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Feeding 50/50 layer feed and fermented oats?

 
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Hey all! Were getting 5 weaned pigs in a couple months. Were going to move them around our brushy edge habitat and forest. I went to price pig feed yesterday. Turns out the layer feed we buy is pretty similar to pig feed when it comes to nutrition. The layer is $14.10 per 50lb bag and the pig grower $16.00 per 50 lb. I added the nutrition break down bellow. Basically, I can get a 5% discount if I buy a pallet at a time. So if I could feed the pigs layer feed I could save a nice chunk of money.
I can get oats for $6.00 per 50lb right down the road. I have been thinking about soaking/fermenting 100-200lbs in a plastic drum once a week and just scooping out of that to cut the layer feed 50/50 for both the pigs and chickens. They will both get supplemental feed from forging (we rotate our chickens too). I guess I could even soak it overnight too, just to make it easier to digest.

People say they raise pigs on bread and cheese, or scraps alone. I feel like I would be able to raise them on the layer feed just fine. But what do you all think.
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gardener
Posts: 2434
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Taylor;  Congratulation on becoming a piggy farmer! If you have never been around them before be  prepared to be pleasantly surprised! Pigs are a very intelligent/ sentient animal , the older I get , the more I seem to prefer their company to most humans.
I see no zinc and no selenium,  everything else reasonably close.  You might make this work but for 2$ a bag I think I would just buy the pigs the proper stuff.   Your plan on the oats supplementing your feed is a good one. you would need less of the bagged feed. From experience I can tell you pigs love squash of any shape or color and after harvest its usually free!  Comfrey is an all time favorite. Apples,  pears ,Watermelon and  most other fruit.  All the garden scraps , weeds , no meat of course unless they catch it (worms,grubs, small slow rodents) If a piggy ABSOLUTELY hates something ...THEY EAT IT LAST...  I plan on my wieners to consume apx #800-1000 of feed apiece each season, plus all the extra treats, some years I have grain left over sometimes they eat it all. By fall they are big and round and their butt jiggles when they walk... a sure hint its time to visit the butcher!
One tip about butchering.  If you are planning to take them to a butcher... Do not wait until fall and then call for an appointment, you will find that they are all booked up thru December ! County fairs , fall slaughter, hunting season... they all take up the butchers time, leaving none for you until December...  As soon as you get your piggys talk to the butcher you planning on going to and see about getting an appointment scheduled ahead of time.  
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happy piggys
 
pollinator
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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If we assume you're buying 40 lb. feeders and butchering 240 lb. hogs, you need to add 200 lbs. to each piggie.  If we assume a 5:1 feed conversion ratio, you'll need to plan on 1000 lbs. of feed per pig.  At those prices (which will, of course, fluctuate throughout the year), you can figure on 'saving' about $40 per pig.  But that's with all things being equal, which may very well not be the case.  It could be that the layer-fed piggies grow slower than the porker-fed piggies, or have a higher feed conversion ratio, in which case the apparent economic advantage of feeding a cheaper ration vanishes.

All that said, I've always fed my piggies with full woods/brush/pasture access and nothing but whole grains (corn, wheat, oats, field peas, and sunflower seeds).  They grow slowly, typically requiring 12-14 months to reach slaughter weight, but my they make tasty pork.  They also get garden culls and kitchen scraps, and occasional handfuls of kelp meal and regular doses of mineral salt.

On another note, it's best not to purchase more feed than you'll use in a couple weeks, so the pallet discount isn't a deal if you can't use it quickly.  Ground grains go rancid rather quickly, so although you save a little money buying in bulk you may offset that by having to feed more to achieve the same results.  Figure, too, that the feed has been sitting in a (probably warm) warehouse for a couple weeks before it ever gets to your farm.  You might find it's to your advantage to purchase a feed bin and buy in bulk; you pay quite the premium for bagged feed.  We purchased a 3-ton bin last spring for $1000 and figure it paid for itself within the year just in what we saved by buying feed in bulk rather than bagged (but that's using in the ballpark of 15 tons of feed per year).

On another another note, you might consider shopping around.  Hostetler's feeds are plenty good, but they tend to be a little pricier than they perhaps ought to be...
 
Wes Hunter
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I wasn't exactly clear in my third paragraph above, and seem to have contradicted myself.  When I suggested purchasing a feed bin, I intended to also suggest buying the grains whole and then grinding them fresh as needed (if you wanted to grind at all, which isn't necessary for pigs).  Mix in any supplements as you feed.  Of course, if you purchase pre-ground feed you'd still be dealing with feed quality that lessens with time, but in that case it might well be more than offset by the savings to be had by buying in bulk.
 
thomas rubino
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I buy #3000 bulk every spring. They grind it as it is being loaded in the bulk bags in my truck.  I have it 5-6 months and have never noticed it going rancid . On the years that I have a few hundred pounds left over I haven't noticed anything wrong with it in the spring and the piggys don't seem to mind.  Of course my comment of "if they don't like it they eat it last" could be applying to the left over grain... how would I know... haven't sat down with a bowl of their grain in quite a while....  Bulk grain beats bagged grain every time, cheaper and you know when it was ground.
 
Wes Hunter
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thomas rubino wrote:I buy #3000 bulk every spring. They grind it as it is being loaded in the bulk bags in my truck.  I have it 5-6 months and have never noticed it going rancid . On the years that I have a few hundred pounds left over I haven't noticed anything wrong with it in the spring and the piggys don't seem to mind.  Of course my comment of "if they don't like it they eat it last" could be applying to the left over grain... how would I know... haven't sat down with a bowl of their grain in quite a while....  Bulk grain beats bagged grain every time, cheaper and you know when it was ground.



Perhaps "rancid" is the wrong word, but I'm pretty sure that's the specific word I've seen used when researching this in the past.  When whole grains are ground, the fats are exposed to the air and oxidation begins.  Corn, being a high-fat grain, goes rancid quite quickly.  Rancidity in this case perhaps isn't even noticeable as an off-smell or off-flavor, or perhaps the associated aromas and flavors are the new "normal," but the idea as I understand it is that nutritive quality and palatability degrades quite quickly after grinding.  
 
thomas rubino
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My grain is barley , buckwheat , peas , wheat and added minerals. No corn at all, maybe they are lower fat content ? Or humans may not be able to smell the rancidity.
Some years the wind blows snow in on the left over bags and some gets wet & ferments. In the early years I threw that out for the deer... now I toss it into the pig pasture and they gobble it right up...  silly piggys.  Who knows what they will like year to year... before the end they eat it all !
 
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Yes, cereals have polyinsaturated fats and get rancid even before we can notice.
You can say that pig will eat it... BUT it will change the quality of the fat you will get from your pigs!

I have asked old people, and not so old, around, about the change of pig fat the last 30 years. The answer is: Now, pig fat is more liquid and whiter.
The right fat should tend toward being a bit more like butter, more solid and more yellow!

The more you feed cereals, the more you will get unsaturated fats from your pig, which is not what we want, unless we have fallen into the trap of believing that omega 6 are good, and they are not.

Pigs and also hens will be better with some animal protein and fat in their diet. I use lizards and rats, instead of giving expensive venoms, I trap. Then insects should also be part of their diets, which is in favor of growing veg food "more than organic": with not even organic pesticides!!!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Taylor Cleveland wrote:
I can get oats for $6.00 per 50lb right down the road. I have been thinking about soaking/fermenting 100-200lbs in a plastic drum once a week and just scooping out of that to cut the layer feed 50/50 for both the pigs and chickens. They will both get supplemental feed from forging (we rotate our chickens too). I guess I could even soak it overnight too, just to make it easier to digest.



Fermenting is ok for animals?
Or is it better to drain and sprout? Or would we loose nutrients from the water?

Do you also mean that dry cereals are hard to digest for pigs?
 
thomas rubino
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Yes , many people ferment their pig feed.  They say it promotes faster growth and they use less feed.  The folks that do that swear by it.
I feed dry grain , fresh grasses & grains, fruit and garden scraps and all the dirt they want.  My piggys are fat and happy and when their time comes they are outstanding to dine on.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Here people dry fruits like figs and say to never feed them dry as it gives dangerous gases, and so yes, they soak them until they start to ferment.
 
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too:
Control Garden Pests without Toxic Chemicals
https://permies.com/t/96977/Natural-pest-control-garden
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