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Author Topic: Raising pigs  (Read 449 times)

markb

  • Joined Sep 2020
Raising pigs
« on: September 01, 2020, 10:07:51 pm »
I've been thinking about getting some pigs to raise for meat :pig:. There is a farm near me that breeds Gloucestershire Old Spots so it would probably be this breed.

I've done lots of research so am aware of all the boring legal stuff like CPH numbers, movement licences and record keeping for medicines ect. However, I would really appreciate some advice on feeding.

My local feed store sells COUNTRY FINISHER PELLETS which are suitable for pigs 10 or 11 weeks of age right through to finish. But i can't find much information about how much to feed them as they grow. I don't want to overfeed them and end up with fat pigs and on the other hand I don't want to underfeed them and have slow growing pigs.

Ideally I would like to be able to make a feeding plan that details how much they need and when it needs to be increased. Like this for example...

10-12 weeks = 1.2kg per pig
12-15 weeks = 2kg per pig

I don't know if it's best to do it by age or weight (increase feed when they reach a certain weight). This is all very new to me so any advice would be appreciated. And if anyone has any examples of their feeding plans they could send me that would be amazing!

Cheers!  :farmer:

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
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  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
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Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2020, 07:23:10 am »
There's a brief guide here:

https://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/livestock/pigs/feeding-pigs/

And I'm sure other members will have some advice.  :)

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2020, 10:07:56 am »
I would suggest you talk to the breeder and ask if they finish weaners and if so what regime they use. They know their pigs.


GOS will get too fat if you are not careful but some of that is getting them to the correct liveweight for slaughter ie. they are probably best going in at 80 kilo not a 100kg. The GOS society would be a good help too on feeding.


There is a train of thought amongst smallholders that feeding sow nuts will give you a leaner pig. I disagree finishers are designed to finish. Commercial units are much more scientific and controlled than we will be at finishing pigs. Not just feeding amounts but environment, temperature etc. Feeding a lower protein feed actually encourages fat.


Dan has pointed you in the direction of feeding guides.


The main thing is to monitor growth and weight gain through the process so you make adjustments as you go though the finishing process. It's no good suddenly thinking these pigs are big but also fat. Suddenly reducing feed is likely to put on weight as the pig thinks food shortage, winter coming, lay down reserves. There will be people who fatten on nothing but sow nuts and are happy with their end product. Finishing pigs to your own requirement is something you will learn over time.


If you don't like fat then GOS may not be the best breed to start with.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2020, 12:25:25 pm »
As a rule of thumb, with not  huge numbers but a few very small batches of different native / traditional and mixed types, my thoughts are :

Grower pellets designed for trad breeds from weaning to 4 months, loosely following the quantity guides in the article here that Dan linked, but never going over 4lbs per pig per day for a trad type unless it is clear they need it.  From 4 months to send off, I usually switch to sow rolls but I take harmony's point : it depends on what you are trying to produce.  I always prefer something that isn't pushed and am happy for them to eat less / lower protein for longer, but that won't suit everyone.

The lady who used to look after the pigs here had it down to a fine art.  Start them at 8 weeks on 1.5lbs per pig per day in two feeds, up the feed a little as the pigs were clearly wanting more and more ready for their meals, watching their condition so you can always just see the line of the base of the ribs on the flank.  Max 4lbs per pig per day, but actually that is often not reached here as we have a lot of veg waste from the veg plot and also lots of whey and other dairy waste from the dairy.  Being guided by their condition and hunger levels means the system automatically flexes and produces similar finished pigs no matter what the breeding.  (With the exception that the shape of the hams and the size of the eye of the loin will be more rounded in less trad breeds in general, although our current supplier produces very shapely Cornish Lop crossbreds - no continental blood in the mix.)

We switched from the local agri merchant's pig feed  a few years ago, when we discovered that they had quietly started including GM soya.  :rant:  Since then we have used Smallholder Range (non-GM non-soya all UK-grown.)  The pigs definitely grow less quickly and remain more lean on this diet, but we are happy with the final product we get. 

ETA  One other point.  My observation is that a Pietrain has very shapely hams from the get-go, pretty much, whereas the Cornish Lops and other trad breeds do not develop shapely hams until later on.  Therefore, if you accelerate the pace for a trad pig, you may find it counterproductive, in that you finish it at 6 months, but that is actually at a suboptimal conformation, and if you finished it for 8 months you might have better hams and loins.  Just a thought  :thinking:
« Last Edit: September 02, 2020, 12:29:28 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2020, 01:43:14 pm »


ETA  One other point.  My observation is that a Pietrain has very shapely hams from the get-go, pretty much, whereas the Cornish Lops and other trad breeds do not develop shapely hams until later on.  Therefore, if you accelerate the pace for a trad pig, you may find it counterproductive, in that you finish it at 6 months, but that is actually at a suboptimal conformation, and if you finished it for 8 months you might have better hams and loins.  Just a thought  :thinking:


Pietrain are like the Belgium Blue of the pig world. Designed to put on bulk very quickly at the expense of taste.


I assume your Cornish Lops are British Lops from Cornwall SiN?  I have finished Lops in 16 weeks on adlib diet for the Xmas trade. Equally I have grown them on past the more normal 20 weeks and still have had a lean carcase but big chops! Lops are the least likely traditional pigs to run to fat.


Most smallholders don't want to produce quick meat however there is a line between producing a carcase over a reasonable timescale at a reasonable cost as opposed to taking longer and costing more and more often than not having a fatter carcase.


Different lines from breeds can also produce different carcases.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2020, 02:26:22 pm »

I assume your Cornish Lops are British Lops from Cornwall SiN? 

We mostly don't look at things that way here ;)  There have been Lops in Cornwall for a long time, bred here for many, many generations, they are Cornish Lops.  The pigs we have are "mostly" Cornish Lop ;)

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2020, 04:09:53 pm »
Nice pic of St Piran's flag @SallyintNorth but where's the pics of your "Cornish Lops" ?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2020, 04:25:29 pm »
Nice pic of St Piran's flag @SallyintNorth but where's the pics of your "Cornish Lops" ?

lol, will get a snap of them and add it to the thread, then :)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2020, 06:35:38 pm »

I assume your Cornish Lops are British Lops from Cornwall SiN? 

We mostly don't look at things that way here ;)  There have been Lops in Cornwall for a long time, bred here for many, many generations, they are Cornish Lops.  The pigs we have are "mostly" Cornish Lop ;)


I have "Cornish" Lops in Cumbria and so I'm not sure when they become Cumbrian Lops or Cumbrish Lops or Cornbria Lops?  :thinking:

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2020, 09:09:36 pm »
or, maybe, Cornumbrian Lops ?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2020, 06:43:44 am »

I assume your Cornish Lops are British Lops from Cornwall SiN? 

We mostly don't look at things that way here ;)  There have been Lops in Cornwall for a long time, bred here for many, many generations, they are Cornish Lops.  The pigs we have are "mostly" Cornish Lop ;)


I have "Cornish" Lops in Cumbria and so I'm not sure when they become Cumbrian Lops or Cumbrish Lops or Cornbria Lops?  :thinking:

Maybe in 50 generations... ;p
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2020, 08:52:11 am »

I assume your Cornish Lops are British Lops from Cornwall SiN? 

We mostly don't look at things that way here ;)  There have been Lops in Cornwall for a long time, bred here for many, many generations, they are Cornish Lops.  The pigs we have are "mostly" Cornish Lop ;)


I have "Cornish" Lops in Cumbria and so I'm not sure when they become Cumbrian Lops or Cumbrish Lops or Cornbria Lops?  :thinking:

Maybe in 50 generations... ;p


You spent too long in Cumbria before moving South SiN  :roflanim: :roflanim:


For new pig keepers talking about "Cornish Lops" isn't helpful when they don't technically exist. The British Lop Pig Society is fiercely independent as a breed society and encourages Lops to be kept all over the country despite originating from the Cornwall/Devon border.  Previous to their current name they were the Long White Lop Eared Pig Society. There are Lops bred in Cumbria that are now in long established herds in the West Counties so your "Cornish" Lops or crosses might just have a touch of Cumbria in them  ;)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2020, 11:54:56 am »

For new pig keepers talking about "Cornish Lops" isn't helpful when they don't technically exist.

 :rant:

They exist, I see them in the fields around here.  They are not a mirage and I am not hallucinating  :D

Some parts of England and the rest of the UK may choose to call them something different, that's up to them.  Breed societies have their place, but farmers still produce they stock they want and call it what it's called ;)

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2020, 02:39:14 pm »

For new pig keepers talking about "Cornish Lops" isn't helpful when they don't technically exist.

 :rant:

They exist, I see them in the fields around here.  They are not a mirage and I am not hallucinating  :D

Some parts of England and the rest of the UK may choose to call them something different, that's up to them.  Breed societies have their place, but farmers still produce they stock they want and call it what it's called ;)


Well, there's a whole new debate about pure, pedigree and provenance.  :innocent:

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Raising pigs
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2020, 05:43:06 pm »
My vote goes with "Cornish Lop" (it would wouldn't it). 


The fact that they were once ubiquitous across the UK and someone decided to set up a British Lop society doesn't change anything.  Nor does a bit of cross-breeding, to improve the breed, alter things (it happens all the time).

I haven't a clue what I'm talking about, but I'm with SiN and even the BL Society acknowledge it is also referred to as the Cornish Lop.  So I'm deleting my suggestion of a Cornumbrian Lop just as I will not countenance a Cornumbrian pasty.  :D :D :D

 

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