A couple of months ago, Mr. G went to a nearby farm to pick up some electric fence. He came back really excited telling me about the great deal he got on the fencing and pigs he bought. Pigs? Did we even want to be pig farmers? I have to admit, I really had my doubts about becoming pig farmers. I wandered what we would feed them. The area where we live has no shortage of grain suppliers, but they are undoubtedly all full of GMO corn and soy products. I did not want to stand behind pork that had been fed in this manner.
After some research, I found a few farms that were raising pigs as foragers that thrived on pasture. So, a few days later we were pig farmers.
We now have two gilts and one boar. The gilts are Large Black/Hampshire and the Boar is pure Large Black. They are now about six months old.
We soon discovered, that pigs definitely do eat grass.
They grazed and rooted around until their pen was nothing but mud and dirt in a matter of days.
Luckily with all of our new electric fence, we were able to fence in a half acre for them. Once this has been rooted and grazed, we can move them to another area.
We are supplementing their diet with an organic local soy free grain we were able to find. Eventually we would like them to have a diet that does not involve grain. However, pigs require more nutrients than just grass so we will also have to give them whey. We were very surprised to see how quickly they are gaining weight on a mostly grass-fed (and weeds, they love weeds) diet.
We are working on building a few more pens so that we can separated them once there are baby pigs. But for now, we have one pen with a pig-loo that is now covered in tarp for shelter.
Despite my initial doubts, I love raising pigs. They are intelligent and friendly animals. I especially enjoy our boar, who I have named Maxwell. Since he is pure Large Black, he is very friendly and really enjoys human contact. One of my favorite things to do is bring leftover fruit and vegetables out for the pigs to eat. They eat a lot of our produce that is starting to go bad. Their favorite food is melon of any kind.
There are so many benefits to raising pigs in this manner. Pastured meat is so much more nutritious than factory farmed meat. Also, the conventional way pigs are raised is a far cry from humane. The animals are kept 100% indoors on concrete and fed an unnatural corn filled diet. I am so happy to be a pig farmer and I look forward to getting more pigs and breeding some quality animals.