Brown’s Pig Pasture

I don’t know about you, but here in our neck of the woods the weather has been unseasonably warm.  I wouldn’t know this from experience since this has been my first Virginia winter, but that is what the locals are saying and I will take their word for it. 🙂

Last week we started putting the animals back on pasture as fast as we could.  My favorite is to see the cows back on the pasture, eating the fresh green tender shoots.  It is a glorious sight after the winter!

We still have some of our pigs and chickens to go out.  The pigs to the mountain pastures, Briarmoor (one of the rental farms), and Brown’s (our newest pig pasture) and the chickens to egg mobiles for here at Polyface.

I wanted to tell you about our newest pigs pastures at Brown’s, because the set up is  simple and amazing.  After working with pigs since last summer I can appreciate how everything is laid out and was thought through.

The alley with paddocks on each side.

The total pasture is 20 acres.  The way that the paddocks are set up is that there is an alley in the middle with 1/2 acre paddocks off of each side of it.  Each paddock has a gate into the alley and a wooden gate into the next paddock.  The wooden gates make it so the pigs can move easily from one paddock to the other.  The gates off of the alley make it easy to push the pigs out of the paddocks when they are ready to butcher or when we add more pigs.  There is also a water line that runs down the left side of the alley making it easy to hook up water for each group of pigs.

Here is one of the groups of pigs, that we moved out on Monday, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the pasture life.

It is going to be very interesting to see the land change throughout the year.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like next year at this time!

Anyone else out there raising pigs this year?  What is your set up like for pigs?

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About Leanna Hale

Leanna Barth, born and raised in NC, first came to Polyface in July 2010 to attend one of the Intensive Discovery Seminars. She loved it so much that she applied for an internship position and was accepted for the 2011 season, after which she took the inventory/gardener position. Before coming to Polyface, she sold produce from her family’s market garden, along with homemade baked goods. This venture was mostly inspired by having read “You Can Farm” by Joel Salatin. Having always loved the outdoors, animals, and gardening Leanna is excited about this coming year, all that she will learn, and how the Lord will use this job later on in her life.
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10 Responses to Brown’s Pig Pasture

  1. Heather Faye says:

    Can you tell us a little more about the actual fencing? Is it multiple strands of hot wire? I’ve always had my full grown pigs out on pasture but not the feeder sized or butcher sized pigs. A single hot wire is enough to hold in my breeding group but I’m trying to convince my husband that multiple strands of hot wire will work for those rambunctious teenager pigs. We’re in the middle of farrowing right now. I’ve got two big litters on the ground with two more sows due any time.

  2. chad stamps says:

    We have a similar setup for our pigs/sheep that rotate through our pasture. We have 5 acres fenced so far and we’re adding another acre or two each year – there is an alley down the middle and 1 acre paddocks on each side and at the end. The perimeter fences of the 1 acre paddocks are barbed wire 1″ off the ground, then 36″ of 4″ mesh fence, then 3 strands of barbed wire bringing the fence to 48″ (we’ve got our milk cow and llamas in there as well). Since installing this I realized the pigs dig down far enough that a coyote can slip through (even though the sheep / pigs can’t get out), so starting this spring I’ll be using electric semi-temporary fencing to break down the paddocks further for better rotation and to keep the pigs away from the perimeter fence. All the paddocks have one gate to each adjoining paddock, and one gate to the alley. The alley itself is also a pasture as it’s grass and we use it in the sheep rotation. It’s also 60 feet wide so I can turn around in it with a trailer attached. Depending on where the pigs are it’s also easier to load pigs from here than from the main paddocks.

  3. Hey Leanna! I bought a couple gilts last month that I’m super excited about. Since we don’t have pasture, they will be raised in a large wooded portion of our property, but for now, we have them in a portable pen, and are rotating them across the garden which has been planted over in rye. Everytime I go out and see them eating great big mouthfuls of grass, I want to clap my hands and cheer! It’s just so exciting! Sad that it’s only until the garden gets tilled. 🙁 Oh well, they will eat plenty well in the woods, too.

    My dad and I are trying to get their electric fence set-up and are curious if you have any info on the battery system that ya’ll use. Or a link to the website that you buy them from?

    • Leanna Hale says:

      Hi Alison,
      So cool that you have pigs! The fence chargers that we use a lot are the Speedrite 1000. For the batteries we use the deep cycle that have the coldest starting amps. I hope that your pigs do well and that this info helps!

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  5. Bea Ackroyd says:

    Thanks so much for posting these candid pictures of your pigs! We had some pigs last year paddocked round our future veg plot with electric fence – they rooted up all the turf which was great as we wanted the patch cleared and they did it in double quick time! We really want to have more pigs this year and have some potential customers who are hungry for our great free range pork, but this time we don’t need any more ground laid waste. Do your pigs dig big holes and clear pasture? We moved our pigs about once a week and two growers cleared about 2/3 acre in 4 months. How can we manage the ground best with future pigs without it turning to mud? Do we need to change breed or do we just need to devote a huge amount of ground to them or move them more often? Did you follow the pigs with any other animals? Any advice you could give us would be so helpful – we have a small farm in Britain and we are learning from Polyface systems and trying to implement them for ourselves. I love your blog – it is so great to get a female perspective and to learn how you do things on a daily basis! I can’t tell you how this encourages and helps me in our own enterprise! If you are interested – we have a facebook page:

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