From Weaning to Butcher – what do you feed and how much?
November 1, 2010 at 7:53 am #16319
Been wondering, you folks who raise your pigs to sell directly as pork, how do you feed your pigs? Especially this time of year when grass will soon ‘go away’ as a main part of their diet? Do you feed them a complete pig feed (non-medicated), have one of your own recipe mixed at the local mill, mix your own at home, or what? And how much? Full feed or a certain amount per hog? I’ve read a lot of the plans from the land grant universities but they are more oriented towards large commercial operations, it seems to me. Also, it seems the LBs need a different sort of feeding regimen than the modern hogs. And what weight makes your customers happiest? I’d sure be interested in hearing from some of you on what works for you! Thanks!November 2, 2010 at 6:44 am #17084
This is a great question & I’m betting EVERYONE will have a different answer! LOL! We do not have any “pork” customers yet but hoping to change that soon.
We do not feed a complete feed as we, personally, like to stay away from corn & soy. If we had a good source our ideal feed would be dairy & no grain but have yet to find that so for now we are feeding oats which we are not happy with but have yet to find something better here. The pigs also get fruit & veg when available – right now they are enjoying pumpkins each day. Not to mention that acorns & walnuts have been in abundance & there are not many left on the ground 🙂 The cow just freshened so the weaned piglets are getting some milk each day – don’t have enough to feed everyone – wish I did.
We do free feed Food Grade DE (Diatemaceous (SP?) Earth) & Redmond Conditioner if I can find a new supplier down here. The pigs will eat when & what they need.
We still have a good lot of pasture available here in southern Missouri so won’t be feeding hay for a while.
What do others do? I also would love to know 🙂
LizNovember 4, 2010 at 12:37 am #17090
We are against corn and soy too. We contacted Producers Coop in Bryan, TX and asked the nutritionist to create a non-corn, non-soy, non-medicated feed for us. It has sorghum, wheat, fish meal, linseed meal, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. We feed 3 lbs of feed per day and also rotationally graze. We move the pigs every 2 weeks. From they day it’s born, it takes about 8 months for a piglet to reach 225 lbs. I put some videos on YouTube about how to weigh a pig without a scale. http://www.youtube.com/truefields
DavidNovember 4, 2010 at 7:18 am #17093
What are you paying for this feed? Do you buy it per ton or by 50lb bags?
We just moved our weanlings today onto some fresh pasture & they were so excited. So nice to see them running & jumping. They had been waiting patiently ALL afternoon for more food & had “talked” to me every time I walked past them for yet another tool etc. Of course I don’t normally make them wait but knew if I fed them earlier they wouldn’t be so eager to move. They now have a new house & pasture.
LizNovember 4, 2010 at 8:54 am #17095
I got a chuckle out of your pigs waiting sooo patiently for the new grass! Mine are the same way – doesn’t take them long to figure things out, does it? 😉 Now for my question – why are you so anti-corn and soy? I come from a long line of Iowa farmers who raised corn and soy and pigs and cattle, also was married for 24 years to a large grain farmer and custom harvester in South Dakota so I am only too happy to feed corn and soy to my pigs, although I prefer more corn than soy. Just curious as to why you don’t want to feed those grains?November 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm #17099
We pay 21 cents per lb. The majority of corn and soy in the USA is Round Up Ready. The seed has been injected with a specific gene to allow a herbicide to be sprayed on it without killing the plant. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/BiotechCrops/November 5, 2010 at 7:39 am #17100
Okay, thanks for giving me your reason. I’m well acquainted with roundup ready crops and have no fear of them but everyone is entitled to their opinions. With the skyrocketing price of corn the past few days I might be switching feeds, too! 🙂November 6, 2010 at 3:15 am #17101
Also to add to David’s comment about the corn, there has been alot of research on fertility problems with Soy products not to mention that SOY is also mostly GMO. Everyone is entitled to their own interpretations on the research but we, for one, choose to avoid those products as much as we can in our own consumption so also do not want the meat we are going to eat to have it in either. Not to mention that some of the Large Blacks have been gradually having smaller litter sizes. Is Soy one of the reasons? Don’t know but it’s possible. Saying that we still eat Chinese once in a while that obviously contains soy but that is the rarity & not the norm. LOL!
As to feed prices David – 21c a lb equates to $10.50 per 50lb bag which I wouldn’t think was bad for a complete food. We’re paying $7.75 just for crimped oats which I think is expensive. What does anyone else think?
LizNovember 6, 2010 at 5:54 am #17104
We pay about $8.00 per 50 lbs. for a “complete” feeder mix from our local mill. I’m not that impressed with it as it contains GMO corn, but it’s what we can get here locally. We have a small herd of crosses, (no LBH’s yet!!!) and they seem to do allright on it with free reign over the pasture. We add pumpkins and apples to their diet in the fall and they love it.
I’m saving everyone’s posts about what they are feeding and will be taking it to the mill and see if they can reproduce it here locally at a similar cost. Thanks to everyone who posts their recipes!
SuAnnNovember 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm #17105
Our local mill has quoted us $263 per ton of custom mix feed. This comes to .13 per pound. Corn is unfortunately not non-GMO but is locally grown. Only limitation is we have to take it a ton at a time. We go through about a ton a week or maybe less than a week, so not a huge problem. We would love the corn to be non-GMO but no one locally is growing it, yet.
We have also mixed our own feed and probably will again this winter. But this is WORK. We run the alfalfa and corn through a hammer-mill and add the DE and molasses and store in barrels. This means extra gas for the tractor and a lot more labor in milling and storing the product. Does save a bit of money though, especially if we can get a good deal on corn straight from the farm before they sell it to the mill and the mill marks is up. Hammer-mill cost less then $200 for all the parts on line (used, from the 50’s, but it works and has several screens for various applications).
We also negotiated trading some of the grazing for planting food crops. We get three plantings per year and they do everything for us, even purchase the seeds. For this they get to run the cows on the outer pasture for the year plus we get one cow per year to feed out for our freezer.November 8, 2010 at 12:54 am #17106
Yes, we are required to buy it by the ton. Here is the list of our ingredients: http://truefields.com/articles_pork.htmlNovember 9, 2010 at 10:06 am #17114
Thanks David for that link – very informative. Do you have any idea what percentage of Lysine is in your feed? I talk with alot of hog farmers & lysine percentages is what most of them are concerned about. If I remember rightly for pigs it should be 1% or more. Dairy products are a good source as are eggs & nuts. I’m thinking the lysine in your feed is coming from the fish?
LizNovember 13, 2010 at 1:54 am #17120
It is 0.65%.November 14, 2010 at 8:09 am #17121
We pay $192 per quarter ton of organic non-GMO local feed. It’s been tested as less than 3% GMO and that makes us happy. It’s very pricey, but it’s very good feed.
JoAnnNovember 16, 2010 at 7:02 am #17124
OOH Ouch JoAnn – that is REALLY expensive – nearly $600 per ton. I give you a thumbs up for feeding organic. We cannot get organic around here & in all honesty with the number of pigs we have could not afford to feed it anyways. We would SO love to get away from grain altogether – certainly hoping to lessen our grain bill once we get our pastures in a rotational “pattern” as we want to. Even now I guess compared to some we are not feeding that much grain as a ton lasts us about 3 weeks.
Liz – Missouri