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Pig Feed Concerns

 
Chad Carlson
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First time posting...Southern Oregon, Mediterranean climate, red wattle pregnant sows and 2 RW feeder pigs.

I have a bit of a conundrum, that I'm hoping someone can shed some light on.

I live in a rural area and my local grain elevator does not carry organic grains in bulk. With the lack of a close supply of organic feed (and my limited budget) i have made the next best choice (in my opinion) and at least been feeding my pigs a GMO free mix. 900lbs of ground peas with 1100lbs of ground barley. I also have the elevator mix in a mineral supplement. My pigs (red wattles) are on pasture, but with our frequent drought, I know they depend on the feed primarily for growth, nutrition, etc. I also ferment the ground feed for 3 days with an organic yogurt and water starter which after I drain, i carry it forward to the next batch of feed (feed twice a day, 6 buckets fermenting on a rotation). My pigs a very healthy and have been growing and farrowing well for 2 years on this mix. We also pick apples, pears and acorns for our pigs.

My conundrum is...the more i research peas/lentils the more I am learning that they are desiccated with chemicals (sometimes glyphosate) prior to harvest. I am searching for a new protein source without the heavy does of poison. The next best option locally is alfalfa pellets (15% protein).

What is everyones opinion about a mix of barley and alfalfa pellets? Will this provide a balanced diet for pigs? If so, what type of ratio? The mill also has grass pellets for some variety. (9% protein)

I also plan on ditching the hog mineral mix and switching to a 50lb bag of kelp meal per ton.

I know the best option is find an organic source...but due to distance and cost, I have to make some realistic choices.

let me know your thoughts.



 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Chad Carlson wrote:First time posting...Southern Oregon, Mediterranean climate, red wattle pregnant sows and 2 RW feeder pigs.
The next best option locally is alfalfa pellets (15% protein).
What is every ones opinion about a mix of barley and alfalfa pellets?
The mill also has grass pellets for some variety. (9% protein)
I also plan on ditching the hog mineral mix and switching to a 50lb bag of kelp meal per ton.


Just as you listed - is what I feed my pigs. Plus naturally grown - alfalfa hay, a little oat straw/grass hay (they munch their bedding) and raw jersey milk from our own cow.
In our case we wanted to get away from chemicals and grains as much as possible. I became convinced that to do that you really have to raise your own protein source when you don't have better purchase options.

That being said - there is a place in southern Oregon called the grange (they are online too) who sells organic feeds plus the regular junk. And last time I checked they were shipping to your door for free on orders over $99

Here's their info-

Grange Co-op: South Medford
Animal Feed Store
2531 S Pacific Hwy · (541) 772-4730

All the best,
 
Chad Carlson
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Thanks for the quick response Jami.

Do you mean you feed alfalfa pellets and barley? or peas and barley?

Thanks again.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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We don't feed grain to our pigs.
≥80% of their diet is pasture. Fresh in the warm months, hay in the winter.
~7% of their diet is dairy, primarily whey. It's the local resource we have that provides protein.
After that is eggs, pumpkins, sunflowers, beets, turnips, sunchokes, apples, pears all seasonally as we have them from our farm.
We also get a little spent barley (good protein, fiber and minerals, no energy) from a local brew pub and occasionally a little bread for training.
We've been doing that for almost 13 years and have about 400 pigs out on pasture - we deliver weekly fresh pork to area stores and restaurants.

Genetics of the pigs matters. Select for those who pasture well, those who do well in your climate and management system.
Quality pasture matters. Plant it up with good forages.
Alfalfa's great - I wish I could get that as winter hay.
Managed rotational grazing is key.

See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/pigs for more about the diet we use.

-Walter
in Vermont
 
Jami McBride
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Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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Hi Chad,

Alfalfa pellets and a little rolled barley (put into our mix for the two cows). I mix up 3 bags Alfalfa, 3 bags grass pellets with one bag of rolled barley, or oats, or whatever I can find that is raised the cleanest. To that I add my liquid mix of 1 cup molasses, 1 cup ACV, 1 gallon milk and 1 cup Kelp to a 5 gal bucket and fill with water. Most of the time the milk is clabbered. I leave out the milk for the cows bucket as they do not like it I do feed some whole pea when I can find it grown organically.

In the winter I supplement with alfalfa hay, the pigs really love it.

My forage is still vary lacking, as I moved onto an oak forest with little light for growing grasses. Good forage makes a big difference in feeding rations for all the animals.

 
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