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pig diet help

 
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My pigs are out in a field that has dandelions in it and they wont eat them whats wrong with dandelions
 
pollinator
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what else is in the field?
 
hunter holman
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couch grass alfalfa and clovers of all sorts
 
John Weiland
pollinator
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Our pigs are ignoring most of the dandelions (flowering stage) right now in favor of grazing on grass and other delicacies. In early spring, before the grass is up, the pigs will excavate deep holes as they follow dandelion roots downward. I don't know if ours are taking in much in the way of clovers, but I don't think it's a main attraction for them. The couch grass (quack grass) in early growth stage may be a preferred target, but we've lost a lot of that in recent years due to flooding, so brome grass is the main grass they are consuming right now. Still rooting when the conditions are right as well. Sorry I can't be of more help....can you walk amongst them and see what they are mostly taking in right now?
 
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Are these new pigs or old pigs.
I am asking because if these are young pig feeding on roots and greens for the first time they may not favor this plant.
Where a old pig that has eaten this plant before may be more likely to eat it again.
This is one reason it can be nice to keep a old sow around to teach the new crop of piglets what to eat.

I like animals as harvesters in a permaculture setting.
What is great about rooting pigs is that you can plant ground nuts and sun chokes along with other roots that pigs can harvest for you in the form of making bacon.
They are also great for acorns, and other nuts.

 
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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hunter holman wrote:My pigs are out in a field that has dandelions in it and they wont eat them whats wrong with dandelions



Dandelions are good food. Our pigs like them. However, pigs often need to learn to like something which is quite reasonable as there are some things like cherry which are toxic if too much is eaten or if wilted. Picky eaters are a survival strategy.
 
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Location: FEMA District III
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duck forest garden chicken
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My pig will not eat carrots, she will pick them out of snacks and put them in a pile to avoid them. Certain times of my pig eat around certain food, but in the end she normally go back to it and snacks on it later.
Right now, she's really getting into eating multiflora rose blooms. I've had her for 4 years, this is the first year she's eaten them. So, either she's trying something new, or there is something she needs from them.

Did your pigs ever eat the dandelion?

Cheers
 
hunter holman
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yeah after they rooted up the roots of them
 
gardener
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IF a pig finds something tasty, they will eat it. If they run out of their preferred greens, they will move on to the next most palatable plants.

Our Guinea Hogs have certain items in their pasture that they prefer to decimate, once those are gone they move on to the next big ticket food item.
They continue this behavior until they are moved to the next paddock, where they start from the most preferred items again.

If you want them to eat dandelion greens try plucking the leaves and putting them in a feed trough, that might get them to try the greens.

Our Hogs are not fond of any flowers, but they will root up and eat sumac roots and just about any other root they sniff out.
 
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Pigs will naturally eat what they like best first, then they will eat the next best thing, and so on. They are smart animals but only to what, a 4 or 5 year old humans understanding.? Think how a kid eats. If you have clover in the mix they will go for clover way above dandelions. Alfalfa, thistles, ferns, radish, oats... Are all going to be eaten before dandelions. Taste what you pigs eat, literally; taste the alfalfa, clover, dandelion... They have a list of favorites like we do. Also pigs can self regulate medicate to an extent. If you are like me you eat enough dandelion every year to know what it does to your system, the same goes for pigs. They know far better than most people, it's in their grocery store. They will eat it when: that's the next best thing, it's all that's left, or they need what it provides. My advice: sit back and watch them, see what your breed, your pigs, like, what's next, what's left, and what they need in the way of health. Oh, and the dandelions will be eaten, don't worry about that. 😀
 
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