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Starting With Pigs

 
Justin Nickel
Posts: 4
Location: Upper Midwest/South Central Wisconsin
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I am looking at raising 3-4 pigs on all-natural feed and supplemental rotational grazing. I will be rotating my swine with turkeys to cut down on parasites and land devastation. I am looking for some input on how big the ideal pasture would have to be to keep the pigs on it for about 5 days at a time and what kind of fodder to plant that they will lovingly consume? I plan on having the pigs on for 5 days, land rests for 3, 6 turkeys on it for 7 days, heal for 7 days, start it all over again. I will probably have to make adjustments but am looking forward to the adventure...
 
Brianna LaRose
Posts: 7
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
chicken dog duck
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The breed you choose and the mineral content of the soil are contributing factors to how much the pigs will root in 5 days. Brassicas are a good mix with some basic legumes and you can get a brassica mix at your farm and feed store usually depending on your region. I would try them on a 1/2 acre plot and gauge when they need to be moved by when they start to root. Best to keep at least 2 weeks between rotation back to original land to help break parasite life cycles.
 
Nick Truscott
Posts: 7
Location: Alekovo near Svishtov, Bulgaria
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Good luck with your new pigs and you'll have a lot of fun for sure!

I started with 4 Bulgarian Whites last year. After electric fence training I strip grazed them in their field (20m x 25m) in 3 areas starting in mid-November. The field was very densely overgrown with all sorts of weeds, thistles, docks, jerusalem fartichokes, self seeded maize, etc. - generally it was 1.5-1.8m tall. And my intentions were absolutely to clear everything. They did a great job and the field is now resting (it's a bit claggy after the snow so a bit too heavy to tidy up by hand) before planting this spring.

I've moved them into a bigger paddock now (28m x 70m) and I'm grazing them in 5m strips. The field was deep ploughed 2 years ago but had been fallow for 10 years before that so it too has a heavy weed seed base that is just starting to sprout through the thick layer of brush cuttings that had been on the land for 6 months or so. I plan on seeing how long it takes for them to clear (properly clear) the strip and then move them to the next strip, and then just broadcast sow a forage mixture (rape, kale, radish) into the strip they have just left. With that paddock, as well as few areas in our orchard, outside our front wall (we have about 3m of weed covered earth between our boundary wall and road) I think I have about 16 available "strips" I can rotate them through before putting them back into the first strip again which, hopefully, will have a good forage crop for them to scoff down on. I am only feeding them one meal a day now as well as hand feeding fruit/veg treats to keep them handler friendly.

This is them in their original paddock in the snow, chowing down on a bale of Lucerne which they love.


 
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