Monday, March 7, 2016

video: Avocado ice cream for the pigs

I get asked from time to time what I feed my pigs; here's what's on the menu today - avocado ice cream.  Well, sort of.  Frozen avocados, for sure.

029 from bruce king on Vimeo.

We feed 1200 to 1800lbs of frozen fruits and vegetables to the sows every week; each sow gets 50 to 80lbs of this, and it's presented free-choice.  They will sort through it and find their favorites.  Their absolute favorite is avocados, and then it is basically all the fruit, and once that 's done they concentrate on everything else.  Acorn squash is a particular favorite, although we don't get many of those at this time of year.

For all the sows with piglets or waiting to give birth...
I grow acorn squash as one of my rotations from this preference by the pigs.  After all of the crop that can be marketed is sent to market, I'll turn the pigs loose on the field and they eat the rest of the squash.  Most of that is in the field is as good as what is sent to market - usually cosmetic defects, but markets demand perfect vegetables, and the pigs are a good way to make sure that all of the food is efficiently  used.
each sow gets her own bowl of fruits and vegetables
The corn in the buckets isn't feed corn; it's sweet corn, so it's mostly sugar for the sows.  They do like it, but as I presented each sow with her bowl of fruits and veges each sow sorted through and quickly ate all of the avocados first.  They do enjoy the avocado meat, but they eat the pit, too.  For a pig it's all good.  There's a huge CRACK when they bite down on the pit, and they happily chew it up and swallow.
They also get fed a balanced ration, but enjoy the variety.  They particularly like the frozen avocados
That's what the sow in the picture above is doing; you can see the avocado deep in her mouth.  She's just cracking the pit now.

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