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Fighting pigs  RSS feed

 
Posts: 6
Location: Near Missoula
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homestead kids pig
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Hey! This is my first post, but I've been on the forums for a while, lurking, learning, and using the search function. Unfortunately the search has failed me here!

My wife and I recently purchased 40 acres in the mountains near Missoula, MT. Eventually we plan to have a small aggroforestry setup ala. Mark Shepherd. So far, we have 6 pigs-2 new KuneKune ladies and 4 kuneXAGH(3 male, 1 female). Porkchop, or X female is the largest of the 4 and has set herself up as the alpha pig. For all her size(maybe 60 lbs?) with her litter mates, she's less than half the size of our Kune sisters, whom my wife has dubbed the Bennet sisters. What she lacks in size, she's desperately trying to make up for in orneriness, pushing and nipping at everyone. The Bennet sisters are no slouches though, and my wife found Porkchop with a bloddied ear yesterday. I would like to keep all 6 pigs around, at least until the X's get a little bigger, but my wife is ready for our first attendees at freezer camp.

I think part of this may just be that everyone is new to each other and a pecking (snorting?) order will naturally establish. Potentially I've underestimated how much food they really need, and they are fighting for resources. The big piggies DEFINITELY drink more water than the smaller, younger X's. I'm not opposed to blocking part of the barn off so the pigs are away from each other for a bit, as we intend to pasture them just as soon as I can get some fencing up, hopefully in the next few weeks. Any other ideas on making the piggies friends? With the kids, we'd just make them sit together and hold hands, but I don't think that would work well here....

Tony and Shelly
Novel Idea Homestead 
 
pollinator
Posts: 1011
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Tony;  Welcome to permies! Congratulations on purchasing land and on becoming an aspiring piggy farmer.
There will be a "BOSS HOG",  even if you separate into two herds they would just have 2 boss hogs . I mean after all some piggy has to be in charge...  All it really means is they bully up and eat treats before the other piggys.
If you leave them together they will pick a boss.. this does not mean they will obey him/her all the time ... sort of like round muddy children... there will be the occasional bloody ear or black eye , as long as they leave it at that it will be fine. If they get too carried away then freezer camp it is.
Freezer camp will be better if you have large  fat piggys.
As far as food consider looking at fisher green houses in columbia falls for your bagged or better yet bulk grain.    I plan on my pigs each consuming 800-!000# of grain to full growth.  Plus they get apples ,squash , garden scraps , grubs and the compost bucket
 
thomas rubino
pollinator
Posts: 1011
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Tony;  Regarding the freezer camp. Are you planning on butchering yourselves ? An excellent choice, if you can .Were you thinking of using a mobile butcher like I did this last pig? A good choice. Or perhaps you are thinking of trucking them live to a butcher? Also a good choice. If it is the last choice of taking them live to a butcher, then I highly recommend picking your butcher now and scheduling a butcher appointment for the fall . Otherwise you will find they are booked solid thru November and you be feeding piggys into late December.  The colder it gets; your garden ,apples, squash are all gone and  they eat more to stay warm  and gain less. 
 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Like Thomas said, they are just going through the pecking order of things, but be aware, when the boar comes of age, He will be the boss and he will at that time let all the ladies know he is the boss hog.

Hogs get into tussles now and then but no one is usually hurt badly, it is all about dominance for food and sleeping arrangements.

Redhawk
 
Anthony Cooley
Posts: 6
Location: Near Missoula
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homestead kids pig
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Thanks Thomas!

I assumed there would be a Boss Hog, I was just hoping they would be a little more civil. maybe that's why they are communists on Animal Farm!! I'll watch things for a few more days and see if it escalates the rest of this week. I'll also try feeding more and see if that tempers things a bit.

We intend to do our own butchering. I've done my own deer and helped with others, so I'm sort of prepared. At lease as far as the holding a tasty dead thing and making it into smaller parts of tasty dead thing.

As far as grain, we have found a local producer who grows and mills his own non-gmo corn and soy-free feed. They are a small operation and aren't selling in many stores but offer 50lb bags and bulk. I would probably buy in bulk to save some money, but I don't have anywhere to keep it yet, and since we are growing just for ourselves and we have smaller, slower growing pigs, I'm treating the grain as more of a supplement/treat and am hoping to wean them down as the pasture becomes more productive.

Tony and Shelly
Novel Idea Homstead
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Kunes and AGH are similar and both prefer to eat grasses over "feed".  Our AGH do not like hay in the winter so for now they are on a Non GMO 12% feed, come grass green-out they will be back on the pasture.
 
Anthony Cooley
Posts: 6
Location: Near Missoula
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homestead kids pig
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Thanks Bryant! We've gone back and forth on keeping the largest of the boars. Probably size and personality will be the biggest determining factors. Currently, he is too small to mount the larger, much older females, so we may be letting him grow out until closer to fall to wait things out. There are some other Kune breeders/owners near here, so I can get the sows bred without too much trouble/expense.

So far, everyone seems to like the grain mix, and chopping the hay seems to help them eat it. And lots of veggies!! I'm very much looking forward to the grass growing to help cut down on the feed though!

Tony and Shelly
Novel Idea Homestead
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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If you feed them pumpkins, the seeds are a natural wormer and those that don't get ground up by their teeth will grow until they notice them.
winter is the expensive part of raising hogs.  don't forget to rake up and compost their manure (awesome good bacteria growing medium) make sure it is fully composted before using.
We bed ours in straw and I pick everything up and put in the compost heaps when it's time for fresh bedding.

If you haven't eaten any kune pork, oh man, so tender and yum.  Makes great bacon too, I brine our bacon then dry it a week before smoking. Far superior to store bought.

On boar picking, find the one that is lovey, that way he won't become a danger except during estrus, when a sow is ready, that is all that he thinks about and anything in his way or that could be a threat to her, is in danger.
Ours has his tusks but he is a sweetheart most of the time, loves his belly rubs and ear scratches. I just keep a watch on him when one of the sows is in heat.

Redhawk
 
Anthony Cooley
Posts: 6
Location: Near Missoula
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homestead kids pig
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Haha! I was just looking at pumpkins today, although I didn’t know the seeds were good for them!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Hogs will also eat poison ivy or oak leaves as a wormer too. Herbs are how we make sure ours are always healthy in three years we have not needed any "medicines" for them.

The only vegetables ours won't eat are onions, peppers and garlic. Squashes, Tomatoes, Lettuces, Avocadoes and Green Beans are their favorites and will go first when we get the grocery store produce toss outs.
 
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