Me: The whole pies things is confusing and odd.
I would just as soon not get emails about apples and pies.
Don't know if there is a way you can set that in preferences.
a permies.com volunteer: If you log in to your permies account and go to "my profile" at the top, you can choose which emails you get.
Me: Hmm... I just checked and I already have email about apples turned off.
a permies.com volunteer: That's interesting. I'm not sure how to fix that. You could start a thread in the Tinkering Forum which will reach the senior staff and the people who fix things. https://permies.com/f/11/tnk
Me: So, here I am. Not a huge deal but it would be nice to turn off the apple and pie notifications and they mean nothing to me. I am not motivated by the apples and pies and don't use them.
Walter, I am still interrested to know what is the curing process you use, if this is not fermentation.... I donot think that nitrates salts were used "before". But fermenting like the french saucisson, or whole ham, could be done only with certain weather features. Where I live, people used only salt, because the climate is maritime.
Did you read the article I linked to at the top of this thread? That explains it. This is not fermentation.
I'm a bit dubious of anything from Weston Price as I've seen too much garbage come out of there. If I see them say too many things that I know are simply wrong then they lack credibility on the things they say where I don't know.
Stacy Witscher wrote:That book is very expensive. I'm curious why do you recommend that over other charcuterie books or for that matter other food science books. I have Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman, forgive my spelling if it's wrong, and I have On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, which is well regarded as the food science bible. I have done some curing of bacons, hams, sausages but have used nitrites/nitrates when called for. When I've tried uncured products I haven't liked the look or taste of them, what do you do to fix this, if anything?
Xisca Nicolas wrote:Walter, I am very respectful about what you wrote in the pig forum, but for this, I need to check with you....
What is the real difference between cured and uncured? Is it about FERMENTATION?
No, it's not at all the same. Totally different processes. I would recommend the excellent book, "The Meat We Eat" for reading on the science.
Xisca Nicolas wrote:I have come across some informations about the NEED for pork to be fermented, or else there is a health hazard. By memory, I think it was about aggregation of something in the blood.... It could thus explain one of the real reason of pork prohibition in some societies... if they did not know how to transform this meat to be safe! So it seems it was not only about parasites!
That's bogus scare tactics by vegan/vegetarian/religious nut jobs. Ignore it. It has no scientific backing.
Cook your meat. USDA says 145°F in the center and then rest for 3 minutes for cuts and 165°F for ground. Pork same as beef, lamb, goat.
Xisca Nicolas wrote:Pork seems to become fully edible for us after fermenting, which is the case of cured meat, that you can keep out of the fridge.
Old style curing did make it safe to store hanging in the kitchen due to the lower water content (Aw) produced by salting and the heavy use of nitrates/nitrites.
Modern curing does not use that much salt or nitrates/nitrites. You would find the old style too salty I suspect.
Xisca Nicolas wrote:For eating the fresh meat, there is also a solution: marinade. Wine and vinegar are themselves fermented products...
I have no idea if lemon juice is ok, and I would be interrested to know this....
I have also no idea how long is enough marinade.
Changing the acidity, the pH, is one part of making shelf stable products. There is a lot of science behind this that I would strongly urge you learn before messing with it.
Annie Hope wrote:is there any evidence for a separate pen to encourage mating?
I have seen no such evidence in the research literature nor in my own experience with thousands of litters out on pasture. We keep them together and they seem to do very well like that. At unusual times we have separated to control farrowing due to an upcoming massive construction push like when we roofed over our butcher shop. Otherwise together is our rule of thumb and they seem happier for it as well as producing lots of piglets.
Ian Rule wrote:Essentially, as a fervent Permie, I signed up to take over pigs, ducks, chickens, greenhouse and gardens. Turns out, its a lot of work, and ingesting years of permaculture books, vids, and a solid PDC didnt quite prepare me to hit the ground running. Its a lot easier to dream than to do - especially when you have 20 different dreams that could all be respective lifetimes of exploration and fulltime work.
Welcome to the world of experience. You'll learn a lot as you do things. Make life into cycles that you can rinse and repeat, each time improving.
Ian Rule wrote:My biggest ongoing, unsolved issue has been the pigs. When I joined, there was one large male and a handful of grown ladies. After a season of nonstop pig pregnancies and nonstop litters of pigs, we had well over 20 pigs. We sold a few to other upcoming pasture operations, and have since killed and butchered one female; but I separated the (pubescent) males and females a few months ago. Not proud to utilize such a draconian tactic, but we simply could not handle the influx of piglets
It's a fine method of birth control. The reality is you only need about one breeding male per 15 or so breeding females. I figure that I cull to meat 95% of females and 99.5% or so of males. Culling hard is a good way to improve your herd genetics. Every lesser pig that you cull improves your herd. This is the lesson Mother Nature teaches. Evolution works. The trick is learning what to cull for.
Ian Rule wrote:Im unwilling to kill young pigs. Spend 10 years as a vegetarian and it leaves its marks.
There is a significant market for suckling and spit size roaster pigs. Anything from dressed weights of 20 to 150 lbs. We sell a lot of these. The small ones are high per pound ($6/lb) and there is a fixed slaughter fee so it makes small ones a luxury item. Not to be sniffed at.
Ian Rule wrote:I should also mention - these are not pastured pigs. They're in yucky pig pens that we do our best to maintain
Not ideal but in time you can shift to pasturing. We pasture about 100 breeders plus their offspring on about 70 acres of pasture. It is very worthwhile setting up the infrastructure and learning to do managed rotational grazing with the pigs. See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/pigs and start with the section on grazing. Click through to deeper articles. Read the comments too. See back articles in this discussion forum on permies. There is a lot of knowledge recorded here.
Ian Rule wrote:My reason for this cry for advice is a fear of Boar Taint - Ive read plenty on it, but its almost all anecdotal and often contradictory
Here is an article with a lot of science on the topic. We don't castrate. But getting there takes time. Fortunately 90% of boars don't have boar taint at slaughter age according to the research and if you do things right such as a high fiber diet and clean (pasture or clean pens) then the taint odds drop to 1% or so. See here for more info:
Segregation of males and females does not stop taint and exposure does not create taint based on my research.
Ian Rule wrote:Additional question - obviously I need to start castrating future litters, and I intend to. Can I mix the pubescent 1st year pigs that are still small once in the new paddocks? Should I cash out and have a vet castrate the >100lb fellas? I dont like keeping the gender division in place, but I dont want unmitigated piglets nor do I want to allow inbreeding. Sepp certainly doesnt seem to give it half a thought, but its been a madhouse for us in the pig pens. One of which we call The Madhouse
I would do the biopsy tests to figure out if you have an issue or not. See the article above.
This week we passed our USDA walk through for our on-farm butcher shop, the most recent big step in upgrading from Vermont state inspected to USDA inspected.
It's been a long journey of many steps. Details here: http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2018/03/17/usda-walk-through/
I haven't had mulefoot hogs but my experience with many other breeds and thousands of pigs on pasture is that rooting is not a function of breed but rather of management and what is below the soil surface as opposed to on the surface. Rule of thumb is if the pigs are rooting, extensively, then it is time to rotate them to new pasture. The exception to the rule is that the first pass or two through virgin pasture there will be more grubs and tubers so rooting is higher but it should still not be a moon scape. See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/rootless-in-vermont
I would love to find a pig that could turn compost piles like Salatin's do (pigerators), graze brush in the summer (Shepard's pigs with nose rings), fatten up on woodlots, and keep outside in the winter (Holzer) ... is there a perfect pig breed
You're looking at the wrong end of the stick.
There is no perfect pig and there is no best breed.
Rather there are many excellent ones.
The line within the breed can be far more important than the breed itself. Pigs have been selectively bred, within breeds, for basically three groups of traits: show, confinement and pasture. The best way to get a pig that does what you want is to get it from someone who has been raising pigs that way for the purpose you want for a while and it might be one of many breeds or a cross. See:
http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2015/06/11/lard-vs-bacon-pigs/ and from there also read the linked articles.
We use Yorkshire, Berkshire, Large Black and Tamworth predominantly in our genetics. I have a total of nine genetic lines between about four hundred pigs out on our pastures. Pigs have wonderfully plastic genetics and reproduce quickly and in great numbers making them very easy to selectively breed to fit a situation. Have clear goals in mind and work towards them.
I have repeatedly measured grazing rates and find that our pigs graze 23 sq-ft per hundred weight of pig per day. This works out to be about 10 pigs per acre MAX for sustainable grazing based on no supplemental feeds and good pasture. Speaking of which - plant your pasture up with legumes, soft grasses, chicory, amaranth, brassicas, etc. These will work well in your climate too. I do mob, frost and storm seeding. See: http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2010/09/15/frost-seeding/
and feed a steady stream of food leftovers from the local high school.
Bad idea. You do not want to be feeding post-consumer wastes to pigs as that is an excellent way to give the pigs disease and get fined by the government. In some locals you are allowed to feed post-consumer wastes provided you render or boil it. That's a lot of work and energy. There is still the problem of forks, knives, razors, plastic gloves and other items in the waste stream that will kill some of your pigs. I recommend not doing it. Stick with pre-consumer wastes.
We have an arrangement with a local butter and cheese maker - we handle the disposal of their liquid whey. They're small enough that it is not worth investing in the multi-million dollar equipment to dry the whey for sale so they deliver it to us and we feed it to our pigs, about 1,800 gallons a day or so. This makes up about 7%DMI of our pig's diet providing lysine. We have a similar arrangement with a local brewery for their spent barley which makes up about 2%DMI of our pig's diet. This keeps the materials out of the waste stream and saves them money. About 80%DMI of our pigs's diet is pasture/hay and then the rest is apples, pears, pumpkins, beets, turnips, eggs, etc. See:
feral population that would destroy the landscape.
Good fences make good neighbors. -R. Frost
if one were to put nose rings in
Ringing is not necessary. See the above article about rotational grazing and rooting.
I'd love to have a hardy pig that would require minimal care in the winter
Selectively breed for it. It takes time. Get starting stock from someone already doing it. But your first year or two raise feeder pigs over the easy warm season. Don't start thinking about breeders yet. Ease your way into the mud.
Our pigs are very hairy. Part of that is environmental. Part of that is genetic selection. This helps.
A pig that can put weight on from a lean diet, like pasture, helps a lot. Lardier genetics help with this but too much can sacrifice speed of growth, which matters even more for those of us in the northern climates. I want pigs to get to slaughter weight within eight to nine months. Boars from our best line (Mainline) get to slaughter weight (250 lb LW) in about six months over the easy warm months of summer. Add a month for gilts. Add a month for slower breeds. Add two or three months for fall pigs going over the winter. Boost the calories if you can in the winter. We use hay to replace pasture over winter (see: https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+hay&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF- but hay is not nearly as good as fresh pasture. Alfalfa is great stuff if you can get it.
Our climate is similar to yours. We're in USDA Zone 3 in the central mountains of northern Vermont. We typically get about 14 to 20 feet of snow which packs to about 4' and it gets down to -45°F some years, -25°F or lower every year. Wind protection is key. A deep bedding pack that composts producing both food and heat is very helpful. Our Ark is helpful - an open ended hoop house building about 100'x40'. Selectively breeding for hardy winter pigs is key. That takes time, patience and persistence. It also takes numbers. I've raised and slaughtered many thousands of pigs over the decades. Breed the best of the best and eat the rest. I figure that 95% of females and 99.5% of males go to slaughter. Only the last small percentage, the top animals, get a chance to test breed and not all of those will get kept.
Be sure to read the older articles in this form as lots of people have had questions before, questions you might not even thing to ask yet...
I've grown them several years. They do well in our soil and climate. As long as other forages are available the pigs tend to eat the tops in the summer and the tubers in the fall to winter. They're very easy to scatter plant.
We've had six generations of them on our farm in the past 30 years. The first showed up and simply said they were going to work here. I said no. They insisted. After they'd been doing for three days proving there mettle I agreed. Over the decades I always selected the best to stay and only the alphas breed.
Ron Metz wrote:I did not think coyotes would mess with a full grown pig. Guess that gives me something else to plan for. Down here, most of the livestock guard dogs are Great Pyrenees or Anatolians. I'll go back to your website and read about how you bred your dogs.
Ours are a mix of a pinch of German Shepherd, a pinch of Black Lab and a lot of Other. It's a gang war thing, mostly posturing but numbers, size and practice matter when the occasional turf war occurs. See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/dogs
Good fences and better dogs are our solution to predator problems. Our dogs also put pigs back in when they get out. We have dogs that are a combination of both herding and guarding. Mostly they protect by marking territory with scent and voice. Occasionally a predator is foolish enough to come across the boundaries which is a good way to get eaten by our dogs. I've seen them take down coyotes and then devour the wayward cousin. The bears and cougar seem to take the boundaries and the dogs very seriously, leaving us alone with the exception of one time decades ago when the dogs were all in and a cougar killed a sheep. We had a similar situation once where a pack of coyotes got a sow so they will kill pigs, even big pigs, given opportunity. Once or twice in so long is not too bad. The dogs are the ultimate solution to us with the fences marking the boundaries.
Pig's don't generally actually need shelters. Shade, yes. Wind block, yes. Beyond that, not so much. Even in the dead of winter (USDA Zone 3) we have pigs who prefer to sleep outdoors on deep bedding packs when they have the opportunity to sleep indoors. They do like a dry sleeping area in the winter. In the warm months they need a wallow but also need to be able to get to dry areas too.
Shelters are more for the humans looking at the pigs than for the pigs.
Any shelter should be built pig tough as pigs are tough on things.
I would consider sending pigs and chickens in to clean around the junk. As long as you're not dealing with toxins they do a good job. Even some sharp stuff like broken glass does not tend to be a problem. But, if there is a lot of barbed wire then I would not involve pigs. Chickens are okay with barbed wire. Mobbing them in there and they will clear out all the vegetation so then you can go in and clean up the equipment more easily.
Swales, terraces and such are key for us. We're on the side of a mountain. I put in some machine made terraces and swales to help control the flow of water as well as digging some ponds to collect water and store it. This way it does not go rushing down the mountain taking our top soil and nutrients with it but instead the water soaks in to the soil. Another trick I figured out is to run my fences with the contours of the land as much as possible. The action of hoof, wind, water and frost causes the soil to naturally build up along the fence lines. I liked to do paired fence lines which create reserve zones between them where the larger animals don't graze. This is where I plant apple trees, pear trees, nuts and other forages that I want to seed out into the pastures around them. The trees in these zones also provide moving shade, break up the wind and give food in the fall. I set fences to be creeps.
Seed is cheaper than feed - that is to say, planting seeds produce far more food value than feeding that seed to livestock. One of the things I did is to figure out what explore what plants grow well in our climate and soil as well as what are good for our livestock. I bought a lot of different types of seed in lots of 100 lbs each and then planted a plaid pattern across the mountain, observing how it grew, how the animals liked it, how they did on it, what reseeded or came up as perennials, what plants interacted well. From this I derived what I continue to seed with. Now I mostly patch seed with a mix of these. Exactly what species would vary with your climate. We plant:
soft grasses (bluegrass, rye, timothy, wheat, etc);
legumes (alfalfa, clovers, trefoil, vetch, ect);
brassicas (kale, broccoli, turnips, etc);
millets (White Proso Millet, Japanese Millet, Pearl Millet);
other forages and herbs.
I'm not against big iron, equipment, after all I have two tractors and they have their place. But I try very hard to design systems that don't need machine interventions very much, systems that will naturally work and naturally maintain themselves. For example, because of our intermittent electricity and long months of cold freezing I avoid pumps. Gravity has never failed me so I use it extensively. Look at nature and mimic what is useful - Mother is a good teach if somewhat of a hard mistress.
Most of all, I would suggest that you dive in slowly. Take your time. Ease into the mud. There is a tremendous amount to learn. How I or anyone else does it may not be just right for you and your location so plan on experimenting and adapting ideas.
In a commercial ration each of the required things there in balance to minimize waste and cost.
In a wild or pastured setting the animal simply eats more of things that may contain less than the ideal percent of lysine, etc. By eating more and excreting what they don't need they get what they do need. It is "less efficient" but that is only because of looking at the problem too closely. In the pasture or wild situation the pig is part of a larger food web. What it excretes becomes food for other things in the system. Confinement producers don't want that because that "waste" has to be dealt with.
No, I don't assume that. Rather I test feeds and find out what results in good growth in our herds. Alfalfa is a good feed for pigs. They like it and they grow well on it. Note that my pastures are not 100% alfalfa but rather it is a part of the mix. Variety is the spice of life.
Being that we're all dealing with pigs here the topic of cure comes up for making bacon, ham, various cured and smoked sausages, etc. I've been making uncured smoked hot dogs with our meat at a smokehouse using my own recipe for over a decade. Last year I developed recipes for corn pork and bacon. There is quite a bit of confusion about the term cure, and even bacon. The USDA has regulatory definitions that if you're using celery salt or the like to make bacon you are _required_ to say "Uncured Bacon" so this isn't a marketing thing so much as a regulatory requirement. After we have had our uncured bacon on the market for a few months I wrote up an article about the topic of "Uncuring" to try to help demystify the issue. See:
I've pastured pigs with sheep for years. They do great together but do separate the ewes from the pigs during lambing season. Once the lambs are up and running they're fine with the pigs again. I do managed rotational grazing with both, and ducks, chickens & geese as well. Pigs improve pasture. If anyone's getting too much rooting then it is probably because the rotation system isn't being done well or there are grubs and tubers beneath the soil. The pigs clean those out on the first and second pass or so and then they focus on what is above the soil, the easy food. I plant the pastures up with soft grasses, legumes, brassicas, chicory, amaranth and such. See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/pigs and follow the grazing links.
It took me several starts to find the combination of things that I was both good at, my land was good at and the local market would pay a premium for. I'm very good at sheep but the prices I could get didn't make it worth it - I couldn't pay the mortgage on the wool and meat. I'm very good at rabbits but again the money isn't there. Everyone and their sibling does veggies and beef - too much competition. Meat chickens don't work for me and egg money is too poor. But pigs hit the spot. I'm both very good at them, they graze my rocky steep land very well and the market is excellent. BUT, you have to do a lot of pigs to pay the mortgage. I do. It took years to get to that point. I built my own on-farm USDA/state inspectable meat processing facility (a.k.a. the butcher shop) to reduce the cost of processing. I pasture to reduce the cost of feed. I have my own breeding lines to reduce my cost of piglets. Those are the big three costs. We do our own deliveries to stores weekly. That regular sales is key.
What's going to work for you may be something quite different than what works for me or someone else. Keep trying until you find your path.
If you're looking for a woman who's interested in farming then look where women interested in farming congregate. In addition to local places consider one of the several farmer oriented dating sites. (Tip: look at their hands. If they have no callouses, no dirt and fancy nails then don't believe them when they say they like farming...)
I farm on steep land. I fence across the slopes with the contours as much as possible. In time this creates terracing through the action of water, wind and hoof. I also create terraces through machine work. This is how farming has been done on steep land for millennia and it works.
Works well when combined with electric. Without the electric the pigs may stick their noses in and open up holes in the fence. I use this type of fence as part of my favorite pig and piglet proof perimeters. See:
The breed is less important than the line of the pig. That is to say, with in many breeds there are good pigs for pasturing, the trick is getting pigs from someone who is already pasturing them the way you want to do it. Pig genetics are very plastic and they adapt to the management and available resources. This means that over generations pigs who are raised in confinement get adapted to do better in confinement and pigs who are raised on pasture get better at utilizing pasture. It's both a matter of genetic and of culture. See this article:
and also read the articles linked to at the end of that article for more information about pigs, pasture and genetic lines.
I have raised pigs purely on pasture. They grow more slowly and are leaner even with my best genetics than if I also supplement with dairy. The purpose of the dairy is primarily to boost the growth rate. I use the resources available to me which in my case includes about 80%DMI pasture/hay, 7%DMI dairy (mostly whey), 2%DMI spent barley from a local brew pub, apples, pumpkins, pears, sunflowers, nuts etc as available. %DMI = Percent of Dry Matter Intake. If you know that for the items in the diet you know the diet. See the feed section and linked articles here: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/pigs
Not all pigs are created equal, to misquote a certain pig, and not all pastures are equal either. Plant up your pasture with legumes, soft grasses, chicory, amaranth and other things to fit your climate and soils.
Learning to do managed rotational grazing is key. It's much like with other animals with some little variations. See the above pigs link and read the grazing section and linked articles.
We have a variety of types of fencing. As long as motivation is under control and the pigs are trained to electric very little can be sufficient. Here is the best we've done which we're gradually implementing everywhere.
I've not used garlic juice. I use garlic powder. I did double blind testing across multiple species including pigs and found the garlic powder to be quite effective. See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/worms-au-natural for more experience on worms and pigs. Managed rotational grazing is the most powerful tool against parasites.
We seed by hand broadcasting with the mob, the storm and the frost all warm season long. Over seed a bit. Smaller seeds do better than larger seeds this way but even oats work. If seeding sunflower or other large seeds where grackles and other birds will steel try first seeding radishes a week or two before to create a non-tasty cover. Then seed the larger seeds.
soft grasses (bluegrass, rye, timothy, wheat, etc);
legumes (alfalfa, clovers, trefoil, vetch, ect);
brassicas (kale, broccoli, turnips, etc);
millets (White Proso Millet, Japanese Millet, Pearl Millet);
other forages and herbs.
Exactly varieties will depend on your local climate and soils. I avoid the grasses and such that turn toxic with drought, frost or other stress as they make our management system too complex.
I prefer perennials or things that self-reseed. Some things labeled as annuals are-actually perennials in our climate because we get early snows that protect their-roots over the winter - e.g., kale, broccoli, etc.
In our winter paddocks we plant during the warm months things like pumpkins, sunflowers, sunchokes, beets, mangels, sugar beets, etc.
We blend seed by spreading a tarp, setting out barrels, pouring a little of each seed we want in the mix into the barrel and then when it has all the types and is about 80% full we close the barrel and roll it around to mix.
Seed companies we buy from: Johnny's, Hancock, High Mow, Bakers and a couple of-others I'm not thinking of at the moment.
The wolves will easily kill pigs, even a big boar or sow. Even coyotes can do this. Pigs don't do team work. Wolves do. Wolves bring down buck moose, muskox, etc. Pigs don't stand a chance.
I know. I have wolves. Wolves guard our livestock. Your best defense against wild wolves, two-leggers, bear, coyotes and other predators is a combination of good fences and a good pack of your own. A single dog won't do. It takes a pack.
Tyler Ludens wrote:This is off topic, I'm sorry, but, what do the chickens eat in the winter?
See above where I wrote: "In the cold season they eat pigs to replace the bugs in their diet."
Pigs make great food for chickens. They're made of meat, similar to bugs.
Each week when I get done butchering there are left over items that don't sell. Skin, bones, heart, kidney, tongue, etc. The demand for these things is very limited. The demand for loin is almost infinite. To balance this these oddments go to our table, to our dogs and to our chickens. For the chickens I grind the skin, trimmings, etc to make it easier for the chickens to eat in bite size pecks. The pigs are made of pasture so in effect the chickens eat pasture right through the winter. They also eat a small amount of hay and what ever else is available. Chickens are omnivores.
Tyler Ludens wrote:I meant in general, one might get the impression that "pasture-raised pigs" might mean the pigs just eat the pasture. This is a topic we've been hashing over in other threads - is it possible to raise animals without outside inputs. There seem to be very few examples, and it is difficult to get details about how much land is needed, what exactly the animals eat, etc.
Aye, and I can't be responsible for all the ways that people use the word. Some people use the word 'pastured' to mean dry lot pigs. Totally different. Some have the pigs on pasture but free-feed corn/soy. Again totally different. I've done four batches with zero off-farm inputs. It works. They're slower growing and leaner. Since I have the resources available like the dairy I use them. It speeds up growth and improves marbling. I'm not a fanatical philosopher - I'm practical. I use the resources I have. It pays the mortgage.
For exact details on how much land it takes to do it without any outside inputs refer to the articles above. The 23 sq-ft per hundred weight of pig per day is based on no other feed. That's about 10 pigs per acre. Caveat is you need good management skills, good pasture, good animal genetics, etc. A random person throwing random hogs on random land will not likely succeed at that stocking density. Ease into things.
Kyrt Ryder wrote:curiosity over whether or not you could obtain that much egg production without inputs on that land base.
I already do. With our typical hen population we produce tens of thousands of eggs a year with no additional feed. I've been doing that for a long time. I don't buy chicken feed. Not a philosophical issue, just that grain is expensive and I'm cheap. I expect the birds to work for a living. Their primary job here on our farm is organic pest control. In addition to the livestock, manure and compost piles we also have a marsh just downhill of us that sends lots of winged chicken food our way - bugs. If you don't feed the chickens they learn to forage and do a very good job of it. When available they also clean up anything the pigs don't get but that isn't necessary for their diet. The drink a little whey but not all that much and again not necessary to their diet.
Tyler Ludens wrote:I notice the pigs are also fed on dairy products which seem to come from off-site ... One may get an impression that the pigs live only on pasture and farm-raised vegetables, which does not seem to be the case.
Pastured does not mean that the only feed the animal eat is pasture. Read the whole article rather than just headlines. They live on pasture. We rotationally graze. Over 80% of their diet comes from pasture as the norm. I've raised groups with 100% of their diet coming from pasture they will grow more slowly and leaner, of course. It's a matter of growth rate improving by supplementing. Genetics also matters, a lot.
See this page and follow through the feed discussions and the grazing discussions to understand it deeply: