We raise Tamworth/Berkshire/Old Spot pigs in Southern Ontario Canada. We unfortunately don't have that much pasture but raise 10 pigs between April-September from weaners to 250lbs. We're planning for next year and I've been doing a lot of ready about feeding them spent grain (brewers byproduct) and whey (cheesemakers byproduct). I know the spent grain is great for fiber and protien and the whey also has nutritional benefit but what else should be in their diet? I'm thinking about 40% spend grain, 30% whey but feel like I'm missing the carb component. I'm trying to reduce our costs from purchasing pellet from the feed mill.
Is whey even cheap anymore? I see it in upscale human food products all the time now and apparently there's quite a market for them. I know it was historically fed to pigs but I wonder if that's still economical compared to other protein sources.
I also raise weaners from spring to fall. Only three at a time for me.
I use small rotational paddocks to help supplement my grain. Unfortunately I do not have a commercial dairy or brewery nearby to get waste from. Towards fall they get lots of garden waste and all the apples my trees supply plus any fruit from the neighbors trees.
I am considering training them to a hot wire and allowing them access to selected parts of the field that are not fenced.
If you are able to get spent grain and spoiled milk for a low cost ... hopefully for hauling it away... then the amount of store bought grain (with needed minerals added) should be quite a bit less.
Jessica - the major nutrient in whey is carbohydrates. Googling it will give you the breakdown. The other components can vary based on what the whey is leftover from. That being said if you are looking for more food sources, waste from gardens is always good.
L. Tims - the equipment and regulations to make whey protein powder are not very amenable to small producers, so if you have a small producer around or you have your own whey, feeding to pigs is still a good option.
If you have any waste milk from dairying (eg soured milk or skimmed milk) then these will add extra protein, fat and carbs to the pig feed. If there are any oak trees around then the acorns will be appreciated by the pigs and add all three of these as well.
When I last had pigs, we took old feed bags and a rake with us every time we were out in the car, and gathered acorns from trees in nearby parks, we got quite a bit of food for our two pigs this way.
Whey will provide plenty of carbs, and some protein too.
Windfall apples and any other extra free scraps you can find will feed them too.
If you can raise them in the forest instead of pasture, they might get more of their own feed that way too.
I am interested to hear what you end up feeding them, and how you go with it, as I want to raise more pigs next autumn and am wondering about how to cut down on feed costs while still producing good meat and keeping the pigs happy.