More on Eating Like A Pig(or human)
Pigs are very similar to humans in a lot of ways, especially in their digestive processes. Pigs are omnivores, meaning they can eat meats, vegetables and grains. Any healthy omnivore needs access to balanced amounts of all three. My last post focused on how our pigs are housed in a healthy pasture composed of root and leaf vegetables. Today I will focus on the grain portion of their diet.
The main ingredient of animal feed in this country is corn. While corn is a balanced food, composed of starch for energy, protein for growth, and fiber for digestive health, it lacks some of the more important nutrients that omnivores need to be happy and healthy. Small grains like wheat, rye and oats are higher in proteins(as are greens) than the corn mixes used for conventional feeding. The higher fiber content of small grains supports digestive health. Small grains have lower starch content than corn, they mature faster and grow in less favorable conditions making them a healthy alternative or addition to the livestock diet.
Small grains can easily be grown organically in a crop rotation or in an unused pasture. Growing small grain has multiple benefits to the small sustainable farmer. In addition to feed, grain shafts are harvested for straw for livestock and mulch for the gardens. British researchers are working on breeding a new type of wheat that produces more grain per acre and is more resilient to drought.
The grain mix we are supplementing our pasture pigs with here at Bertrand Farm is produced organically in a local Amish community. They mix together corn, soybean meal, molasses and alfalfa(a small grain and green) along with plant based, organic nutrient supplements for a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fiber.
So far this mix is keeping Tammy and Roxanne happy and active without dulling their taste for greens and grubs. I am sure they know what they should be eating, and they’re getting exactly that. I mentioned earlier that the pigs were compacting some of the orchard soil around their feed and water. We have since started moving their water to a new spot each day and it seems to be encouraging them to root more evenly in the pasture. They are doing an admirable job at being pigs. Amazing right?
That’s all for now!