What exactly does it mean to “pasture” pigs? Don’t pigs live in huge low buildings with big fans on the ends? Pigs roaming the countryside isn’t a thing anymore, is it? That was just in ye olde times, right? Well…once again, cue the YouTube videos!

We use an electrified, two-wire fence in trees, field margins, cover crops or open pasture to keep our pigs. We subdivide the pasture into paddocks so we can easily rotate the animals around as they eat and root through each section. This serves several purposes: the soil is disrupted and aerated without being compacted; parasites don’t have time to infect our pigs; and all that manure gets spread far and wide, one paddock at a time.

Pigs in field
pasture pigs

We have a wagon with two IBC tanks and a hose that we use to fill their waterer each day, and a large automatic feeder that they can access 24 hours a day. They also enjoy lounging under the water wagon if there are no trees to shade under. Several times a day, we will see someone drive by, slow down to a crawl, and just watch the pigs as they go. We love to see others enjoying our happy animals!

Our pigs get to fully embrace their pigness, to use a Salatin-ism. They can eat all the vegetation, root up grubs and worms, bask in the sun, and sometimes even wallow in mud depending on the weather and terrain. They are some of the most relaxed, happy, healthy animals you will find anywhere. Because of their lifestyle, our pigs very rarely need medication of any sort. We don’t use medical dewormers or subtherapuetic antibiotics. This is good for them AND us.

There are probably very few of us who have not watched that scene at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy falls off the fence into the pig pen and her uncles jump in to save her from being eaten. Our children can lie down in the pig pasture if they want. When pigs are confined, constantly competing for feed, water, and even space to lie down, they get very stressed. They get aggressive and mean. They are fighting for survival. That’s no good for anyone. Not the animals, not the people who tend them, and certainly not the people who eat them.

When pigs live the way our pigs live, they are relaxed. They are gentle, curious creatures that it is a joy to raise. Some of our pigs are so friendly that they come when called, to get scratches and treats. We joke that our boar, Gannon, is more like a 500-lb dog. With tusks. We are so blessed to have found this way to raise pigs!

Tim with boar


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