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We had kicked around the idea of getting pigs for a couple of years now. This year we finally decided to just do it. You can read about how we got started with our pastured pigs here. It was quite the roller coaster ride!
Feeding Pastured Pigs
Before we got our pigs we looked up information on-line and in books on what and how much to feed them. We found a lot of differing opinions and really didn’t know what to expect. We knew we would be raising them outside in a large wooded lot. They would have plenty of room to root around and forage for grubs, acorns, and the like but would need more than that to fatten them up.
We decided that we would feed the pigs scraps as well as a non-gmo mix of corn, peas, and whole oats (grown organically, just not certified). We purchased three hundred pounds of feed from a local mill. Surprisingly to us, we have only fed about seventy-five pounds of it to all three pigs in a month. We are soaking their feed in water to help it ferment and aid in the pigs’ digestion of it.
We are surprised by how much food scraps we accumulate in a day’s time. We have been able to feed them kitchen scraps such as left-overs from meals, chicken bones (if I’m not making stock), vegetable scraps, and egg shells. Basically everything that we don’t eat gets fed to the pigs.
The pigs have also been fed all of the plants that we have pulled out of the garden such as green bean plants, corn stalks, cucumber vines, along with any overgrown or overripe vegetables from the garden. If you have a family milk cow you can feed your pigs sour milk or whey left over from cheese making.
More and more I see how a farm truly can be self sustaining as each animal and product of the farm works together to complete a circle. The left overs from the chickens we raised for butcher are now helping us grow more meat. We are able to turn food scraps that we would have composted or had to throw away into pork. Nothing on a farm has to go to waste.
This is definitely a learning experience for us. So far, we are pleased with our results. Our pigs have more than doubled in size since we got them a month ago. I guess you could say that they are little porkers (insert cheesy grin here).
Pigs are very social creatures and have quickly learned that when they see us we usually have something good for them. They all let us pet them and aren’t aggressive at all. It is fun and exciting for our family to go out and feed the pigs together. In the end we will all enjoy the fresh non-gmo cuts of pork from our pastured pigs. Bacon, anyone?
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