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Raising pigs and food in dry mediterranean climates  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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At the moment my piglet eats prickly pears and fresh figs. I already know that dry figs have to be reduced or else they can fill with air and die, so do goats if they find lots of dry figs under a tree.
I have bought some organic corn too for a start.

We have no acorns, but she loves to suck an old ripe banana as milk!
I have planned to plant sweet potatoes and all kind of roots like jerusalem artichoke and beets and turnip.

I can buy organic barley: is it possible to give it germinated? Is it better for pigs to give them plain dry seeds?

I have planned, for protein, to trap rats, mice and lizards.
Do you think it is ok and should I boil them for parasites?

I have diatomaceous earth, how much is good to give and how?

Her poo is really black and dry, I have no idea if it is a good sign or shows constipation...
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gardener
Posts: 1844
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Xisca;  
I can only answer your question about diatomaceous  earth.   2% of their bulk feed.  I feed dry gain so I add 50# of food grade D.E. to 2500# of grain. It sounds like you are not feeding ground grain so you would need to supplement.
You can't feed to much to her. My pigs will eat it out of hand.  Maybe mix it in with her corn? Or sprinkle it over her fruit.
Germinated barley would be better than seeds , piggys like green things.
I have no advice about lizards and rats.  I would guess that boiling them would be safer.  I don't intentionally feed my pigs meat. If they wish, they can catch and eat, grubs and snakes and mice all raw of course. I have no idea if they have or not. I do know from years of experience that the foods a piggy does not like ... they will eat last...  silly piggys.
I know that rats are edible,but too fast for a piggy to catch. I have no idea about lizards, seems they don't like snow and below freezing temperatures ..... so not to many of them near my pigs.
Piggy poop is generally dry, color is affected by what they eat.  
As long as your piggy has access to fresh clean water she will drink all she needs.  Having a muddy wallow is another thing a piggy needs to stay healthy and cool.
I only see one pig in your photo's do you have more ?  If not your pig needs a buddy, preferably another pig...  a different animal might do as a herd member but beware if you have a neighbor with pigs your piggy WILL escape to go visit...  they are a very social herd animal, they need a buddy to hang out with.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Thanks for your answer!
Our DE here is not food grade but the packet says it is ok to give to animals. And we have kitties treated with it, so they also eat some, and no problem so far.

I still have to find a way to keep her water clean, as she goes into it!

Yes she is alone, but the dog and cats visiting around, and 2 hens on the other side of the fence. The goats are out of sight. No neighbours!
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thomas rubino
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Well Xisca;  There's a thing about piggys and water...  they like to stand in it and while they are there why not go potty... YUCK..  they do this every time...  Mine will go in their wallow then lay down and roll around... They have fresh running water so they will stand and walk over to drink but they would have no problem drinking the wallow water if I didn't have fresh (most likely make them sick).
Speaking of a piggy getting sick.  It does not happen often BUT if your piggy gets sick you must respond quickly or she will go down fast, and you will lose them.  I don't like them but I keep  animal antibiotics and a syringe on hand at all times. It is guaranteed there will be no vet available if your piggy goes down,  YOU must be able and ready to deal with it on your own.
I seriously recommend your getting a second pig to keep your's comfortable and happy or else YOU will be the other herd member and as your pig grows ... well lets say a 400# piggy has no trouble crashing a fence down to come hang with her buddy (YOU)    
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Well, we will think about it.... as I have planned to practise some clicker training with her haha! Yes she will be able to crash out of the place... She already went through the hen's fence when she arrived frightened. She was brought up almost wild in the forest, and the guy just put the poor thing in a bag to bring her by car...

Now she is tightened with a sort of harness, like a dog with a cable going through the yard, and she does not bother at all. Actually, the goal is to grow food for her and then put the cable outside and move her from place to place. This is not safe to free her more than this of course. I know she can be trained as much as a dog but then how can we eat her!

I forgot to say that she loves ripe avocados! Very good mix with bananas (lol I told her I would not put cacao in her cream!) Luxury pig!

thomas rubino wrote:There's a thing about piggys and water...  they like to stand in it and while they are there why not go potty...    


Cold water cools down and stimulates the vagus nerves in mammals, thus triggering digestion. So I think they must have some reflex going on and would not even notice they poo.
Wash your hands with cold water, and usually if your bladder is already full, it will give you some urgency!
 
thomas rubino
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Ahh Xisca;
Now you come to a common problem when raising a small number of pigs.  They are intelligent , personable , animals just like a dog and if you spend time with them... you grow attached. And they grow attached to you.
This can be such an issue with some folks that they keep their pig as a  large pet rather than slaughter for food. I love pets and for those people this is a good answer. I only have my pigs from wiener to 6-7 months old. If I had them longer I might feel different.
Give them good food ,clean water , love and attention. Let them be happy piggys  while they are here and give them an honorable quick end when their day comes, thanking them for their sacrifice.
You will think of them fondly later while enjoying a superb dinner.  
 
pollinator
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Xisca, I feed my pigs primarily off of garden waste, foraged foods, and waste from stores, friends, and restaurants. I gotten very good at knowing where all the wild edible foods are. Plus I now have many people who let me clean up waste fruits from their properties. I also do some guerilla gardening where I've planted pipinola, pumpkin, papaya, bananas and such on abandoned properties (absentee land owners) --- some of those absent landowners have given permission, so haven't responded thus far. So I know that those food sources can easily disappear, or other people could come and harvest them instead of me.

I also have an arrangement with local hunters who bring me slaughter waste in exchange for veggies out of my garden. Plus I do set traps for rats and mongoose, which I cook before feeding them to the pigs. I cook them whole in an outdoor cooker in a large pot dedicated to pig food. I'm not above throwing a dead chicken into the cook pot either, feathers and all.

I live in a moist climate, so occasionally commercial feed gets a little moldy, although the stores try very hard to avoid that. But it sometimes happens. I keep in contact with the feed stores, often dropping off some excess veggies and fruits from my gardens, so that they will contact me if the have bad bags they wish to get rid of or sell really, really cheap. I've gotten hay cubes, various grains, dog, cat, and chicken food this way. I always make sure to go immediately to the store for pick up. The store appreciates that plus I beat anyone else that might also be doing the same thing.

Hope some of this information gives you ideas.
 
Su Ba
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As Thomas pointed out, a problem with raising pigs for food is that they are intelligent and personable. I have to keep myself emotionally aloof so that I don't get attached. And while I want my pigs to come when called, not be afraid of being touched, I have to be careful not to see them as a pet.

As for water, they will stand in, lay down in, and generally muck up any water tub they are given. As Thomas says, they will poop in it and then turn around to lay down and drink it too! As a result, commercial piggeries provide water via automatic nipples or bowls. The pig learns to trigger the spigot to make water flow. My own pigs get offered food that is very soupy, so there is less need to provide a constant water trough (which the pigs quickly turn into a foul smelling mess). So when I feed them, they get their slop in one bowl and a water refill in another. The water bowl is a rubber tub that is easily emptied and refilled as needed. Yes, the pigs dump it when they are done drinking. By the way, they get given food and water twice a day, three times a day when they are babies.

As for company, young ones prefer to be in a group where they will play and fuss with one another. But I've also raised them singularly, and satisfy their need for interaction by providing them toys and other distractions. Even when raised in a group, they like to toy around with an empty plastic gallon milk jug, a black plastic trash bag, a foot long piece of building lumber, some chunks of logs, a ball, or even an old piece of clothing. I had one baby pig who use to spend hours with this arrangement --- take a small child's play pool, put 3 inch layer of  pebbles or dirt into it, then sprinkle handfuls of whole dry corn kernels on top. Mix it up a bit. The baby pig spent time rooting around to find the tidbits of corn. It kept her interest for weeks by just adding a handful of corn each day. She also enjoyed playing with empty plastic soda bottles. I'd fill the bottles with dog food nuggets and then hand her the bottle without a lid on it. She would spend time trying to get the dog food out of the bottle. She gradually outgrown her interest in such diversions, but it helped her when she was alone as a baby.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Su Ba and Thomas, thank you very much for your answers full of kindness!

Play.... They like the same toys as dogs! And I also know the tip to give food "hard to get at" for dogs... (I am a dog behaviorist and clicker trainer...)

I feel enough in the food chain to be able to handle attachment and veganism is probably partially stepping from the lack of this sort of consciousness in children, thus making it a shock to discover that meat eating goes with killing. Plants are killed too, but the less close to us, the easiest. Few people in our world would be able to eat apes for example. And pigs are genetically very close to us, enough for being able to give us organs for grafting...

I have just discovered pigs also like fat, and can indulge too much if they can, enough to get a "fast transit"!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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thomas rubino wrote:Give them good food ,clean water , love and attention. Let them be happy piggys  while they are here and give them an honorable quick end when their day comes, thanking them for their sacrifice.  


Very well said, I fully agree.

I am also aware that no pig would be alive without them being for food, same as all animals we raise. Not eating them is what most shortens their life!
I would not decide to kill them before conception...
And the luxury to have animals as pets is just not very sustainable for the earth....
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Su Ba wrote: I do set traps for rats and mongoose, which I cook before feeding them to the pigs. I cook them whole in an outdoor cooker in a large pot dedicated to pig food. I'm not above throwing a dead chicken into the cook pot either, feathers and all.


haha, I had the same idea already for hens! They love cooked whole rats... so they can eat it easier. Lizards are easier raw than a bigger animal.

Are pigs' digestive system more resistant to molds than us? Spoiled food is a good source of good food. Take sweet potatoes, here they keep less than potatoes, and the main problem is that they start to get moldy. i gave her one, thinking that she would manage to eat what she wants... but with the soil, I could not see what she ate or not...
 
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