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HOME Forums Hog How-To's Grain vs forage…how much?

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  • #20879 Reply
    Member: GA Bob HaylesBob Hayles

    I have just bought 2 feeders and a gilt, all born on February 28. They are 10 weeks old today.

    I have seen feeding charts for how much pig feed to feed, but my pigs have a LOT of forage available. I know that changes the amount of pig feed needed, but how do I tell how much it changes it?

    #20885 Reply
    Member: NY AvatarCrossIslandFarms

    We raise our LBH’s on certified organic grain which is very expensive. The breeders were getting too high on the body condition scale for our taste, so we just kept reducing the grain and monitoring body condition scores. We ended up at 2lbs/day for a maintenance ration, where normally we would be at 4 lbs./day. For our market hogs that we raised over the winter, they did not seem to have the same appetite for the 2nd cutting hay that our breeding hogs did, so we have kept them at about 3% of body weight for grain and free choice hay. That seems to work for us.

    Really the bottom line is what is their body condition score and how fast are they gaining. You don’t want a breeding pig to be too fat or too skinny. For butcher hogs, it depends a lot on what kind of meat you are looking to produce. A steady, reasonably fast rate of gain is important to tenderness of the meat, but too much and the fat percentage goes up quite a bit.

    This is what works for us at Cross Island Farms on Wellesley Island NY. I would be interested to hear what other hog farmers have to say on the subject.

    David Belding
    Cross Island Farms

    #20886 Reply
    Member: GA Bob HaylesBob Hayles

    Thanks for the input, David. I’m a beginner with pigs and obviously have a LOT to learn.

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