Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: FEEDING PIGS  (Read 8544 times)


  • Joined Nov 2010
« on: December 31, 2010, 12:24:01 pm »

I have recently, just before Xmas, send my first pigs to be slaughtered and need a bit of advise re feeding.  The pigs were a strange cross of Berkshire X Large Blacks X Kune Kune.   There were quite short and stout to look at.

After slaughter they averaged 55 kilo (dead weight).  The pork is wonderful, really tasty but even for me, too much fat, especially on the loin and belly joints.  The legs and shoulders were ok.

I fed as advised, 1lb per month per day, but did use growers pellets all the way through (Should I have changed to finishers pellets and if so at what point and does the feeding quantity remain the same?)

I also gave them bread from our local bakery and loads of windfall apples ( that might have been the reason)

I want to make sure that my next lot, which will be saddlebacks are not too fatty as I know some people do not like too much fat.

Any advise will be really helpful,

Thanks and a Happy New Year to you all.


robert waddell

  • Guest
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2010, 12:48:25 pm »
the only good bit in you crosses was berkshires
the bread might have contributed the apples will not
saddelbacks will go fat as well
we feed sow rolls to finishing but you could cut back on the amount you feed the next lot
all the saddelback/ large black and kune kune breeders will not be to happy at what i have posted but to the majority the only way to tell if your pig is to fat it is to late when hanging on the hook


  • Joined Jun 2009
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010, 02:33:24 pm »
our first pigs were berkshires and never have i tasted better pork!  (lunanlife were our suppliers).  we wanted to do it right the first time and only fed them pig grower the whole way through.  cost us a lot of money but that wasnt why we were doing it.

this time round we have 2 tamworths and are feeding them a really varied diet.  lots of apples left over from thsi years crop, loads and loads of veg, cooked potato skins (from when we have tatties for tea - certainly not every night); stale bread (sometimes a wee bit soaked in milk if really hard); porridge with their brekky when it's been freezing and a bit of soaked speedibeet at night (again so they got some water when everything was frozen solid for days.....weeks!).

won know till they go for slaughter the outcome of all of this but it is costing us a fraction of what the last 2 did to ffeed them.

appreciate and comments/thoughts....


  • Guest
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2010, 03:47:18 pm »
Kunes and Berkshires are primarily grazers - feeding 1lb per month of age is too much for them and WILL make them really fat ! I feed my 'fatteners' on wheat feed pellets which have a lower protien level and they get about half a pound for each month of age, along with lots of fruit and veg and make sure they have plenty of grass too. Bread will make them over fat, as will anything with fats in it (milk etc)
Karen x


  • Joined Nov 2009
  • East Sussex
    • OaklandsPigs
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2010, 07:25:46 pm »

Some great advice above, and if there were two messages I could give new pig keepers on feeding they would be

Feeding is a guideline not a formula!  Yes 1lb per month is a start point, and additional rather than substitutional feeding of bread will not have helped, but give any two children precisely the same food, and they will NOT turn out the same, one will be thin and lanky and the other a couch potato - the same is true of pigs.  For your next lot, work on the principal that pigs will start by putting on brain/nervous system/bone, then muscle, then fat.  The muscle to fat change takes place around 5-6 months (another guideline not formula!), but also varies according to a multitude of different factors inc. time of year, breed, sex, weather. So practice feeling your pigs - you will not see fat by eye.  Feel the backbone regularly - easily felt - too thin, hard to feel  - too fat, practice on your friends and you will soon get to feel what is right.  The more you feel your pigs the better you will get at it.   Change your feeding to then make the right changes.  One couple I know cut their pigs rations in half for the last week before slaughter, just like humans the first drop in weight is to shed the easily lost fat, so this reduces fat considerably without affecting meat.  others don't like the thought that daisy's last week is spent on a diet!

Fat is good - OK so too much fat is not good, but if you are comparing your joints to the supermarket (or your customers are) then you are at the wrong start point.  It is the fat that bastes the meat and stops pork becoming dry (as supermarket pork does), and it is the fat that really adds to the flavour of your meat.  So start by reeducating your customers to expect and welcome fat - they can always cut it off after cooking.  Slow roast a fat pork belly for 5-6 hours and you will have the sweetest meat you have ever tasted.
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  • Joined Oct 2007
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2011, 10:48:56 am »
Just to add to Oaklands' post - you could reduce the pig nuts for the last month, but increase fruit and veg (not potatoes) to fill them up.  Just a thought.


  • Joined Jul 2010
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2011, 02:14:22 pm »
As Oaklandspigs says: re-educate your customers! Once they hear that pigs are naturally fat as they live and even farrow outside and that commercial pink pigs are kept perpetually hungry they will start to come around to the idea of a properly fed pig being fatter - and yes, just cut it off when it goes on the plate!

No fat = tasteless dry cardboard-like meat!

Moist fatty pork is divine!!  :yum: :yum: :yum:

robert waddell

  • Guest
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2011, 02:46:49 pm »
eve i think your terminology for customers is wrong also oaklands  (re-educate )
(that commercial pink pigs are kept perpetually hungry ) how do they get them to marketable weight at 26 wks or less if they are  deprived of food
it would seem that you do not know a great deal about the pig industry either breeding feeding welfare or customers


  • Joined Nov 2010
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2011, 05:48:28 pm »
Thank you all for your advise, food for thought I think.   Regarding the amount of fat, I did not ever want them to appear as commercial supermarket pigs, I have bought free range pigs over the years, however, even though I love fat, even I have to admit that there was too much and I need to ensure that my customers are sufficiently happy to come back to me again.

I will alter my feeding routine with the next lot, which I will collect tomorrow and post an update once complete to let you know whether I have achieved my aim, for happy, tasty pigs with enough fat to satisfy me.  This may also help me cut my costs somewhat which would be good as my feed bill was quite large and I have to rent the land.

Again, thanks for your help and I will check to see whether anyone else has posted to this topic.



  • Guest
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2011, 09:16:01 am »
i think ramblers is just trying to reduce the amount of fat on his meat here, which can be a suprise after buying supermarket hybrids for years. plenty of fruit and veg and land to graze/root along with their feed ration would be sensible, adding large amounts bread etc at finishing wouldnt be ideal, minute on the lips etc  ;D . i couldnt imagine that farmers would underfeed their stock when they are aiming for maximum meat in shortest time, apart from their pigs being bred for less fat, they are finished younger and still growing, and less likely to carry fat.
finishing pigs is a learning curve where we all make mistakes, especially if starting from a non-farming background like many of us, then adding traditional breeds into the equation, as opposed to hybrids, changes the end result also.
this forum is great for finding out things u need to know though, rambler. i wud imagine u would be able to judge their condition daily by sight and adjust their feed accordingly, rather than feeding textbook amounts, as feed levels would be variable according to weather, exercise etc.
the meat is worth it, but it is  different from supermarket meat now, but prob not from meat bought 80 years ago.  :D :D :wave:


  • Joined May 2010
  • Cornwall
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2011, 03:06:57 pm »
Our cornish blacks came back a bit fat ... but still the best pork we've ever had. On our chops we've had about an inch and a half of fat (but I just trim it off and make it into pork scratchings for my OH to take shooting - he shares them with the dogs!).

We've had old spots and the blacks living together and the old spots were in charge in the paddock, however, when they went off they came back with a lot less fat on them ... just like us I guess ... I have a friend that eats 6 meals a day and is still miniscule ... I so much as sniff a mince pie and put on a stone  ::)  ;D

Daisy (cornish black) lives with our other 2 old spot gilts - they are all the same age but she is much heftier than they are (but still the most beautiful pig in the land!)  :love:


  • Joined Jun 2010
  • Yorkshire
    • A Small Holding
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2011, 04:40:06 pm »
Nobody's mentioned the 15 min rule (or is it 20min? think it's 15)
We used this as a rule of thumb...and we were sure of the time at the time (hope that makes sense)
I'd be interested to know if any of you seasoned 'pig people' put any store in it?

robert waddell

  • Guest
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2011, 04:41:27 pm »
yes what they can eat in 20min is a good indication


  • Joined Oct 2007
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2011, 06:02:41 pm »
Oh I hate to say this, but some of our sows can and do make their rations last 20 minutes, then again there is Hilary who will eat both her own and everyone else's rations within 15 minutes.  Hopefully she is the exception to the rule.

robert waddell

  • Guest
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2011, 06:11:27 pm »
it is just what pigs do (eat like a pig). What works for one dose not work for others. you have to get to know your animals even if it is separating them


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