Last Updated on April 30, 2020
Are you looking for alternative pig feed options for your hogs? Today, I would like to show you how I set up an organic pig feed system using vegetables for my pastured pigs.
Feeding your pigs with traditional pig feed (especially if it’s organic or non-GMO) can get expensive. This is why I’m constantly thinking of ways to reduce my pig feed cost and provide them with a healthy alternative.
One solution I came up with is to grow vegetables in one of my pig paddocks and let the pigs eat them when they are ripe so I don’t have to harvest the vegetables for them.
Here’s how I did it.
Setting up the Organic Pig Feed System Using Vegetables
If you aren’t familiar with how I raise pigs, I use a rotational based paddock system. When my pigs are finished eating down a paddock, I close it off and I open up a new one for them so the previous one can recover.
With that in mind, in the springtime I let my pigs eat down one of their paddocks all the way to the dirt. Once they were finished, I closed that paddock off and moved my pigs to the next paddock.
I then scattered pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds, and sugar beet seeds along with other root and vegetable crops that I had.
Letting the Pigs Eat the Vegetables
In the fall when these crops were ripe, I opened this paddock back up to my pigs and let them eat all the new vegetables. They did all the work themselves so I didn’t even have to harvest them.
This is just another system I’m trying to utilize so I can feed my pigs off of the land.
Finishing the Pigs on Nuts
Also, in my woods I have a lot of black walnut, oak, and hickory. I can run my pigs through the woods and finish them out on walnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts. This can help give the pork a nice flavor.
Current Pig Diet
Unfortunately, I don’t have enough alternative feed systems in place to feed my pigs entirely from the farm yet. For now, I’m trying to feed them about 80% of their diet from the farm. For the other 20%, I’m supplementing them with non-GMO pig grower.
My hope is that one day I could feed them from the farm for 100% of their diet.
This type of organic pig feed system takes time because I have to wait for the crops to grow. However, it is possible to stagger planting times and use crops that grow during multiple seasons so your pigs can eat them throughout the year.
There are some pig farmers that have alley cropping systems where they plant annuals in the alleyways of perennials (such as fruit and nut trees). Then, they let their pigs eat these annuals and perennials when they are ready.
I hope to do something similar to this one day. But for now, I’m taking it one step at a time.
Feel free to share your feeding systems in the comments below.