Fence Lines


Pigs a Plenty

That is a hawk’s eye view of weaner and grower pigs in the atrium winter garden area. These guys are enough different in size that it is best if they don’t sleep together on cold nights or the little guys snuggle deep into the pile and end up pancakes. Later they’ll all be able to be together.

Being neighbors a cross a fence like this means they get to know each other gently over time, a good introduction. Later we’ll open a door between the two spaces so the little guys can go back and forth at their discretion, still able to retreat to their own space. This prevents the bigger ones from bullying the smaller pigs.

The worst way to introduce a new pig, or chicken or other animal, to an existing group is to simply dump it in. In a situation like that the newcomer may get beaten to death as an outsider. Better to let them get to know each other slowly.

In the words of poet Robert Frost, “Good fences make good neighbors.

Outdoors: 45°F/24°F Mostly Sunny, 1/2″ Rain
Farm House: 31°F/31°F
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/61°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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11 Responses to Fence Lines

  1. Rosalyn says:

    Walter – have you heard of the method of introducing chickens to an existing flock that has you adding new chickens at night while the others are roosting?

    I’ve done this a couple of times, fairly successfully – but mine are free range so they aren’t in each other’s faces too much…

  2. Janelle says:

    thanks for the reminder :) We will be getting 2 or more batches of pigs this year.

  3. Purplehaze75 says:

    Hey Walter,

    My name is Larry and I’m from Minnesota. I’ll be trying my hand at raising pigs next month (gonna start out with 3 Little pigs). I have been reading alot of your blogs and notice you feed whey to your pigs. Do you get the whey in powder form, and if you do, do you just mix it with water? I have a guy who says he can get bags of feed grade dairy whey for me. Your plan of feeding pasture/hay,whey and vegetables really appeals to me. I just want to make sure I do it right. Sorry so long, just so many questions going through my head. Thanks!

  4. Larry,

    We get the whey in liquid form. If you were getting powdered it should take very little for three pigs. Our pigs eat about 3.6 gallons of whey per hundred weight. See this article and also this one.

    A good book to get is “Small Scale Pig Raising” by Dirk von Loon.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

  5. Purplehaze75 says:

    Is there any chance that you know how much powder it would take to make a gallon of whey?

  6. Larry,

    I don’t know how much whey powder it takes to make a gallon. I’ve never worked with dry whey. I wonder if the directions on the bag might actually specify it too strong for the pigs since it is merely meant as a feed additive. I tried Googling but most of what I found is for body builders. If the protein levels are too high it can ‘burn out’ the growing pigs I’ve read and give them scours (diarrhea) as well. Try at a low level and work it up. As they get older they need less protein percent-wise in their diet.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

  7. ChristyACB says:

    I know those pigs are food in my head, but they are just too cute to resist! I have no idea why I find young pigs so adorable…

  8. I think that the cuteness factor is evolutionarily programmed into our brains. Think about cartoon characters, especially animĂŠ. The round faces, big eyes, the look… It’s all designed to make us want to cuddle them up and take care of them. Otherwise we would get turned off by the obnoxious part of babies. :) It works really well.

    These features are deep in our brains, way down past the ‘civilized’ parts, so deep that we’ll take care of other species babies and they’ll take care of ours. Thus the stories of Romulus & Remus and all the other wild children. I find it particularly interesting that wolves are the primary domesticators of human children when they find them although bears, cattle, gazelle, monkeys and other species have been said to have done it too.

    Of course, then the cute little children grow up and have faces like this and this that only a farmer could love. :) Pig’s don’t really make good pets, at least not farm pigs, unless you have a farm.[1, 2] even then the feed bill is enormous and the manure management is an issue. Think several tons a year – great if you have a garden though… That was the original reason we got livestock – for the manure.

  9. Mellifera says:

    It’s true, them little blobs excel at mind control. ; )

    Speaking of evolution and babies, here’s an interesting link. (My favorite quote: “Anthropologists have recently made the *startling* discovery that babies have entertainment value.”)

  10. Edison says:

    It is good idea.

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