Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Do pigs need to be fed?  (Read 1149 times)

Broadwood

  • Joined Jul 2021
Do pigs need to be fed?
« on: July 18, 2021, 03:40:24 pm »
In my research before we get our pigs, a lot of people say they have outdoor bred, free range pigs that live off the land. 

Is it possible for pigs to live outdoors with no supplementary feed, be healthy and fatten to meat weight, or does everyone feed their pigs something in addition to what they forage, apart surplus fruit and veg, etc?  The rare breed pig feed seems to be a low protein blend of natural ingredients, so if this fed to the pigs would they still be considered naturally raised without supplements?

It seems like you would need a lot of land to raise only a few pigs if they have had to find all their own food?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2021, 03:55:36 pm »
a lot of people say they have outdoor bred, free range pigs that live off the land. 

Who says that?  I don't know anyone who does.
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2021, 04:01:48 pm »
Modern pigs have been bred to fatten quickly on good quality food. As a result their digestive system, ie intestines has evolved by selective breeding to be only a third of the length of the digestive system of wild pigs. So although wild pigs can survive on what they can forage, I would very much doubt whether modern pigs, bred to be fed on optimum diet would do any better than struggle to barely exist, let alone get to meat weight.   
« Last Edit: July 18, 2021, 04:03:59 pm by landroverroy »
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Broadwood

  • Joined Jul 2021
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2021, 04:33:06 pm »
Should have said, I'm referring to rare breed/traditional pigs, rather than commercial breeds

Broadwood

  • Joined Jul 2021
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2021, 04:46:26 pm »
a lot of people say they have outdoor bred, free range pigs that live off the land. 

Who says that?  I don't know anyone who does.

"Pigs living in small groups in the woods, free to root in the undergrowth 24/7"
"wildly raised in ancient woodlands and meadows"

What I'm trying to say is that a lot of people say they have outdoor reared, naturally raised in woods and on meadows, etc pigs that are free to root around and eat naturally. 

Would these pigs still need to be given some sort of pig feed, or do they get all their food naturally from the land?

I'm not arguing about what they are saying, I want to raise our pigs as naturally as possible, and just want to know if feeding them a bit of natural pig food is still considered to be raising them naturally?


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2021, 05:28:40 pm »
Yes, everyone will be feeding their porkers and baconers in addition to what they can rootle and forage.  To do otherwise would be a welfare issue.  The amount of additional feed they will need will depend on what is available in their environment and on their breed. 

Starting out, look at something like Smallholder Range Rare Breed Pig Feeds - no soya, no GM, and all UK-sourced and to high environmental standards.  Going fully organic, you would probably end up feeding imported soya :/
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Broadwood

  • Joined Jul 2021
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2021, 06:24:20 pm »
Ok thanks, thats the feed I was looking at.  Perfectly happy just going natural rather than certified organic

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2021, 06:35:03 pm »
You may able to keep wildboarx sows on a wild diet wandering over a large area but  they will need feeding in winter and  when they are feeding young and young wont fatten without commercial type feed.  Any other 'rare breed' I suggest will need feeding all year with the foraging as an extra not a main.
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macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2021, 06:49:09 pm »
You may able to keep wildboarx sows on a wild diet wandering over a large area but  they will need feeding in winter and  when they are feeding young and young wont fatten without commercial type feed.  Any other 'rare breed' I suggest will need feeding all year with the foraging as an extra not a main.
Ifnyou have something like 100 acres of highly diverse woodland they should be fine, but realistically they will need at least some feeding
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2021, 09:05:17 pm »
We fed our last lot a couple of buckets of grass cuttings from the lawnmower each day. I don't know how much nutrition they got from that, but they certainly enjoyed it.

For avoidance of doubt, this was in addition to "normal" feeding.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2021, 08:23:59 am »
a lot of people say they have outdoor bred, free range pigs that live off the land. 

Who says that?  I don't know anyone who does.

"Pigs living in small groups in the woods, free to root in the undergrowth 24/7"
"wildly raised in ancient woodlands and meadows"

What I'm trying to say is that a lot of people say they have outdoor reared, naturally raised in woods and on meadows, etc pigs that are free to root around and eat naturally. 

Would these pigs still need to be given some sort of pig feed, or do they get all their food naturally from the land?

I'm not arguing about what they are saying, I want to raise our pigs as naturally as possible, and just want to know if feeding them a bit of natural pig food is still considered to be raising them naturally?


Those statements are more about how the pigs are kept not about how they are fed. All pigs need feed and a balanced diet. Providing food is a basic requirement of looking after a pig. It isn't only about having enough land to roam in but whether that environment could provide enough nutrients. Pigs are omnivores not vegetarians. Commercial pigs are bred to fatten quickly but the basic diet requirements of any pig isn't different whether it is a modern or traditional type. Even traditional breeds have been improved over time.


What will make a huge difference to your meat quality will be allowing your pigs freedom to do the natural things like wander and root. You will grow them on slower which when combined with the ability to forage will improve the taste of your meat no end.




Broadwood

  • Joined Jul 2021
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2021, 07:35:46 pm »
Many thanks for the replies, just what I wanted to know. 

I have seen seed mixes for planting pig pastures, is there anything worth planting in their area that will be good for them, and that they will enjoy rooting around for and eating?

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Do pigs need to be fed?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2021, 10:18:48 pm »
Many thanks for the replies, just what I wanted to know. 

I have seen seed mixes for planting pig pastures, is there anything worth planting in their area that will be good for them, and that they will enjoy rooting around for and eating?
I tried a dedicated seed mix, the pigs and myself were not impressed.
Its more fun to shallow bury a bunch of bananas every so often, my lot always got excited when they found them and enjoyable to watch.

 

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