online or on Facebook.  Lots of very good information on healing ourselves.

Bonnie
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Posts: 1826
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
122
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Pilamayaye Bonnie,

Wolf is a herbalists and we are doing what we need to do for her healing.
I have seen The Truth about Cancer and done quite a bit of reading to increase my medical knowledge base.
Thank you for the good wishes, I will burn some cedar and sage for you.

Redhawk

 
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