Fields of Pastured Pigs


This is the larger image from which I took my April header for the blog. I had walked out in the field to check the animals and the pigs and sheep were spread out making it look very idyllic. I did not have my camera with me. Unfortunately while I ran back to the house about two thirds of them had followed me home and were waiting at the gate hoping for a treat so the panorama does not include as many as I had hoped. Much of good photography is being lucky – being in the right place at the right time with a camera. Today I shot a red tailed hawk. Again it was a matter of having the camera right there with me so I could get the shot.

Click the image above to see a larger version of the panorama

55째F/34째F, Partly Sunny.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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2 Responses to Fields of Pastured Pigs

  1. jamie says:

    Me and my wife have an acre with no water and we want to raise animals and “live off the land” we don’t want to spend any money if possible can you give me any advise to getting started? For example how much room do they need for grazing?

    • Hmm… One acre and no water. My first thing to do would be to setup water. If you can’t do a well then I would setup a very large cistern tank and rain water catchment. Without knowing your climate it is hard to guess how large a cistern you’ll need. There are a few states out west where this is not allowed but I believe you can do it in most places. The roof of your house is large water catch. Direct all the flow of water from the roof into the cistern. Then work at making everything use that water as efficiently as possible. A swimming pool can make a very good cistern. Reduce evaporation.

      I would minimize the footprint of the land dedicated to house, travel and such. Work to make everything possible green growing space. Gardens, fruit trees and bushes, grazing area, etc. You can produce an amazing amount of food on one acre with intensive gardening. The animals will provide you with natural fertilizer but I suspect you are going to need to import hay for some seasons. In a way that is good as you are importing nutrients to your soils. About 3/4 of the feed you give an animal goes to manure which is then fertilizer for gardens.

      Compost everything you can. Look for free sources of materials. Many horse stables seek people to take their stall cleanings which are a rich mix of manure, urine and sawdust plus some hay. Compost it and you have more fertilizer for your gardens.

      Divide up the acre to nine parts. Rotate between these animals and gardens. If you have a winter season like we do then using a couple as sacrificial paddocks during the winter will get you rich gardening space the next spring for corn, broccoli, pumpkins and such.

      This is enough space to have a pig, some chickens and other small livestock. Plant clover in their forage mix to suck nitrogen out of the air in addition to the carbon they’ll sequester in your soil. See this article about “ How much land per pig” for some ideas on grazing space. The big thing is to move the animals around, even on a small-scale like one acre. This avoids over compaction, over saturation and smell while improving the soil. Read about managed intensive rotational grazing.

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