Baby Berkshires

While much of the nation is engulfed in a heat wave, it remains fairly cool around here. Only a few days this summer have been in the upper 80s.

The weather has been frustrating for the local seed and vegetable growers, but just fine for pasture. We even had over an inch of rain during a couple days in mid-July.

I wanted to share this image of a picture perfect summer afternoon with playful pigs. I took this soon after Chris Hansen brought these young Berkshires to our Fern Rd Farm. You can clearly see their water, feeder and housing, as well as the nice carpet of pasture. This field had already been grazed three times by sheep, once each in April, May and early July, before the pigs arrived.  The pigs are moved to a new paddock approximately monthly and remain outside into the early fall.

2 thoughts on “Baby Berkshires”

  1. Nice baby piglets. How large are the paddocks and how many do you have total? How do you decide when and where each type of animal will graze? Your post on cell grazing was quite informative.

  2. The paddock size varies according to the number of animals and their weight. Pigs produce manure and urine in direct proportion to their size. They grow at 1.6% per day. So you can do some math on what the total output of a herd will be over a given time period, estimate the total output of waste, then size the paddock to not exceed the capacity of the soil and vegetation to use that waste for their growth. I believe there are 5 sets of pigs on the field now, about one set for each month. In total perhaps 50 pigs.

    If pasture is not grazed it will go to seed and this creates a potential weed problem and lowers the quality of the forage. Therefore it is important to graze with the right frequency, about every 1-2 months. Pigs only occupy a space for one month, so if we get it right the pig paddocks will be grazed a few-several times each year by ruminants too. To do this well the fencing needs to be fairly easy to put up and remove. We have found that the pigs respect electric fencing and train to it quickly so that poly-wire is sufficient.

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