Why Pigs Fall Apart on Pasture

Editors Note: This piece comes to us from David Fogle of Spring Hill Farms in Newark, Ohio.  David grew up raising hogs and began raising them on pasture in 1999. He primarily works with Tamworths, selling them director customers and as breeding stock and feeder pigs. You can learn more by downloading his free pig buyer's guide. Over the years I've had pigs fall apart on pasture. By "fall apart" I mean everything from not gain weight nearly as fast as others in the same pasture to the whole lot of them were having trouble thriving. In some cases they have had to be rescued from the pasture and  propped up with crutches in order to thrive. What's the cause of this? It would be nice if I could narrow it down to one particular reason but many times it's a combination of things that are contributing. Let's look at a few of them. Overly Optimistic about Your Pasture Quality. Pigs need high quality pasture in order for it to be anything other than a supplement to grain. Think clover, or other legumes as a good percentage of the field. Running Young Pigs on Pasture with too Little Feed. The general rule is the younger the pig, the less he is able to utilize roughage from the pasture. You can not take pigs that are just weaned and turn them out on grass without plenty of feed supplementation and expect them to thrive. They'll fall apart. Relying on Al

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2 thoughts on “Why Pigs Fall Apart on Pasture

  1. It would be a help to know what breeds you are talking about.We are heaving to play enough of a guessing game out here without trying to second guess which popular breeds are having problems.First we hear about breeds of sheep that are parasite resistant, then we read articles about people having to worm them as often as the conventional breeds, Same way with hogs. and cattle. We need breeders to be honest and let us know if their line is or isnt suitable for pasture or hoop production. Better to lose a few sales for the price of one animal than word to get out your animals fall apart . People dont remember the animals fell apart on pasture , they just know they fell apart. Which will cost even more sales in the future.There is so many people who are reading popular books then jumping into breeding and general production with both feet but just buzzwords to go on. Great article! I need to tuck this one away for future referance.

  2. David wrote, “If you see a certain heritage breed showing up at all the fairs and in show pig magazines you can bet the breeder of those pigs has a different set of goals in his breeding program than will fit into your small farm with much success.’

    This is true of most any class of animal. Show rings are for animals raised in “artificial environments.” They cannot survive on their own. I approach this from a cattlemens view. We need cattle that can survive with few inputs. Show ring breeders are in a fairy tale world not connected to reality. Furthermore the judge is evaluating an animals structure from what he believes is correct, not what nature worked out over thousands of years.

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