What is Free Range Pig Farming and how does it compare with Intensive Pig Farming? There are hundreds of small scale pig farmers in South Africa and the most common mistake free range farmers make in the beginning is to assume that pigs get enough food in the form of worms and fodder from the ground. Pigs need a lot of calories and protein and should get extra feed like corn, barley, wheat and oats. Let take a look at comparing Free Range Pig Farming vs intensive pig farming in South Africa.
It’s a known fact that caged pigs grow faster, but being South African we had to do an experiment ourselves and compare the growth differences between Free range pigs and Caged pigs.
We took 30 piglets and then split them into two groups – intensive and free range farming. The tests was made over a couple of months and the results was exactly as we expected. Intensive farming also called caged pig farming shown that pigs do gain more length and weight in a shorter period of time as the free range pigs. At the age of 5 months we weighed the caged pigs and two weeks later weighed them again. They grew on average 12 kg during the two weeks at an average of 0.9 kg per day compared to the free ranges pigs that only grew 7 kg at and average of 500 grams per day.
Free range pigs like to dig, swim and run in open fields, so it is understandable that they would burn more calories and will have a slower growth rate than caged pigs. Adding extra protein to their feed will still save you a lot of money in the long run and you will end up with quality meat that you can sell for tip-top prices. Keep in mind, you need shelter and a lot of space for your free range pigs as they like to dig and turn land upside down and that can take some time to recover.
Video of Free Range Pig Farming vs Intensive Farming
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