Pigs might be famously dirt and mud encrusted (and free-range pigs especially so) but that doesn’t mean their food or water should EVER be dirty. Pigs play in mud for a reason: lacking the ability sweat, they slather themselves in mud to stay cool (mud makes a fly deterrent, as well). As a consequence, it’s rather easy for their surroundings to quickly become soiled, contaminating their food supplies and tainting otherwise clean drinking water.
On a grass farm such as ours, where animals are allowed to freely roam across the pastures, one of our jobs each day is to ensure that the pigs have access to clean food and water. Raising animals in a free-range environment doesn’t mean we simply turn them loose, cross our fingers and hope for the best… on the contrary, our 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday is filled with non-stop interaction with our livestock, and animal health tops our chore list.
Our pigs may be covered in dirt, but they’re certainly not ‘filthy’! Here, Aaron Johnson (with brush) and Steffany Yamada (inside) are preparing a gravity feeder for some new hogs. This feeder holds about 1,500 lbs of locally raised grain, which we provide as a supplement to their free-choice grazing. We fill it from the top, and gravity carries the feed to the access holes below.
Clean food + sunshine and exercise is a winning recipe for happy hogs!
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