Monday, October 6, 2014

Feeding Pigs, Homestead Style

The people who know I'm really into DIY and self reliancy have been asking what I'm doing about feeding my two piglets. Using pig chow is the easy way out, and also the most cash expensive way. It's definitely not self reliant. So I've been doing some exploring. 

The piglets when they first arrived were eating moistened pig chow with some chopped veggies mixed in. So I continued that until they were settled in. Then I started experimenting. First, I built a small pen with only a little bit of grass. They quickly outgrew that. So the next pen was 15' x 15' with grass about 6 to 10 inches high. They devoured that grass and rooted up that pen within a couple weeks. So then I built a 20' x 20' pen where the grass was waist high. That pen lasted them longer but they have finally consumed every blade of grass, every weed, and rooted the whole place up. Of course I was still feeding them twice a day, not expecting them to survive on just the grass. 

The first thing I discovered was that these two little guys have different preferences. Porkchop (aka Chop Chop) likes fruit and meat while Hamhocks (aka Hammie)  pigs out on rice and cereals (har, har....pigs out! Ooh, that's bad!) Chop Chop wants his food cooked while Hammie will eat things raw or cooked. Neither likes stringbeans unless I chop them up, then they'll eat them all. They both will eat lilokoi but only if it is raw. Won't touch them cooked unless they get blenderized in with other foods. Chop Chop likes his sugar cane cut into long thin strips while Hammie won't touch the strips. She wants hers chopped into small bite sized chunks. Funny, fussy pigs. I never knew they could be so fussy and be so different from each other. 

So here's a list of what I've tried so far on them. They will eat--
Sugar cane, fresh and cut up
Pipinola leaves and fruits, raw or cooked
Tomatoes, raw or cooked
Stringbeans, cooked and chopped
Beets and greens, cooked
Pumpkin if cooked and blenderized
Lilokoi, raw. Blenderized if cooked. 
Bananas, raw, peels included
Pineapples, raw
Mangos, they both love these any way they can get them
Sweet potatoes, raw or cooked, including the leaves
Cabbage, kale, bok choy, carrots...raw or cooked
Potatoes, raw or cooked
Radishes and daikon, cooked and chopped into thin slices
Cucumbers, raw
Watermelon and rind
Macadamia nuts
Cooked rice
Spagetti and pasta, cooked or uncooked
Bread, crackers, cookies
Dry dog food and cat food 
Any meat scraps and bones, cooked (I haven't offered them uncooked meat) 

They don't like taro even if well cooked. Won't touch chopped up banana trunks. Won't eat alfalfa pellets or cubes. 

And of course they like commercial feed such as pig pellets, chicken feed, wet or dry cob though they like the wet best because it is sweet. They only get a handful of this sort of stuff, just to keep them friendly and willing to come when called. 

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