Goat milk? Pigz love it!
Now that we have four milking goats the answer is... a lot of goat milk. Some folks have cautioned me that if you feed pigs milk that's all they will eat and will refuse the hog chow. We found that to be true for about a day. Just like naughty children, pigz will eat when they get hungry enough. We're sticking with our standard pig feeding regiment - lots of milk, cooked eggs, corn, and some hog chow.
The difference this year is that the price of corn has gone up significantly. Heck, the price of all feed has gone up significantly. Around here we got a 50 pound bag of corn as low as $3.25 last year with an average price of about $5. Right now its $7. Seven Dollars! Which is, of course ridiculous. Gene over that The Contrary Farmer has a lot to say about the price of food and feed these days - be sure to swing by his place and read up on the going's on.
But before I go any further, I'll say that you can certainly feed your pigs hog chow and they will have a consistent, balanced diet which will work. You'll also pretty much have a commercially raised hog which is fine if that's what you want. We feed our pigz differently because we want a more naturally raised hog which we feel is a better product than a commercially raised one. We also like the idea of using local products to feed our critters - and you can't get much more local that up the hill in the milking stand! So for lots a reasons this method works for us.
Anyway, we're having to do some re-figuring with the rising price of feed to make sure that our on-the-cheap-way of raising pigz is still cheap enough to make sense. One thing we did to help us keep costs low was nab a couple of highly sought after Tamworth pigs - a breed that does great on pasture and loves to root. Not only does this heritage breed produce the best bacon, they are good workers and will help us clear the Impenetrable Forest and feed themselves at the same time.
The Impenetrable Forest. Hey Pigz! Go clear it out!
We are sticking mostly to our feeding regiment that I talked about here. You can see how the math works out for us and how we determine how much to feed and when. This year's pigs are actually bigger than we thought they would be so we are probably only to get one or two bags of hog chow before switching them over entirely to corn. Mostly the hog chow will be a back up if we feel they are not continuing to grow at a steady pace. So far they are growing right along at a good clip on just corn, eggs, and milk.
At this point the pigz daily feeding protocol is pretty much a couple scoops of corn, a couple gallons of milk, about a half a dozen hard cooked eggs, and about a half a scoop of Calf Manna. This is provided over the course of the day. Some of the grain (corn and Calf Manna) is still in their feeders at mid-day when I check them so its probably a little too much. But having "free choice" is fine for now. They are also doing a great job of rooting up their temporary pen. I'm going to set them to work on the stumps pretty soon and hopefully they will have it cleaned out before we move them to their permanent summer pen.
One thing to note is that we don't feed the pigz a lot of scraps from the house. Honestly we don't have too much in the way of scraps this time of year. I'm not processing any veggies from the garden so there's not a lot of leavin's - and we don't have a ton of leftovers from the kitchen. Anything "scrappy" usually goes to the hens and not the pigz. We concentrate on giving them what we know will work - high protein with some good fat building carbs.
This year I'm going to try and grow more feed for the pigz in the garden. I have some livestock beets and turnips and such that I'll start in the garden areas. Our soil is still pretty bad but I'm hoping that I might even get some corn to grow - or at least some grains. We have the upper and lower hog lots from last year designated to be planted soon. The upper lot will be turned into pasture for the goats and hens. The lower will become the "pig garden." Or at least that's the plan. We'll still do our share of gleaning from friends with produce stands and farms.
Even with the higher cost of feed we still think we can raise up a couple pigz on the cheap. What about you? Got goats? Got chickens? Well friends, then go and get some pigs!
Happy Sunday everyone!