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Allowing Animals Together

                  


Joined: Jun 29, 2011
Posts: 3
I've been reading the forums and I understand Paul likes the paddock system idea.  I do too.  I certainly don't want to shovel a bunch of poo and I have enough to do in my life that I don't want to have to do much in the way of taking care of animals if I don't have to.

So, given the paddock system, what animals can you throw in together at the same time?

I know that cows poo is great feed for pigs.  So cows & pigs together?  In one post I read that pigs will eat sparrows.  By the way the post was written, I am assuming the sparrows were intentionally injured via the trap bird houses and left for the pigs but if I were to allow chickens to run with the cows & pigs, would they too get eaten or are they too fast for a pig?  What about throwing in a lamb or two as well?

Any ideas? 

My thought is to have (6) 1 acre paddocks with a couple pigs, a couple cows, 10 or 15 chickens, and a couple lambs all in at the same time in a single paddock and just rotate them from paddock to paddock every so often to feed.  Is 1 acre enough space for that many animals?  For how long?  A week? a month?

Thank you!
                


Joined: May 03, 2011
Posts: 51
Do you have your heart set on pigs?    I am no expert (though I like to play one on Permies.co) but I would keep the pigs separate and throw cow manure (if that is what you want to feed) to them.  They can become aggressive to other animals, be an awful mess and love to have a muddy area that isn't really ideal for cows or sheep.

Can I ask what you are ultimately looking for in keeping various livestock together?  Knowing that may get you more help from others on the board (aka: the real experts).
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6491
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
Chickens are too quick for pigs, and pigs will quickly learn this.  BUT, once the pigs have learned this, if they see a chicken coming towards them, they will freeze like a statue (picture Lord Nelson, perched in Trafalgar Square).  Once the chicken gets close enough, Porky will lunge out and get his protein fix for the day.  Chickens are faster, pigs are smarter.

Cattle and sheep:  they work well together, or sheep following cattle.  They eat differently, and once the cattle have gotten their choice, what is left is perfect sheep fodder.  You can basically get double the yield from a given pasture, as long as the proper plants are available.

for a good overview of pasture management, see:
http://www.sheepscreek.com/rural/pasture.html
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1392
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
  10
John, today I visited a farm where I am going to start buying my pork; he said exactly the same thing.  He has about 600 chickens (holy cow) and I can't remember how many pigs.

All were happily running around having a high old time - it was really nice to watch.  But he did have to be careful with his fencing.  He said that the occasional bird would end up in the pigs area and then it was done for.  The birds didn't have their wings clipped but apparently most of them were smart enough not to go into the pigs area.

Many years ago I had ducks and goats in an area that I was clearing - or rather the goats were clearing.  The ducks were just there as pets for the kids but they seemed to get along well.


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Joined: Jun 29, 2011
Posts: 3
Well I'm looking for a bit of everything animal wise.  Everything as in what I listed that is for the paddock system.  Rabbits will be in cages of course.

Okay, so mixing of some animal types may not be best.  So lets say I have 6 one acre paddocks fenced up.

What would be the best groupings?

Cows with Sheep and Chickens
Pigs by themselves.

And just let the pig group follow the cow group as I do paddock rotations?

If that works, then how long do you think I can keep them in a single paddock before rotation?  A week? a month?

The goal here (after listening to a podcast from Paul) is to not have to clean up poo basically and keep maintenance on the animals to a minimum.

Thank you again!  Interesting info!
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6491
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
Pigs are commonly run with cattle, or right afterwards.  They can recycle a lot of nutrition from the cow patties.

As far as "how long" depends on stocking density, and the condition of the pasture.  Typically, you do not want to leave them on pasture after they have consumed 1/4th to 1/3rd of the growth.  If they remain after that point, they will begin consuming plants that are not good for them, and it will greatly compromise the pasture's ability to rebuild itself.  Keep a close eye on the grasses and other growth.  If you are seeing damage, move them ASAP.

A good pasture for mixed animal herds should have at least a dozen fodder crops growing on it.  If animals are left too long, one or more of those species may take years to recover.

That link I provided a few posts back should answer a lot of your questions about mixed use of pasture.

Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1392
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
  10
I've been wondering about goats and pigs.  I'm thinking two goats, two pigs.  I have raised goats plenty but never pigs.  I'm assuming that adult goats would be fine but I'm wondering if a pig would go after a baby goat. 

If I do get a couple of pigs they are not going to make it to full size, I want to butcher a smaller pig.
Melba Corbett


Joined: Apr 23, 2011
Posts: 160
Location: North Carolina
South Carolina wrote:
I've been wondering about goats and pigs.  I'm thinking two goats, two pigs.  I have raised goats plenty but never pigs.  I'm assuming that adult goats would be fine but I'm wondering if a pig would go after a baby goat. 

If I do get a couple of pigs they are not going to make it to full size, I want to butcher a smaller pig.


Yes, unfortunately, pigs love baby goats. 


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Joined: Jun 05, 2011
Posts: 19
this is off the cuff as I havnt researched parasite cycles ect. just had a thought. Cattle are mainly grazers and goats are mainly browsers. my goat loves multiflora rose, tough stuff,blooms,wierd weeds and stuff that I believe cattle would bypass unless starved.  the goat will nibble tall tops of things. seems like cattle like to graze closer to ground and pass over tall things. My calves would eat close and I would have to clip the tall parts of pasture.  I didn t have a goat then but the plants left in pasture by my calves were the ones my current goat would relish. read a Salatin book long ago about the hoop houses and he ran hogs in pens with laying hens loose in the hoops. He said every now and then the hogs would get a hen but not enough to change plan. Of course the hogs were confined to pens. I used to keep hogs in a 35x40 lot w/stall 2 per pen and had many hens and ducks moving in and out of pen all day. I never lost one but always had my eye on them and kept their tummys full. best wishes.
                    


Joined: Jan 19, 2011
Posts: 27
Location: Central Croatia
I have 6 adult goats and 5 babies together with 2 very large pigs.  The chickens also wander in and out as they please.  They have separate sleeping places in the same barn and the goats have some wood piles to climb on. They work well together because the goats eat the taller things and the pigs browse lower.  I have 2 pastures (each about 1500 square m) and I rotate everyone every few weeks.  The pigs sleep most of the time and when they come out to browse the goats tend to huddle together with the big ones guarding the edge.
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 969
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Riki, that sounds like it's stressing the goats, by pasturing them with a predator animal. 

I would suggest running cattle, sheep, and goats through a paddock at the same time, followed by the pigs, and then followed by the chickens, who will scratch up the manure and eat any fly larvae that have started to grow. 

Kathleen
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
I have three feeder pigs and a couple calves together. This pigs leave the calves alone except when I feed them milk, the pigs push on the bucket if I don't feed them something first. The calves then kick the pigs and the pigs squeal and run. The pigs don't bother little tiny ducklings either. My pigs get several doses of mixes of skim milk and grain, or just skim milk or just grain a day. They lived for a week and a half on just sour skim milk.
Of course they have a big paddock with plenty of grass, apple trees, a big pile of chicken shit and a rock pile with plenty of weeds. I am about to move the pigs somewhere else and that means that the pigs and calves will be separated.
Probably a bad idea to mix pigs with dairy cows as they may try to nurse the cows!
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 969
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
Actually, what I've *heard*, have no experience with this, is that pigs will eat the udders and root in the vulvas of dairy goats -- I don't know if they'd try that with a cow or not.

Kathleen
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
I guess there are vicious pigs and not vicious ones. I always heard that you kill a pig if he or she gets a taste of blood. I personally speculate that viciousness in pigs stems from a lack of protein in the diet, a problem that is easily remedied with skim milk!

Pigs can be very friendly gentle creatures. However, pigs that are confined in a crate for a portion of their lives might be somewhat disturbed. Also, it's one thing if a pig grew up it's whole life in close contact with other animals and something completely different when a grown pig is introduced to an animal it has never met before.

At a farm I worked at, there were goats in a pen next to pigs in a pen. One day the pigs broke the hinges off the door in between the two pens. The pigs weren't interested in the goats, they were interested in the goat shit. 250 pound pigs too.
Kirk Hutchison


Joined: Feb 05, 2010
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Probably shouldn't put pigs with anything weaker than them 


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Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Last night I saw my little heifer calf snuggled up in between my three little (not so little anymore) pigs! She doesn't hang out with my bull calf hardly much lol!
                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
It seems pigs tend to have a notion about what animals have a right to be where they are and anything that they see as  strange..including other pigs..is at risk.  I once saw a pen of pigs at an auction mart chewing away on a new pig from another lot that had been thrown in with them   It was horrific, the pig was screaming (of course) and no-one was paying the slightest attention. (The place was closed down a couple of months later.)

However, we free ranged pigs with horses sheep and chickens all at once (the pigs did get grain mash ration daily as well) and never saw them take the slightest interest in the chickens or any of the other animals, including new lambs, any of the cats  or the dogs.  Only time we saw the pigs get excited was when a hot air balloon landed in a field next door..saw the boar beat all the other animals  in the race  to the barn Mind you our pigs were Red Wattle pigs..some breeds are much more aggressive. We had 8x10 pens for the pigs to farrow and we could go in with the new Red Wattle moms  but going in to clean the pen for  the Yorkshire cross sow was an adventure for a few days.

It was weird the first time I heard a pig bark..and was told that when they barked it's like "I'm telling you once and that's it....stop what you are doing NOW (or thinking of doing!) or there's going to be trouble."
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
Pig barking is much scarier than dog barking. Has made me jump out of my shoes (figuratively) many times. I have york/hamp crosses. They are a little jumpy and angry acting, but they never hurt anyone, like I said, not even little baby ducklings...
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3744
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  52
      If cattle are raised in a paddock system the manure in any given paddock will be approximately the same age. Flies lay eggs in manure and it takes a few days for the young to Hatch depending on species, temperature and other factors. If the chickens are introduced a day or two before the maggots turn to flies they will be well fed and more likely to do a good job of cow pie dispersal. Chickens also prefer the new tender grass which grows immediately after grazing. A mobile henhouse with adequate water and shade will give the chickens predator protection and since they like to be near their home they probably won't require further fencing.

    JOKE :  why does a chicken coop have two doors?  Because if there were four doors it would be a chicken sedan


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Stonewall Greyfox


Joined: Apr 13, 2011
Posts: 13
JeffnDFW wrote:

My thought is to have (6) 1 acre paddocks with a couple pigs, a couple cows, 10 or 15 chickens, and a couple lambs all in at the same time in a single paddock and just rotate them from paddock to paddock every so often to feed.  Is 1 acre enough space for that many animals?  For how long?  A week? a month?

Thank you!


We're all learning here, but my question - why (6) 1-acre paddocks?  Why not (3) 2-acre paddocks, or (2) 3-acre paddocks?  I'm just curious as to what other folks experience is, and what logic has been derived from trial/error.

Paul B.
                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
You can follow/read the link the John Polk posted above.

I have been trying and trying to find a You Tube link that somebody linked to on one of the forums about a guy explaining the point of intensively grazing animals for a short period of time in a paddock and then resting the paddock for a relatively long period of time before the animals get back to it. Unfortunately I can't find it.

However, basically it will increase the health of the soil, the plant life/diversity, and the plant health in the paddock compared to grazing animals for a longer period of time and taking the plants down further, so it takes them longer to recover.

The You Tube video explained how the one farm basically doesn't even need much if any hay anymore most winters, to get their LARGE herds through the winter, with this system. They use no chemicals whatsoever and they have managed to bring creeks back into flow and the paddocks have superb grazing. If I ever find it again I will post the link.  sigh Knew I should have bookmarked it!
Emil Spoerri
pollinator

Joined: Oct 19, 2009
Posts: 415
    
    8
StonewallGreyfox wrote:
We're all learning here, but my question - why (6) 1-acre paddocks?  Why not (3) 2-acre paddocks, or (2) 3-acre paddocks?  I'm just curious as to what other folks experience is, and what logic has been derived from trial/error.

Paul B.


The more paddocks the better. 12 is sort of a minimum for a grazing business. 36 is somewhat optimal. It would be a good idea to have over 100. Not all of these need to be individually sectioned off, you could divide 12 paddocks into 9 sections one, two or three at a time which would give you 108 paddocks.
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6491
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
One of the principle reasons for having many small pastures is that once you move the livestock off of any given pasture, the pasture has more time to recover before the animals return.

Most parasites will not travel from one species of animal to another.  The longer you can rest a pasture, the greater the chances of breaking the circle of life for the parasites.

If I had 6 acres that I was devoting to pasture, I would rather divide it into 12 small pastures (versus 6), and have each animal species 'follow' another.  The hogs would benefit from the nutrients that passed, undigested, from the ruminants.  Then, the chickens would eat whatever larvae was left in the 'land mines'.

With a quicker rotation, the crops will get damaged, but not destroyed.  Properly done, you should never need to reseed...big $avings.

P.S.  The video you were looking for was the Greg Judy one...go to YouTube and search "Greg Judy"...an excellent video on the subject.
                        


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
Yes!   I couldn't remember the name,   Thanks!!
Warren David


Joined: Nov 18, 2010
Posts: 186
EmileSpecies wrote: My pigs get several doses of mixes of skim milk and grain, or just skim milk or just grain a day. They lived for a week and a half on just sour skim milk.
What is the reason for using skimmed milk rather than whole milk?
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
We keep chickens, ducks, geese, pigs and sheep together. During lambing season we separate the ewes for a week to let the lambs get up and running. During brooding of chicks we give the hens a private space away from the other animals. Other than that they rotate together. We actually only focus our rotation on the larger animals, pigs and sheep. Smaller ones follow the larger ones naturally.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
Anenhaienton Wakenesiio


Joined: Feb 12, 2011
Posts: 3
We keep pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks and guineas together. The only incident was once our boar mistook one of the sheep for one of his ladies and tried to have his way with it. Unfortunately this dislocated both rear legs of the sheep and it had to be put into the freezer. I've not seen any preditory behavior from my pigs towards any of the other animals. They are kept on pasture, in large paddocks.
 
 
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