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#1 2016-04-12 11:10:53

Journey's End
Moderator
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-08-03
Posts: 2211

Is grain necessary?

I'm getting my spring pigs on Saturday. 3 of them. I'm wondering, if they have a varied diet of potatoes, mangels, milk, weeds, leftovers (bread, peelings, and cracked eggs), and whatever else I find them, do they absolutely need grain? I'm trying to find a cheaper way of feeding them.


Homesteading, homeschooling, hillbilly mama of three.

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#2 2016-04-12 13:08:28

CathyJK
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From: Near Invermere, BC
Registered: 2012-12-02
Posts: 1199

Re: Is grain necessary?

The extra effort with feeding different foods is ensuring the right nutritional pieces. For pigs lysine is really important.

You would need to figure out the protein calcium carb and lysine amounts in the food u are planning to give and then find out what is required by age of piggy

For sure milk is brilliant as a weaning food.

I can see if i can find some articles on how to figure the quality of feed so maybe you could find a reasonable balance.

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#3 2016-04-12 13:44:33

Journey's End
Moderator
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-08-03
Posts: 2211

Re: Is grain necessary?

I've been reading up on lysine and it says that milk is a very good source. Almost as good as soy. Because of the goats we have lots of milk to spare, especially since my best two are just coming into milk now.


Homesteading, homeschooling, hillbilly mama of three.

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#4 2016-04-12 14:10:31

mountainharvest
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From: Creston
Registered: 2012-01-30
Posts: 1308

Re: Is grain necessary?

You also must take in to account the breed of pigs...pigs bred for confinement will just not fare well on pasture and veggie supplements, heritage breeds are better for this.

Your pigs will grow, but it will be slow growth. (which is better for flavor development) and probably will not put on as much fat as if they were fed a commercial diet.  Keep alfalfa hay in their diet, up to 40%.  Because they are only feeders and will be slaughtered, I don't think you will have to worry about any major deficiencies, they just won't live long enough to have them...but I would not breed them without knowing protein levels of feed, mineral deficiencies etc, as your fertility and or litters would potentially suffer.  (Grains by themselves are deficient in a lot of things as well, so need to be supplemented with a premix and hay for maximum health.) 

If you have access to milk, that's great, but too much will give the pork a pale appearance, and loose texture.  A gallon per pig is the max I would go, per day, with their veg and hay. 

I think your pigs will do just fine, and be delicious, just a matter of making sure that you can provide enough feedstuff with what you have...once they are 70-100 lbs, they will need at least 7lbs a day, per pig of feed to maintain condition and put on weight.  And be prepared to feed them for up to 8-10 months to finished live weight (250 is what we aimed for to have a nice carcass size and finish) on a homemade diet, depending on breed.


Small flock of mixed heritage chickens for glorious eggs, bee keepers, team of Percherons & of course cats and dogs, pedigreed Champagne d'Argent rabbits.  Wife, cheesemaker, baker, organic gardener, & pooper-scooper extrordinaire, and mama to two beautiful, energetic babes and number 3 'in the oven' and due in June!!

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#5 2016-04-12 15:40:32

Journey's End
Moderator
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-08-03
Posts: 2211

Re: Is grain necessary?

Thanks. They're just the basic production pigs. We got them from this guy last year and they did well on oats/barley with the extras added. But I can't get the cheap grain this year so it'll be premix from the feed store. They'll be about 3 months I think, farmer said they're older and bigger this year but I don't know how much older yet. We're planning to butcher in October, any later and our yard gets muddy and hard to load.

I'll probably do some premix grain and give lots of other goodies to suppliment. Just to be on the safe side.


Homesteading, homeschooling, hillbilly mama of three.

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#6 2016-04-12 15:40:37

ross
Growing Member
From: Parkhill/Thedford Ont .
Registered: 2015-07-16
Posts: 54

Re: Is grain necessary?

When I raised um like you are gonna do I added small amount of  a pig grower supplement in a wet mash once a day . Seemed to work . Luck

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#7 2016-04-13 16:50:46

Visitor
I Love A.C.E.
From: Where the wind blows
Registered: 2010-05-13
Posts: 3251

Re: Is grain necessary?

Mine are ready for slaughter and I bought a Chop feed , mixed every day for 24 hours and then feed , along with hay and bales , straw , they did very well , but feed costs keep going up so myself I am looking for a farmmer where I can source out of ,nephew has a friend who has a grinder so I can send a couple of barrels through in minutes , I did see a new breed advertised as a pig that only needs grass to grow , some Asian breed , ad is running on kijiji . Most times specialty substitute feeds cost more ..........

http://i1109.photobucket.com/albums/h423/09151960/untitled_zpszfpnakjo.png

I believe a certain amount of grain is needed in most domestic breeds

Last edited by prairie dog (2016-04-13 16:54:21)

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#8 2016-04-13 20:12:58

Journey's End
Moderator
From: PEI
Registered: 2009-08-03
Posts: 2211

Re: Is grain necessary?

Do pallets keep them in? I'd love to put mine outside but don't want to be chasing pigs through my gardens lol. We have easy access to pallets. How do you keep the pallets in place?


Homesteading, homeschooling, hillbilly mama of three.

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#9 2016-04-13 20:19:30

CathyJK
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From: Near Invermere, BC
Registered: 2012-12-02
Posts: 1199

Re: Is grain necessary?

The only thing i have that works with pigs all the time is electrical fence

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#10 2016-04-13 21:19:13

Visitor
I Love A.C.E.
From: Where the wind blows
Registered: 2010-05-13
Posts: 3251

Re: Is grain necessary?

Journey's End wrote:

Do pallets keep them in? I'd love to put mine outside but don't want to be chasing pigs through my gardens lol. We have easy access to pallets. How do you keep the pallets in place?

Not pallets , rather fencing with wood slabs from my mill , posts are pounded in , cross members attached ( facing the interior ) and then the slabs nailed on .....no problems so far ? I will be making a enclosure with page wire once I can pound the poles in , then a solar fencer . More grazing area and also hen they farrow the little ones get a taste of the outdoors sooner

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#11 2016-04-13 22:03:56

Butterboy
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From: Calgary, Ab
Registered: 2012-01-24
Posts: 407

Re: Is grain necessary?

I have heard of pigs being raised with our grain by using silage.

If a good mixed silage including a cereal(like wheat) and a legume (like peas) is used, I suspect that the amount of grain fed could be a the very least reduced, if not removed all together.

Not so good for small scale, as silage can be a bit of a pain, but I think this has huge potential in commercial operations!


I just want to FARM!

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#12 2016-04-14 18:29:57

mountainharvest
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From: Creston
Registered: 2012-01-30
Posts: 1308

Re: Is grain necessary?

CathyJK wrote:

The only thing i have that works with pigs all the time is electrical fence

Completely agree...electric is the only sure fire way to keep them where you want them... we have field fence with electric nose height, as they tend to root at the fence line and when feel it, push up, not to be nasty, but because something is there, I think.  I've seen a lot of pallet pens, and those people are chasing pigs more often than not...they would work great, if you have hot wire in too, plus they will stand up on the pallets at feed time, and a 200+ lb feeder is no lightweight!

When training to hotwire, remember that pigs tend to run through when 'hit' not back off like other livestock, so keep them in a very secure pen to train them.  Once they get it a couple of times they know to move back and then can be safely in an electrified pen.  Ours could be kept on pasture with one or 2 hot wires strung on plastic step in horse fence posts.  High tensile wire is best, as if you get a short due to weeds, or sod tossed on, the pigs will test the fence, and chew the plastic horse wire, rendering it useless...oh, and they will occasionally test the fences, too ;) so have a tester and walk it every day at least, checking for shortages.  In a night, we had a pig dig under the fence when down the line the hot wire had mud on it.


Small flock of mixed heritage chickens for glorious eggs, bee keepers, team of Percherons & of course cats and dogs, pedigreed Champagne d'Argent rabbits.  Wife, cheesemaker, baker, organic gardener, & pooper-scooper extrordinaire, and mama to two beautiful, energetic babes and number 3 'in the oven' and due in June!!

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#13 2016-04-14 23:00:13

Visitor
I Love A.C.E.
From: Where the wind blows
Registered: 2010-05-13
Posts: 3251

Re: Is grain necessary?

mountainharvest wrote:

CathyJK wrote:

The only thing i have that works with pigs all the time is electrical fence

Completely agree...electric is the only sure fire way to keep them where you want them... we have field fence with electric nose height, as they tend to root at the fence line and when feel it, push up, not to be nasty, but because something is there, I think.  I've seen a lot of pallet pens, and those people are chasing pigs more often than not...they would work great, if you have hot wire in too, plus they will stand up on the pallets at feed time, and a 200+ lb feeder is no lightweight!

When training to hotwire, remember that pigs tend to run through when 'hit' not back off like other livestock, so keep them in a very secure pen to train them.  Once they get it a couple of times they know to move back and then can be safely in an electrified pen.  Ours could be kept on pasture with one or 2 hot wires strung on plastic step in horse fence posts.  High tensile wire is best, as if you get a short due to weeds, or sod tossed on, the pigs will test the fence, and chew the plastic horse wire, rendering it useless...oh, and they will occasionally test the fences, too ;) so have a tester and walk it every day at least, checking for shortages.  In a night, we had a pig dig under the fence when down the line the hot wire had mud on it.

Not sure I agree completely , electric works on "most " animals , some it's like a challenge ? Growing up we tried electric fencing on hogs ,for the most part they learned real quick .....but ! ...always a but ! a couple would investigate , get zapped and tear forward tearing the wire etc , finally put two strands which was a lot better , but for myself I'll use page wire along with the fencer , kinda like a double security . My Cousin had a steer( sorry a bit off topic )  WHICH WOULD JUST WALK THROUGH THE FENCE WIRE , YOU COULD SEE HER JOLT WITH EACH HIT , BUT SHE WALKED ! That fencer would burn through what ever touched it , seen a massive bull knocked to it's knees ..........just saying

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#14 2016-04-14 23:16:21

mags
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Lac la hache, B.C.
Registered: 2015-06-08
Posts: 606

Re: Is grain necessary?

we don't give our pigs grain, lots of scraps though, we do give them crushed oat and barley pellets.


PEOPLE WHO COUNT THEIR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY HATCH ARE VERY WISE, FOR CHICKENS RUN ABOUT SO ABSURDLY THAT YOU CAN'T COUNT THEM OTHERWISE. smile :D
a nice little farm between 100 mile house and Williams Lake with some cornish, buckeye, Cochin, Orpington and mutt chickens, beef and milk cows, tamworth/berkshire pigs, dogs, gardens and cats.

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#15 2016-04-15 04:06:12

mountainharvest
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Creston
Registered: 2012-01-30
Posts: 1308

Re: Is grain necessary?

prairie dog wrote:

mountainharvest wrote:

CathyJK wrote:

The only thing i have that works with pigs all the time is electrical fence

Completely agree...electric is the only sure fire way to keep them where you want them... we have field fence with electric nose height, as they tend to root at the fence line and when feel it, push up, not to be nasty, but because something is there, I think.  I've seen a lot of pallet pens, and those people are chasing pigs more often than not...they would work great, if you have hot wire in too, plus they will stand up on the pallets at feed time, and a 200+ lb feeder is no lightweight!

When training to hotwire, remember that pigs tend to run through when 'hit' not back off like other livestock, so keep them in a very secure pen to train them.  Once they get it a couple of times they know to move back and then can be safely in an electrified pen.  Ours could be kept on pasture with one or 2 hot wires strung on plastic step in horse fence posts.  High tensile wire is best, as if you get a short due to weeds, or sod tossed on, the pigs will test the fence, and chew the plastic horse wire, rendering it useless...oh, and they will occasionally test the fences, too ;) so have a tester and walk it every day at least, checking for shortages.  In a night, we had a pig dig under the fence when down the line the hot wire had mud on it.

Not sure I agree completely , electric works on "most " animals , some it's like a challenge ? Growing up we tried electric fencing on hogs ,for the most part they learned real quick .....but ! ...always a but ! a couple would investigate , get zapped and tear forward tearing the wire etc , finally put two strands which was a lot better , but for myself I'll use page wire along with the fencer , kinda like a double security . My Cousin had a steer( sorry a bit off topic )  WHICH WOULD JUST WALK THROUGH THE FENCE WIRE , YOU COULD SEE HER JOLT WITH EACH HIT , BUT SHE WALKED ! That fencer would burn through what ever touched it , seen a massive bull knocked to it's knees ..........just saying

Yes, that is why pigs should be introduced in a secure fenced area until they get the fence 'bites', and leave it be or jump away, not into and through, as most will run through, not back off- our young ones literally would run through, and bounce off the other fence at first, all the while getting zapped as it was just the inch insulators on the posts, then settle and stand statue still in the safe center of the paddock, giving the fence the evil eye.  Feel sorry for the little dummies, but they learned fast that it hurt to touch, and still bites your butt on the other side, too! (as for the steer, some animals just aren't right in the head :confused: and the grass is just too green on the other side :duh: )


Small flock of mixed heritage chickens for glorious eggs, bee keepers, team of Percherons & of course cats and dogs, pedigreed Champagne d'Argent rabbits.  Wife, cheesemaker, baker, organic gardener, & pooper-scooper extrordinaire, and mama to two beautiful, energetic babes and number 3 'in the oven' and due in June!!

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