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These confused people reason that because pigs are monogastric rather than ruminants the pigs are unable to digest grass. Additionally, pasture is not all grass – there are clovers, alfalfa, shrubs, young trees and a lot of other forages.
Like our pastures the hay is a mix of various grasses, clovers, alfalfa and other good forages. I have been gradually shifting my hogs over to hay, but not sure if the hay would be better utilized by putting it in their bedding area only. If after all that you still need more proof that pigs eat grass just have a look at the pig to the left of miss Tammy Worth. Of course that pigs eat pasture and i think that the person, who wrote that pigs do not eat grass, never saw a pigs, except on tv. In Romania some farmers started to grow Vietnamess pigs because the cost of grains is higher than ever.
My understanding from reading research is that the fat of animals raised eating lots of pasture is high in desirable Omega-3 fatty acids where as the fat from animals raised eating grains is high in the not so good Omega-6 fatty acids. I just started feeding my pigs some fresh cut oat grass that I used as a cover crop in my garden, and they enthusiastacly eat every bit I give them. What ever grasses grow well in your climate and soils is what I would start with for a foundation.
The pigs have to learn to eat hay if they weren’t born of pigs that already know to eat hay. We have just acquired pasture-fed pigs for our organic system, so happy to hear this affirmation that they can live on grass, as organic feed is very expensive.
Since I am over seeding I use a fraction of the recommended seeding rate depending on how dense the existing plant base is.


People tend to think of hay as just pasture and hay as grass but the reality is that most are a mixture of many plants. The things that i would like to bring to attention is that different species of pigs react different to the lack of grains: there are some species that will grow much slower without grains and there are species that will not have there growth affected so much by the lack of grains. We keep a lot of free ranging hens in the rotation to eat insects, break parasite life cycles and break up manure paddies. If you observe the pigs eating in the field you will graze the more tender younger grasses and legumes (alfalfa, clover, etc) first.
The species that usually do not pass more than 120kg at maturity will not be very affected by the lack of grains. In Romania we have Duroc and the Great White as species that goes to about 200kg in a year and to about 350 in 2 years, but they need to be fed also with grains to grow so big.
I guess it makes sense once I think about it because they’ve been surviving fro millions of years in the wild and elephants and hippopotomi are closely related and they eat grass. When the warm weather comes I would divide that space up into four or more paddocks so that you can do managed rotational grazing. The hens also produce a large number of eggs during the warmer seasons without any feed – just the grazing.
In fact, sheep graze (ground) and browse (brush) while goats mostly browse (brush and trees). Yes, you can plant a monocrop of just grass, a lawn like pasture, but the reality is that natural pastures are a wide variety of plant species. Some animals have four stomaches, some have two, some have one – There are many strategies.
With intent you can improve this further mixing soft grasses with legumes, brassicas, small grains, amaranths, chicory and other forages.


Later they’ll go for the heavier grasses, eat seed heads, browse some types of brush, briars and such. I am fortunate to live close enough to eat your pork (we buy it at onion river) and I absolutely love it. These processes make the fibrous foods more digestible just like in multi-stomached animals.
We over seed, frost seed, our pastures with legumes among other things to increase the balance of those. The managed rotational grazing will cut down on parasites, increase forage growth and reduce soil compaction. Over the course of the summer our pigs mow the fields eating hundreds of thousands of pounds of grass, clover, alfalfa and other forages. Behind them plant legumes such as clover as well as other fast growing crops for them to eat when they return to the paddocks.
This will gradually improve soil in their field and the legumes will suck down nitrogen to fertilize the soil as well. The next year you can setup a second field like this and graze them there while you garden in this field with above ground crops.



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