Greetings All, Farmer Jon here. I finally got around to building a livestock shelter, the other day. Here it is, this was meant for the hogs but I made it taller so that the sheep could use it as well. The only materials that I had to buy to make it were nails and screws. Everything else I scavenged for. I even added one of the patio doors I picked up as a source of solar heat. It may not be pretty but it works - like ME!
I wanted to show some of the non-believers that you can graze pigs and they won't destroy everything. If you look at the picture below, you can see the green path that shows where I had the three boars grazing. I had them in a square pen made up of four hog panel sections and I tried to move the pen once a day or every other day. If I let it sit longer than that, there was a good chance they would start to root and make a mess. Also, you need to give them shade and, preferably, some sort of pool for them to cool off in (if you don't want to give them a wallow).
Another shot of the grass where the boars had grazed earlier this summer.
The boars' diets have consisted of mainly grass, weeds and a few alfalfa plants. Everything I read said that they needed more than that but they seemed to do fine. They didn't look like they lost any weight and they didn't act like they were starving to death (or at least not any more so than pigs normally do...). After they completed a rotation around the edge of the farmyard, I moved them to "the garden". Again, all they had to eat were weeds and the occasional scraps. And they did fine. As the amount of edible weeds has diminished, I have started bringing them a little bit of feed everyday. It should be noted that I would never try that with bred or lactating sows but with boars, their maintenance requirements are minimal.
I will be moving them off of the garden soon and back with the group for breeding. We are going to separate the boars and put two sows with each of them, so that we can register their offspring as purebred American Guinea Hogs. Jamie and I both agree that registered purebred animals don't really have a place in our long-term, holistic plan but I feel that we need to produce a least a couple registrable litters, since they are in the "Critical" category according to the ALBC.