Ohhhhh my pigs!!! I never understood why people love pigs so much until I got them... They are such wonderful creatures!
We chose a heritage breed of pig, the American Guinea Hog, as our focus. They only mature to 200-300 pounds and are very gentle, making them an easily manageable breed. A single strand of electrical wire about 10 inches off the ground and you have your pig fenced... It's incredible!
They are natural grazers instead of rooters, so they don't tear up the pasture, and they are extremely easy to feed. Since they were bred to be backyard pigs, they subside happily on nothing but kitchen scraps and pasture. Having 5 of them (and piglets) on 2 acres, they need only one 5-gallon bucket of scraps a day for all of them, and I've managed to feed them at no cost for most of their lives just by networking with people and gathering scraps from neighbors, friends, farm-stands and stores.
They are such excellent converters of feed, that they will actually become too fat on grain and should not be fed grain at all unless they are severely underweight. Even our pregnant and nursing momma pig held her weight just fine without grain.
They are sweet, gentle, friendly, and absolutely adorable... I can't say enough about these pigs. Our chickens, ducks and goats steal food from them every morning, and my daughter can pet them and feed them treats by hand. We keep them all pastured together, and besides a couple scraps between two males, they get along with each other perfectly, and every other animal on the property as well.
They farrow easily, are good mothers, and while they're very protective of their young, we've been able to handle the piglets from birth without having any momma meltdowns.
I've only had them for a year, but with 5 pigs, 1 farrowing and 8 piglets, we've never seen them get sick.
And last, but certainly not least, they are said to have some of the best tasting pork in the world!! We haven't tried it personally yet (this fall!!), but we're very excited to add these wonderful animals into our flock.
**Note: The black and white pigs aren't AGH. American Guinea Hogs are solid black. The black momma pig with white on her legs is 1/2 AGH.
What We Feed
Our pigs are only a year old, not full-grown yet, so their amount of food will need to go up this winter. But because they were young through last winter and have had access to pasture all summer, their feed amount has stayed pretty much the same for several months.
For each pig we have, they get 1-2 gallons of scraps per day. Since I get all sorts of food, from all sorts of places, in all sorts of containers, it's hard to be exact. But if I have a well-rounded 5-gallon bucket of scraps, I can confidently dump that in their feeder and walk away happy.
Generally it's more complicated than that, because I like to mix and match buckets and boxes of food in order to give them a rounded meal. Half a bucket of apples, some carrots from this bucket and a handful of potatoes from this box, then some day-old bread... They have dietary needs similar to a human, so I try to mix and match different fruits, vegetables, bread, etc.
It's a lot of extra work, but try to feed scraps over commercial feeds. Even with these small pigs, commercial feed gets expensive, and isn't as good for them as fresh whole food. If you are avid about looking around and asking people, you can usually get everything you need practically for free.
It took me a few months, but between a couple friends and neighbors, a gas station deli, a roadside farm stand, a friends who pick up from a grocery store and trades with me and a guy I found on craigslist that gets old bread from the food bank, I haven't paid to feed my pigs since they were months old. And as you can see in my pictures, they are beautiful, vibrantly healthy piggers. Worth every minute just in their health, and also saves me $40 a month on commercial feed.