Walking Pigs


Walking the North Herd

We took Spitz and his ten lovely ladies for a walk out in the north field. I had needed a distraction for them while Will, Ben and I did some work in their winter paddock area. They tend to nose us hoping for treats so having them off on a walk about made our job go more quickly and smoothly.

Outdoors: 35°F/26°F Partially Sunny, Light Snow
Tiny Cottage: 64°F/59°F

Daily Spark: Imagine a couple named Sam ‘n Ella, hopefully not working in the food industry.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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12 Responses to Walking Pigs

  1. Bill Harshaw says:

    How do pigs walk? Where the boar goes, the ladies must follow? Do you herd pigs, or is it like herding cats?

    • In this case Holly simply took a pail with a little bread and walked out into the north field – the pigs followed eager for a treat. She was also calling – they’re trained from a young age to come to the call, “Heeerreee Piiiig Pig Pig…”

      We also herd pigs and they move very nicely as a group. I’ve never tried to herd cats but I bet I could… :) Especially with our dogs doing much of the work.

      • Daniel says:

        Here’s a challenge for ya…herding chickens! My laying hens absolutely refuse to go inside one moment sooner than they need to before dusk, but wait till that magical moment and they’re in on the perches of their own accord.

        • sue says:

          when you heard chickens..2 ways that work here. make sure you have a reliable dog that doesn’t want to eat them. Mollie my boarder collie does a great job,, her brother has tasted them, so we dont let him heard! The other thing that works of us, is have a 2×2 piece of wood and you strike the ground, sort of close to the chickens and they don’t like the sound and they will go in!!!! works well with ducks too. Its amazing!!! good luck

  2. Nancy Donovan says:

    Hi Walter and family; So nice to see pictures of Spitz and his ladies. We really enjoy following his new life….couldn’t be a better one! We are thinking of a couple of breeder piglets at some point from Spitz. Patrick’s sows have just not worked out to well. Wonderful piglets, not great Mom’s. Going to start a new line. Will be intouch to see what you think. Best to all your family!
    Nancy, Patrick & Brenda

  3. phil says:

    Hi walter. I raise a small herd of pigs, never more then 40 hogs. I had a few questions for you, as i am trying to change some of the ways that i do things but i just dont know how i guess. My pigs are not on pasture. But i also wouldnt call it a pig pen. The paddock they are inis about an acre. One day id like to reclaim some of the forest on my property but at the moment i dont have the time. In the next few years. But in the mean time here are a few of my questions. .since the area my pigs are in is on the smaller side, i have always put each sow in her own farrowing stall basically. As i am scared that the other sows all being so close to eachothers litters would be dangerous for them to run free together. So i guess what im asking is how much space does each sow need to be able to safely have their nests out in the paddock with out disturbing eachother? The stalls that i put them in work very nicely for them, they arent too small as to where they crush their own piglets. They have good room to move about. So with my small area should i just stick to the farrowing stalls or let them nest freely out in the paddock? Usually i have 4 to 5 sows all farrow about the same 3 weeks within eachother. Once they are about 4 weeks old is when i let all the piglets and their mothers roam free. What do you think?

    • A sow has a nest that might be as small as 4’x4′ and a bit oval in shape to as large as 8′ long. A bay that is 8’x12′ makes a good farrowing space filled with wood shavings or hay. Mulch hay works well. Don’t try to place the hay, set it off to the side and let the ladies decorate to their hearts content. Never have humans hand add hay later. They don’t get it right. I have seen many sows who form litters and nests quite close. Then they merge there litters and co-nurse.

      This year we are experimenting with winter bays for farrowing and small pigs that are 12′ wide by 24′ to 48′ in length. Each bay has water, hay for bedding and food, dairy, water and a variety of treats in the form of vegetables, fruits, nuts, ect.

      Some other groups are out on true pasture which is one to ten acres of land.

      A big key is to rotate the animals through the areas so the land has time to recover, the forages regrow and the parasites die off.

      After a few weeks the piglets do run to cohorts and they’ll nurse off of any of the sows.

  4. phil says:

    Hey walter, i forgot to ask my other question. Ok so my pigs are basically out in the woods. And at night there isnt much noise to scare of potential predators. But ive never had a problem with predators coming in my paddock and eating any piglets or attacking any of the hogs for that matter. I would like to chickens in with the pigs, but since they are out in the woods i am not sure if they would attract predators. I know you have dogs, but thats not an option for me. I was wondering if the pigs would still keep the predators away as they do now? Chickens would go inside my hog house at night, but i dont want to have to close a door every night to keep them safe, as i dont do that with the pigs. 1 more thing about the chickens, what do you do when a chicken dies out on pasture and you dont know? Does it not matter if the pigs eat it because its all fresh meat and you no its not rotten? Or does that not happen? I once had a pig in my chicken coop. It lived with them..i removed her because my chickens were old and started to die here and there, and she was eating them. I was wondering what your take was on that since you have pigs and chickens together. Surely you dont catch every chicken die? Its nature isnt it?

    • I would get livestock herding guardian dogs. They are very valuable on the farm. If they find something then you should teach them to bring it to you, leave it alone, put it in the compost, in the trash, etc. If they bring it to you then you can talk with the about it and may find out how it died. If it is good food then feed the dogs. That is the reward for a job well done and you can tech sharing. They need to eat the organs.

      Chickens can also eat meat and thrive on it.

  5. simon says:

    Whenever someone wants my boar to stud, i find its easier to move the whole herd of his sows along, then once he did his job on my neighbors sow, you lead them back to their padock.

  6. Susan Lea says:

    I love that Holly took Spitz and his ladies for a walk!

    I read your related post “Pigs Out.” Reading that and reading your answer above to Phil (“If they bring it to you then you can talk with the about it and may find out how it died.”) made me marvel again at your dogs. I love hearing how you talk to them and how many things they understand and tell you.

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