That said, when you’re raising pigs, larger isn’t always better – sometimes, in fact, less can actually be more. 11 Years. We are enrolled in the Amazon Associates program, so we may earn a commission if you purchase something from Amazon after clicking one of our links. The benefit of using portable electric fencing is that it can be moved quickly and easily. Thread starter #1 canaan In the Brooder. If you want to improve a pasture for other animals to use later on (particularly animals that are more selective about their forage type, like cows or sheep) then pigs are the way to go. preserving America’s original homestead hog — the American Guinea Hog (AGH), ensuring the AGH population is both healthy and genetically diverse, and; educating members and the public about the attributes of this rare, heritage breed. Many pastured pork producers fill the feeder with just the right amount of feed for the pasture available. With any luck, your pigs will train to the electric quite quickly. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Although the answer depends, a good rule of thumb would be 30 pigs per acre of land. For feeders, that works out to about 130 square feet per pig. For the most part, parasites lay eggs that first pass through a pig’s digestive system before hatching on the ground. On the high end of things, you may be able to get by with 100 feeders or ten sows per acre, but you will have to really manage the land properly to avoid problems. Sure. I’ll tell you how to do this later in the article…. One of the easiest ways to raise pigs is to make the most of the land you have with rotational grazing. If you plan on raising pigs in a small area, you better make sure your fences are tight and secure – because your pigs are always going to be trying to bust free. If you’re raising a pig in that little space, it’s likely to get lonely, too. Because there is no hard and fast answer on how many pigs you can raise per acre! I want to find out more about these Guinea Hogs. Your goals and what you are feeding your pigs, of course, will impact this ratio. On the other hand, shorter rotations are warranted if you are trying to protect very high-quality forages. Therefore, they do need some grain in order to grow properly. However, a lower rate is better to start with. If you’re new to rotational grazing and aren’t quite sure when you should move your pigs, a good rule of thumb is to move them once they’ve eaten about 200 pounds of grain. Pastured pork gets lots of attention these days, and pasturing pigs can be good for the pigs, the soil, and the farmer’s pocket. Finally, raising pigs in too little space isn’t recommended for one other reason: it will make your life a million times harder. Pigs have single stomachs that are meant to digest just a little bit of everything (kind of like ours). Pigs that are hardy in your weather conditions and can withstand the rays of the sun are also key. For example, one sow weighing 500 pounds is going to have the same impact on the land as ten pigs weighing fifty pounds each. Ideally, your forage should be about knee-high by the time your pigs return to it. You also can’t rely on the pasture alone to support your pigs. The pigs still just get a little bit at a time, but you won’t have to move the house. . Required fields are marked *. That works out to two to four pounds of pig per square foot. Probably not. Letting pasture rest rather than constantly re-exposing those pigs to the parasites can reduce your reliance on chemical wormers. However, there are lots of variables that can affect this, such as what kind of land you have, what their housing situation looks like, and what breed of pig you are raising (just to name a few). Portable housing for shade or for warmth will keep your pigs comfortable. The number of pigs per acre is called the stocking rate. Pigs are smart and will quickly learn to avoid the electric fence. By moving the pigs at regular intervals, you can make sure that all parts of the pasture get used and fertilized equally. With rotational grazing, pigs aren’t given free reign of the pasture or woodlot. If so, what do you think of them? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You’ll also want to use portable housing for shade or for warmth, during the cooler months, although if your pasture has shaded areas you may not need housing at all in the summer. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When pigs root, they generally only do so a few inches deep into the soil. If there are no pigs around when those eggs hatch, the parasites will die. Ten feeder pigs at 65 pounds have the same impact on the soil as one sow that weighs 650 pounds. Quick rotations are essential, though, because otherwise, pigs can do a ton of damage. Building permanent fences for rotational grazing is possible, but it’s very expensive. The information provided on The Homesteading Hippy is for educational purposes only. Parasite life cycles can be broken with this method, too. In a rotational grazing system, the pigs are only given access to a small part of the pasture at any given time. New producers should aim for a stocking density of about 20,000 pounds per acre. This can lead to tail biting and other problems that will affect the welfare of your pigs. Portable electric net systems are the strongest and easy to move, but can be expensive. It’s tough to say that you should only have x amount of pigs per acre because pig sizes, ability to digest forage, pasture quality, location, weather, and seasons of the year all can affect this number. Otherwise, use an insulated reel for poly twine along with fiberglass or cedar posts. Generally, you can keep up to 30 pigs per acre. Use plastic barrels that can be quickly moved for water. When you raise pigs in close quarter and don’t give them enough space, a medley of issues can arise. Pig size, forage availability, financial goals, and overall farm goals all affect the actual number of pigs you can put on an acre. Some good pig breeds for you to consider include: Consider the disposition of your pigs, too, as more docile pigs are easier to raise on limited space than more aggressive pigs. You may find that, after your pigs have grazed as ection of forest or pasture, better pasture develops, and is later suitable for other, more difficult to feed species like sheep and cows. Please seek professional help when needed. If you’re reading this article, it’s probably safe to assume that you are interested in raising pigs on pasture. He cures pork and makes his own sausages. Pigs train well to electric fencing, but the key here is making sure your pigs never have access to a fence that is not “hot.” Once pigs realize that they can get through a certain section of fence, they will never stop trying to break free. Some people actually advocate against raising pigs on pasture or forestland, arguing that pigs’ rooting habits can totally destroy a pasture. Why pounds and not pigs? Rather than giving your pigs hundreds of acres to forage on, think of how you can use your pasture most efficiently. Your pasture plants may bounce back faster and more vigorously than they would before, allowing you to “scale up” your operation over time. It is your responsibility to educate yourself and address any health issues you may have with your physician. Your goals and what you are feeding your pigs, of course, will impact this ratio. Often, this is the area near the edges, where a preferred forage species is growing, or where new plants are growing. If you shrink the paddock size and then just move your pigs often, you’ll dramatically increase your efficiency. Moving yourr pigs often will give them ample time to clear underbrush, like roots and brambles. Pigs come in a wide range of sizes. After a few days, your pigs are moved to a new spot, giving the old spot time to rest. If you plan on raising pigs on pasture, you’ll want to choose pigs that are good at foraging. On the other hand, there are many horror stories about the damage pigs do to pastures. I have AGH, and want them raised on pasture, and I want to know how many of those hogs per acre without overgrazing and rooting. On the low end, that works out to 50 feeder pigs or just five grown sows per acre. If you have six paddocks set up for the pigs to rotate through, each one will be used for about a week then rested for five weeks. Stock density is the number of pigs in a specific area at a specific moment. All rights reserved. As you might expect, pigs raised in close quarters are also more likely to get sick. Some of the reviews on this site may be compensated by the companies whose products were reviewed. I recently met a local breeder who is offering an unrelated breeding pair for sale, and I am very tempted. The longer you can give your plants, the better. They gobble up grass and weeds as voraciously as you and I might eat a delicious chocolate brownie! It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Grown sows need around 1,300 square feet per pig in a rotational system. Put the house and water at the center of your grazing area, then set up the grazing boundaries like the spokes of a wheel. Knowing how to use your space effectively will be much better than giving your pigs unlimited room to roam. There are three good results from this kind of system. Not only will the plants bounce back more easily, but you won’t have to worry quite as much about parasites, either. Depending on the size of pigs, each rotation will need to have: Aaron Cummins operates a small farm in the Cross Timbers region of Texas. They are like miniature tilling machines! If you’re thinking about raising pigs, you might be asking yourself, “how many pigs should you have per acre of land?” The answer might surprise you. Therefore, the question should not be, “how many pigs should you have per acre of land?” but instead, “what are the best ways to manage pigs on pasture?”. Stocking rate is the total number of pigs per acre over time. Is anybody raising these? You might have issues with fighting if you’re raising multiple pigs without enough space. Solar energizers are adequate for the short runs of fencing required for rotational grazing. Third, manure is evenly distributed through the larger area. Rooting and wallowing damage will be less in any particular part of the pasture. In a good rotational system, most of the ground won’t have pigs at any given time. That works out to two to four pounds of pig per square foot. Why? He raises pastured pigs, grass-fed cattle, and vegetables. You can use a solar energizer or ab battery-powered energizer for the post – either are fine or short runs of pig fencing. The trick to proper rotational grazing is to move the pigs at the opportune time. There are plenty of great reasons to do so. This gentle rooting is good for the soil, providing some aeration and tilling up weeds and pathogens. Instead, they are only given access to a small portion of it, and are moved every single day or every few days. In general, a piece of land needs to be left fallow for at least 28 days (a month or more) to control the spread of parasites and disease. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and raising his three sons. If you’re going to be raising grown sows for breeding, you should really only keep five. I have a small 1.5 acre homestead, and am very attracted by the idea that these guys don't do as much rooting as other pigs, so would be less destructive on my small holding. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For example, pigs excel at rooting up brush and small trees. If portable equipment isn’t really an option, you can use a hub-and-spoke design for your pig grazing. The trick to using high stocking density is to move the pigs at the right time. The number of pigs that you raise in a given area, be it indoors or outside, is referred to as the stocking rate. Member involvement is welcome and encouraged. Some experienced producers use stocking rates as high as 40,000 pounds per acre. Guinea Hogs are an easy size for the small farm or homestead, and produce a smaller carcass, perfect for a single family. They just want a lush pasture with clover or other weeds along with grubs and insects for minerals, plus any table scraps you have for them, some quality hay in winter, and clean water to drink.
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