Unlike conventional intensive pig farming which confines individuals separately on concrete floors, we keep our pigs together so they have each other to keep themselves warm without any additional heat throughout winter.
Shelter: log cabin & dry bedding
Our pigs have a log cabin inside the barn, shielding them from wind and big enough for 25 of them to nest. We provide shredded cardboard and shredded paper regularly inside their cabin as bedding, which insulates them from the cold frozen ground. We also throw on cardboard boxes and oxidized/ molded hay onto the cabin roof to help retain their body heat, just like a blanket.
Feed: food waste, waste fish, wasted hay + herbivore poop and used cooking oil
They have an outdoor pen, that serves as their feeding & exercise area. We collect daily food waste from local supermarket, remove the packaging and feed most of it (aside from onions, potatoes and citruses, which goats & sheep love) to our pigs.
By-catch and fish waste (skin, guts and bones from filleting) dropped off by local fishermen is fed raw to our pigs after the fish thawed out indoors.
Our goats and sheep often pull out hay from their feeders, leave it uneaten, then pee and poo on it. All these wasted hay and poop accumulates fast. While we leave part of it as bedding for them especially during the cold times, we remove up to 6 wheelbarrows per day of goat/ sheep poop and soiled hay to feed our pigs. This helps to keep our sheep/ goat pan clean. The constant supply of food also keeps our pigs busy and satisfied while they unknowingly work and create compost for us. The used cooking oil collected from local restaurants is added to the food waste and hay/ poop to provide added calories and flavour. We would also increase the amount of oil in their feed (when available) on cold nights before they go to bed.
Water: twice daily, with no standing water
Pigs can chew ice and eat snow in desperate times, but water is the most effective way in hydrating them. Water freezes fast in our cold harsh winters, and you can expect any standing water to turn into a solid block of ice real quick. We water our pigs twice a day, shortly after their morning feeding and in late afternoon, providing them just enough water each time to hydrate every one of them while minimizing any standing water. Make sure you have their water trough/bowl on a short leash so the container doesn’t move out of reach or get tipped over while filling water.
Learn more about other tips we have about raising livestock in the North.