Chickens and pigs

Rooster and piglet

Mark and I are about 50%
decided to finally branch out into new livestock this year. 
Long-time readers will know I’ve seriously considered
dairy goats and sheep, but pigs just have a lot
going for them as starter livestock for our farm.  Most
importantly, I remember seeing hand-lettered signs on the bulletin
board in our local post office last spring about weanling pigs for
sale, which means we could buy a couple of piglets, raise them as
“broilers” and then put them in the freezer in the fall.  Another
bonus is that we’d need to do a lot of ripping up perennials to turn
any new areas into pasture, and pigs are really good at ripping things
up.  Even though there would definitely be a learning curve,
fattening two pigs would be a low-enough-risk proposition that it got
the Mark seal of approval.

Hen on pigThe
big question in my mind is — what’s the best way to mix pigs and
chickens?  Some books would have you believe that you can’t let
chickens wander into the pig pen or the hogs will scarf down their
feathered friends.  On the other hand, free range pigs seem to be
healthy and happy enough that they don’t need to hunt chickens, as the
beautiful photos on the
Sugar Mountain Farm Blog (a couple of which I’ve
stolen for this post) attest.  The author of the blog actually
lets his chickens go wherever they want and doesn’t feed them anything
through the summer months since there’s so much excess food around the

Year of the PigThe deciding factor in
whether 2013 will be the year of the pig is transportation.  Mark
and I just don’t like electric fencing, and I’ve saved enough cash to
fence in a third of an acre in cattle panels.  But since our truck
had to go to the crusher last year and our golf cart got damaged by a
flood in January, we’re a bit stuck on how we’d get heavy cattle panels
from the store to our parking area and then from the parking area a
third of a mile through the woods to our pasture.  Something may
materialize in the next couple of months, and if not, I’m content with
waiting for next year, although I’d rather not put off new livestock
until the real Year of the Pig in 2019.

Our chicken waterer makes it easy to keep free
range flocks on pasture.

Latest Comments

  1. Dave V. February 8, 2013
  2. anna February 11, 2013

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