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Author Topic: Pig feeding guide  (Read 1297 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Pig feeding guide
« on: May 20, 2021, 09:51:53 pm »
I have two male pigs Iím raising for meat. Does anyone have a good feeding guide? Iíve looked online and canít find what Iím looking for! What Iíve found is based on either how much they weigh, or how old they are, which is fine, but it doesnít say what feed the amounts are based on. And theyíre not all the same!
Iíve got them on sow and weaner nuts.

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Pig feeding guide
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2021, 10:29:31 pm »
There's a few schools of thought here...

Conventional: a "whole" feed made of maize and soy with added vitamins, usually medicated as well, is given based on package instruction. Usually not a lot is given, maybe 6-8 lbs per pig per day in 2 increments. This produces very bland, lean, and (some say) nutritionally deficient meat.

Traditional: Pigs are fed a variety of foods including hay, soaked grains, beets, kitchen scraps, fermented silage etc... and finished (usually last 2 months before slaughter) on acorns, hazelnuts, and/ or pulp from pressing cider. This produces dark meat with a lot of fat and good qualities for curing hams and bacon. The amount of feed is however much they will eat.


Regenerative Pasturing System: Pigs are pasture raised in forests or fields, and treats such as fruit or soaked grain are tossed into areas that are hard to get at to encourage the pigs to clear the land for the farmer. Depending on how long the pigs are present and the size of the pasture, they can either knock down weeds or eradicate them and significantly disturb the ground, which is nice if you're wanting to plant pasture grass or a fodder crop there.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

HappyHippy

  • Joined Apr 2020
Re: Pig feeding guide
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2021, 11:25:59 pm »
In the UK it is illegal to feed ANY food that has been inside a kitchen (even a vegetarian kitchen) due to the possibility of cross contamination and disease. So if you're UK based please don't even consider it...
Again in the UK it's not common practice to medicate bagged feeds or add any sort of growth promoters/other undesirable ingredients - but it's a bit more difficult/expensive to get GM free or organic if that's the route you want to go down.

Sow and weaner nuts will do fine, are they outside? If so they'll root around and get bits and pieces, grass, bugs etc. You can buy/grow fruit and veg for them (as long as it doesn't enter your kitchen obviously) the meat won't be bland - maybe in an indoor commercial system that would be true, but outdoor reared pork is always darker and tastier than any you're going to be able to buy and when it's stuff you've raised yourself the satisfaction adds an extra layer of flavour  :yum:

Depending on the breed a good guide is 1 pound of food per month of age up to a maximum of 6 pounds per day, split into 2 feeds. If you've got traditional breeds such as Tamworth's, Large Blacks etc you could probably top them off at about 5 lbs per day to save them getting over fat. Best way to check is by feeling their backbones/ribs. If you can feel them really easily they need more feed and if you struggle to feel them they're too fat. It's easier not to let them get too far than it is to slim them down  ;)
Hope that helps a wee bit?  :)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 11:28:30 pm by HappyHippy »

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Pig feeding guide
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2021, 07:40:15 pm »
That's pretty different to here.  :thinking:

You probably have different breeds of pigs too. The traditional method I mentioned is pretty normal here for those just raising a few pigs, usually potbelly, berkshire, duroc, choctaw, red wattle, etc... Feeding kitchen scraps is called slopping, and the scraps themselves mixed with water is called slop. In the era before refrigeration, it was standard practice to feed all scraps and leftovers to pigs before those leftovers and scraps had a chance to go bad. The thing that's illegal here is feeding spent grains leftover from making beer. But really only because the hops and grains are cooked together and the hops gave the meat an off flavor.

Conventional methods are preferred by those raising pigs for market. And usually those are the pink naked hybrid ones called "american landrace". And the extension service* says not to use slop and conventional feed together.

*The Extension Service is a combined outreach of the USDA and the leading university of each state. Here it's the Ohio State University. So the university provides laboratory services and staffs the offices that are in most counties. The USDA provides the guidance on best practices and publishes Farm Bulletins to disseminate new information. In addition to the Extension Service, the Department of Defense also publishes books on agriculture, engine repair, forestry, wilderness survival (you'd call it bushcraft), construction, and other areas useful in agriculture. Farm Bulletins and DOD manuals are available for free online, and for the cost of printing in paperback format.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

HappyHippy

  • Joined Apr 2020
Re: Pig feeding guide
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2021, 11:12:49 pm »
It was fairly standard practice to feed kitchen waste here until 2001 (known as swill) but an EU wide ban put paid to it all.
The American Berkshire and Hampshire breeds are very different to those found here in the UK - looking at pictures they seem much more commercial in stature. Lots of lean muscle, fast growing and ideal for more intensive production methods.
All the breeds I've had (Berkshire, Tamworth, Oxford Sandy and Black and Large Black) are considered traditional 'rare breed' pigs, they don't make up any commercial herds since they're not considered economically as good as the hybrids. They're slower growing but full of flavour - they would take longer to reach slaughter weight than say a landrace or a Duroc and tend to be favoured by folks looking to raise a couple of pigs for the freezer. They're inclined to get fat with too much feed and do better in an outdoor setting where they root around a do a little grazing. They're not pastured pigs like you have in the US, although I kept Kunekune which are a fantastic breed - smaller and much slower growing but primarily grazers who only need about 1 pound of commercial feed a day (with no increase unless really cold weather or breeding) They were far and away my favourite breed, charming to have around and the meat - wow! It's the darkest pork I've ever seen, and so tasty and succulent. Sure they take longer - but some things are worth the wait  ;) :yum:

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Pig feeding guide
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2021, 09:13:44 pm »
We started off following the "1lb per month of age per pig" rule and always had fattier pigs than ideal. All our pigs have been traditional pure breeds.
Then I read somewhere that stopping increasing feed after 4 months of age would mean less fat on the carcass, so we tried it, and = result! Still good size pigs but without the inch of fat.
To keep them "full" and satisfied in between their ration they are supplemented with endless barrowfuls of weeds to rootle about in, windfall fruit and other leftover garden produce (we generally like to get weaner pigs late spring/early summer and take them through the autumn to maximise use of this). We also have our pig pens sited underneath mature beech trees so the beech masts that fall in the autumn are a bonus.

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Pig feeding guide
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2021, 04:45:31 pm »
The inch of fat goes into the butcher's trimmings to make lard. There's 2 kinds of lard: frying lard and baking or "leaf" lard. To get the leaf lard, it's the fat from inside the body cavity, clustered around the kidneys. Extramuscular fat is for frying lard. Both are rendered the same way, but in separate batches because they have different melting points. I'd go through the process here, but youtube has better instructional resources than I can do in text.

The byproduct of frying lard is "cracklins", basically small bits of non-melting fat, meat, or skin that were in the trimmings you made the lard from. These are essential for flavoring beans and gravy and cornbread (a sweet and savory batter bread made from maize).

Leaf lard is essential in making biscuits (similar to Irish scones, but neutral in flavor rather than sweet). Half the fat is leaf lard, and half is salted butter, then it's just mixed with self rising flour until it no longer feels greasy and is the size of coarse sand or very small pebbles. Then you add sour milk to make a stiff dough for rolled biscuits, or a stiff and sticky batter for drop biscuits.

So there are reasons to have fat pigs. Beef suet works in much the same way, but is usually reserved for boiled puddings you find in old cookbooks like the ones in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse. I have a reprint of the 1805 edition.

Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

HappyHippy

  • Joined Apr 2020
Re: Pig feeding guide
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2021, 11:31:35 pm »
I agree that fat gives flavour  :yum: and lard isn't as bad for you as a lot of folk would have you believe.
I used the excess extramuscular lard from our pigs to make cold process soap - animal fat is gentler on your skin than vegetable oils and the resulting bars are mild, moisturising and smell great  :thumbsup:

 

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