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Author Topic: Sheep grazing pig pens  (Read 1427 times)

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Sheep grazing pig pens
« on: October 19, 2022, 05:17:00 pm »
Our pig pens have sprouted a luxuriant carpet of grass (and weeds) since our last lot of weaners left. For various reasons we haven't reared any weaners this year so there's been nothing on the ground for a year. I'd like to put the sheep in to take the grass down but my husband seems to think that there will be too much copper in the ground from the pig muck (via feed). Is this likely to be the case?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2022, 05:49:39 pm »
I had the same worries.   

What sort of sheep do you have?  If particularly copper-intolerant (eg., N Ronaldsay, Texel), may be best to not risk it. 

We were able to send cattle in first, then Fell ponies, before sheep, and all was well.

I would say there probably is a copper factor, insofar as last year, when the ponies spent some of their time on ground the pigs had been on the year before, I never noticed signs of copper deficiency in the ponies' coats.  We didn't have pigs this year, and I have recently fetched Red Rockies for the ponies and the cattle. 

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

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2022, 06:11:17 pm »
They are a mixed flock of Soay and Wiltshire Horn, although it would be the lambs I'd be putting in, who are a cross of the two breeds. It's not vital it gets grazed, rather that I though the sheep might appreciate a bit of fresh green grass!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2022, 07:45:38 pm »
I wouldn't. Pigs can excrete heavy metals, not just copper, plus some interesting parasites. Leave the ground fallow for a while until your next weaners arrive.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

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harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2022, 08:00:00 pm »
Pig worms are host specific. If your weaners were wormed correctly and you had no reports of milk spot in the liver when you took them to slaughter I wouldn't think you need to worry about worms.


Liquid pig slurry can have heavy metal contamination, there is lots of info on the net. I wouldn't have thought pig slurry was a feature of your pig pens and the ground has been fallow for a year. You could get a soil test.


I would think your sheep would be more at risk from taking on previously grazed sheep pasture than grazing a small area that wasn't used intensively for pigs and that has been standing a year.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2022, 09:03:13 am »
Thanks everyone.

All our pigs are wormed either just prior to arrival by the seller (we buy from a couple of reputable breeders) or by ourselves on arrival. Never had an issue with milk spot.

However to be on the safe side I'll keep the sheep off the area and just leave it for next year's weaners to have fun with.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2022, 12:18:45 pm »
It's the pig feed that will have copper in it. I don't know for sure, but I suspect this is because it contains spent (dark) grains from distilleries. The copper in the stills takes part in the distillation, and is gradually eaten away. It's these residues which end up in the dark grains.


We do let sheep graze our pig pen when there aren't pigs in there, but because this is just a small area of a larger field, I've not let it worry me yet at least!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cow and sheep!
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2022, 01:52:27 pm »
They are a mixed flock of Soay and Wiltshire Horn, although it would be the lambs I'd be putting in, who are a cross of the two breeds. It's not vital it gets grazed, rather that I though the sheep might appreciate a bit of fresh green grass!

Completely different subject (sorry) when you say mix, do you mean Soay Tup on WH ewe or WH tup on Soay ewe? (If using them tups! As my girls have run with Dorset Down but are now with a Shetland (he's a lovely boy) who's had a WH and one of my lambs so far as my Shetland girls are so far denying his advances, the little ******s!) And wondering how the little Soay  lambed to a bigger breed (If you did.)
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2022, 03:32:27 pm »
Soay tup on WH ewes. Lambs are born white with a few brown spots that fade as they grow.

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cow and sheep!
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2022, 04:31:38 pm »
Soay tup on WH ewes. Lambs are born white with a few brown spots that fade as they grow.

That makes me feel better as the Dorset was shorter though he got them, but the Shetland is slightly smaller than the Dorset and he goes around everyone, even those tupped with his nose straight out!
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Sheep grazing pig pens
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2022, 08:00:48 am »
We bought this little ram when he was 5 months and just weaned. We used him on all our girls when he was 8 months and he serviced the lot, standing on tippytoes! Hours of entertainment for us!  Everyone got in lamb and produced lovely babies.

We're moving him on this year (going to his new home in a couple of weeks actually after servicing some of our girls) as we now have his daughters in the flock and need a new tup.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2022, 08:09:25 am by Richmond »

 

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