Organic food and healthy living are high on the priority list of many people today. When it comes to pork or other meats free-ranging is as close to perfection as you can get. Raising pigs on a pasture provides a lot of clean air, sunlight and fresh organic feed sources. Raising pigs in a pasture is much healthier for the animals which raise production both in growth of the feeder pigs and conception and delivery in sows. When pigs are kept in pastures they provide a great service for the rancher by cleaning weeds and small trees out of fields, too.
Things You'll Need
- Good fencing
- Water rtough
- Separate area for boars (if needed)
Provide adequate housing for the climate. In areas that stay above freezing a simple run-in shed that is draft free is plenty to allow the animals to get out of rain or direct sun when desired. In areas that dip below freezing have a permanent shelter to house the pigs during severe weather that is draft free with plenty of bedding (either straw or shavings) to get extra warmth from.
Build adequate fencing. Fencing needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the weight of an adult between 800 and 1000 pounds and tight enough to keep in smaller piglets. Use 2-by-6 planks and 4-by-4 posts anchored in cement for good sturdy fencing . The posts should be spaced tight enough with no more than a 6-inch gap and a board running at ground level to keep in young pigs.
Provide an organic mix of corn, barley and oats. Even though your pigs will primarily eat the vegetation in the pastures provided it is a good idea to supplement when possible unless you are sure your pasture can sustain enough year-round to feed all of the animals kept there.
Provide clean water at all times. It is best to use a water trough specifically designed for pigs to keep them from wallowing in smaller buckets and low troughs.
Decide if you will keep an adult boar (male) to fertilize your sows (females) or if you will use artificial insemination. If you are keeping a boar you should have a separate facility just for him when he is not being used to breed. This area needs especially fortified fencing to keep a 1000-pound animal intent on getting back to the sows contained. Use 2-by-6 planks and 4-by-4 posts anchored in cement with added electric wire inside.