Sunday, 21 July 2013

Pasture Pigs

                        I have been trying to make the push to have my pigs solely on pasture but it is proving to be more difficult then I thought. Now that we have the spent grain coming in once in awhile we do now only feed them that about every other day (sometimes everyday though if the grain isn't going to keep) as well as scraps and apples off of our many trees. Still, when I researched into Berkshire and Large Black pigs one of my main drives for the breed was foraging and grazing ability. It could be that I got the pigs at an older age (8 months and one year) so they weren't use to having an area to graze.
                             When we first decided to try and force them to eat more pasture and rely on us less we decided to give them feed every second day, but two weeks in a row on the second day they found a way to escape our paddocks. They have about 6 acres so it's not lack of area. This is when my fiancée put a stop to not feeding them more frequently as he didn't want to be worrying about them getting out. Since then we have upgraded our fencing to electric wire on all fencing but we still feeding them more grain then I would like to. I do wonder, do the escapes and the frequency of feeding coincide? I'm not sure. From research I have done 6 pigs should be able to more then sustain themselves on 6 acres of pasture but they seem to get so hungry. This could also be my lack of knowledge thinking that they need food when really if I just left them they would go out and graze on their own.
                        We fed them the last of our spent grain on Thursday and left them over the weekend. I was anxious to get home to make sure everybody was okay and all seems well. I think we are on the right path. I have heard other people talk of getting a goat or a sheep to teach the pigs how to graze. I do see them grazing all the time so I don't think it's that I think they just have to not rely on us as much. So the game continues, but now I think I might be winning!

On our walk down to the watering hole

I really really hope that Mumma is pregnant. Her due date is around middle of august. If she isn't I am back into my dilemna of not really wanting a boar but not wanting my girls to have to be transferred all over the place for a breeding which is stressful on all of us. Keep your fingers crossed for piglets!