Animals

We have a variety of animals on our farm that work together to make it sustainable and diverse through co-grazing and natural, organic insect and pest controls. Check out the:

Chickens

Ducks

Dogs

Geese

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Sheep

and of course the pigs and piglets!

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7 Responses to Animals

  1. Karen says:

    I have talked to you before on Homesteading today. You are my go-to guy on pigs. You had just answered a question of mine on canning lard, thanks

    Looking at some of your pictures. You talk about herds. You have pictures of sows with their babies. Do you let the boars run with the herd? So that when they are ready and the sow is ready they mate?

    I am questioning because someone had made the comment about a sow getting bred before she has weaned her piglets and that ruining the sow. It has me a little concerned because I think my sow has been gotten to by the boars—they broke the gate more than once on me.

    • Yes, our herds are mixed sex most of the time. Currently Spitz is the dominant boar in the north with about 45 sows plus piglets and Zoro is the dominant boar in the south with his ladies, growers, roaster pigs and finishers. There are often one or more upcoming sub-boars in a herd.

      If we wish to not have litters, such as when I know we’re coming up on an intense construction phase, we move open sows out of the boar herds to control the breeding. The boars stay with gestating sows or other boars during these times.

      As a general rule most sows don’t reheat until about a week after they wean. A sow breeding before weaning won’t ruin her at all. That is a myth. Our Blackie line tends to rebreed early, while still nursing, by their choice. Fencing Blackie in just resulted in her jumping high fences to get to the boars and then jumping back to her piglets. She, and her daughters, rebred early many, many times and produce fine litters.

  2. dani says:

    Hi i havent had a chance to look theoigh your whole website but i am wondering if you strictly feed hay in winter and no grain. I have been doing some research.into.this because we are about to pick up 8 100lbs pigs and i would like ro hay feed them.all winter ia this ok to do. Also i would like to keep two sows from.this batch and buy an.unrelated boar will it be ok to.introduce a.different and also younger pig to the group they are all about 4-5 minths old. Thank yoi for your time and i appreciate your site in eveey way and all.of the knowledge you are sharing.
    Kindest regards Dani @Copious Keep

    • dani says:

      Ok i have.looked through more of your website and have read the answer for feedibg hay all winter, this is really an amazing site and is so refreshing and i have to say what you are doing is the vision i have for my.lil farm. A couple more.questions though….. I can buy hay that has alot of.clover in it for.my pigs should i go for that or just normal horse hay? The pigs i am.purchasing have been fes grain their whole.life after weaning they are almost 5 months.old is switching them.over to hay going to be ok ? Do you have any suggestions on that? I like to fish alot and we have a good lake with plenty of fisb 5 kms away the fish is delicious ubfortunatley is full of bones would it be ok to feed that as a source of protien? Do you think.it woud make the.meat tast different? And to.clear up my fira my firat post i will be buying 8 pigs that are almost 5 month and apparently 100lbs i also want to buy a boar from a different seller that is aeound 60 lbs and 4 months will there be any problems introducing and keeping them.together will they beat up the little guy? Out of the 8 we will be.selling a few putting some.in a freezer and keeping to sows for breeding and then hopefully have the ubrelted boar with the two sows. OH ! That just made.me think.of nother question once we are done to.our two sows and boar can we just keep.them together and let.nature.take.its.coarse as far as breeding? Also do you cook the meat you feed your chickens? Sorey so.many questions i cant help myself im so happy to have found someone with suck knowledge
      Thank you
      Dani @Copious Keep
      P.s. I apologize for all the typos , typing so.much from a cell.phone.is challengingas i cannot.always see what i am typing

      • Pasture/hay for the basis of the diet we feed our pigs. See the Pig Page which is in the menu bar above under Animals. We supplement with dairy (primarily whey) most of the time as available. Sometimes we have apples, sometimes pumpkins, beets, turnips in season, etc. Higher legume levels such as clover are higher in protein and good. If you are trying to transition, do it slowly and gradually. It could take a generation or more. See the articles about feeding hay for a lot more information about the hay we feed and how we feed hay. Note that there are interactions between feeds that makes them more digestible. Pigs that have been fed grain their whole lives may not know how to eat hay, may not have the culture for eating hay and may not have the digestive tract (e.g., length) or gut bacteria for eating pasture and hay.

        I have heard of people feeding fish to pigs. I’ve never done it. What I hear is that it gives a fishy taste to the pork. The recommendation is to switch them to a corn diet for the last few months – thus only feed fish to the pigs when they’re young.

        100 lbs at five months is rather small. What breed are they that they’re that small?

        You should introduce them across a fence line. Then open both of their areas to a new area but allow them to freely return to their own area. Provide a banquet. There will be some tussling to determine who is boss – this is natural.

        We keep our boars and sows together most of the time. In the warm months the sows go off to build a nest in a private space in the field. In the winter we provide them with privacy in one of our open sheds or huts.

  3. dani says:

    Ok im sorry im sorry one more questions…we just started raising rabbits for meat could we feed rabbit meat to the pigs and chickens for extra protien through the winter.months ?
    Thank you
    Dani @ Copious Keep

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