Fall Pastured Pigs


Pigs on Fall Pastures – Click for the Big Picture

It was one of those crystal clear blue sky days, the grass is greeen, the pigs are, well, of many colored coats and so are the hills. I hollered, Peeeeeiiiig, Piiig, Piiig! and they came a-running.

The pigs in this group range from month old piglets to a six year old sow Mouse who weighs about 700 lbs. The chickens, standard heritage birds, and the fence posts give a sense of size.

This is up in the south field section five paddock near the upper pond. The grass there gives a sense of what pigs are like on mature pasture. In newer brushier pastures they root much more, digging up the shrubs to get at grubs and tubers. Once the pasture is predominantly grass, clover and other similar plants the pigs switch to a grazing style more like sheep and cattle. To encourage rooting – rotate them more slowly, ideally on wetter soils. To encourage grazing rotate the pigs more quickly.

So how many pigs can you count? How many chickens can you count? Do you see any other animal species? Click on the image and zoom in even further to get the Big Picture. Leave answers in comments.

Outdoors: 57°F/36°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 67°F/65°F

Daily Spark:
One can never have enough shoes… -Imelda Marcos
One can never have enough land… -W. Jeffries

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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10 Responses to Fall Pastured Pigs

  1. ranch101 says:

    I count 30 pigs and 7 chickens. There’s a brown blur (upper left quadrant) – one of your dogs? perhaps a couple of song birds in the trees. My eyes and monitor are just not good enough for this game :)

  2. huck says:

    Hello Walter,

    How much do those chickens weight; how much do those month old piglets weigh? Either those are really big birds or their location within the image distorts their size. I have a feeling it’s a combination of the two.

    Cheers,

    Huck

  3. Hello Walter,

    We’ve just recently purchased 5 piglets of about 30 lbs each. For the past few weeks they’ve been staying in our brooder house (since the first night with us they decided to check out the neighbours a couple of miles away!) We’d love for them to enjoy our alfalpha and broam grass pasture but we do not have fencing. The only fencing we have is the chicken pen with mesh wire and another pen for the horse with barbed wire. Do you have any suggestions? It would be great to let them dig around the garden (aprox. 100sq feet) and root up all the alfalpha and grass to prepare it for gardening, but again, no fencing. We are new to raising animals, especially pigs and appreciate any suggestions you may have.

    Thanks so much for your blog.
    Audrey

    • You’ll need fencing. I would suggest a physical barrier, it could be as simple as tight chicken wire with the bottom pegged, and then an electric line or two inside of that. This is worth doing even for a small space like the garden. Better yet, divide the garden into four smaller sections and rotate them through that. I assume by 100 sq feet you mean 100’x100′ which would be a good size and not 100 sq-ft which would be too small.

  4. Eileen says:

    Audrey & Kelly, we had really good luck last year with electric net fence (the kind from Premier) — there are versions that are only 35″ and 42″ tall and have a nice generous ground-clearance for the first electrified wire, so the dirt the pigs pile against the fence doesn’t short it out.

    I gather that excited, full-grown pigs can plow right through this kind of fencing but it was fine for our pigs last year; they learned early that their soft moist noses are very sensitive to the shocks!

    Definitely figure out a way to get the pigs in your future garden space; I am looking at my bumper crop of watermelons (16 full size! In northern NH!) and will tell anyone who listens that pig poop is the fertilizer of champions.

    • I am very jealous of your melons, Eileen. I got one. One little one. I got too late a start.

      On the netting, we find it works quite well. Some tricks are to clip the bottom two wires at the end posts, peg the bottom between vertical stays and to tension the corners of the fence – a diagonal rope and peg outside the fenced area works or a tree. As you noted, big pigs can rip right through but once trained they do tend to be very respectful of the fence.

  5. Stacey says:

    We are using a ‘pig tractor ‘ to ready a garden spot for next year. It is 8×16. It’s built from 3 swine panels and scrap 2×4’s. Also had some scrap roof metal to cover half of it. We move it every couple of days. Works really well. The Gator can even move it. I do have to use the tractor at the end of the row to turn it around. It only took the guys a few moves to figure out they were fixing to get some fresh ground when it was moved.

  6. Gary says:

    Do you use farrowing crates I have been told sows get mean with babies around? Any thoughts would be helpful!

    • No, we do not use gestation or farrowing crates. We breed for good temperament. Yes, a sow is, and should be defensive of your offspring, to a degree. Make caution around them. They are big animals, very powerful and can bite as well as stepping on you or rubbing you up against a rock, wall or post.

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