Guinea Pig Care : Handling a Pet Guinea Pig
Sugar Mountain Farm
Quality PorkAt any time we have about two to four hundred pigs out on our pastures in multiple breeding herds of several heritage breeds including Yorkshire, Berkshire, Large Black and Tamworth with a pinch of Glouster Old Spot and Hampshire in our Mainline, Blackieline, Berkline and Tamline crosses in addition to our purebred lines. We have been selecting our breeder herds since 2003 to produce a pig that pastures well in our northern mountain climate with excellent temperament as well as marbling for flavor. Pastured does not mean that is all they eat but rather where they live and that in our case what they eat mostly comes from pasture – We do not buy or feed commercial hog feeds. We have raised experimental groups of pigs purely on pasture and it is do-able but the pigs grow slowly on a diet of only pasture due to the low lysine levels and low calorie levels so they are leaner taking a few extra months to reach market weight. The addition of nuts, eggs, dairy and such to provide lysine and calories creates a balanced diet based on high pasture so the pigs grow faster, almost the same speed as on commercial hog feeds – roughly six to seven months for finishing for boars from our best lines in the warm season and a month or so longer in the cold months.
In the winter we replace the fresh pasture with hay – storing summer pastures for the winter just like we can our garden veggies and fruits for our family’s table to enjoy over the cold months. We feed them in the shells to the pigs – An easy way to produce one’s own organic pig feed which is additional pasture based protein. The diet of our pigs varies seasonally and has changed over the years as our pastured improved and with supplemental resource availability like the dairy from making butter, cheese and yogurt at about 7%DMI. Sometimes we get apple pomace, the crushed portion left over after squeeze apples from a local cider mill. See these links to learn more about raising pigs on pasture, feeding hay, managed rotational grazing and alternative feeds.
By being selected for confinement conditions they’ve lost their pasture abilities which may conflict with the needs of a CAFO. We have spent thirteen years breeding for the traits that work in our climate, our pasture based feeds and our outdoor management to produce a pig that works for our farm. We graze 70 acres of savannah style pasture using a 40 to 50 acre grand rotation over that area larger area which gets opened up in the fall as pastures wane. We include brush and forested areas in our pastures for shade, variety of habitat and variety of forages creating a savanna style pasture.
Download PDF EPUB Pig Health
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