This webinar was held on the 18 August 2021 with Dr Lou Baskind from South East Local Land Services and Dan Head from Value Life Farm.
You can watch the recording here.
Below is a summary of the key points from the webinar and a list of resources for more information.
Water and nutrition- Pigs require access to high quality water and feed. They are monogastric animals like humans. In order of priority, pigs need fresh water, energy, protein, macro nutrients and other micro nutrients.
The pig’s diet will influence the growth rate and quality of pork you produce. Pasture alone is not adequate to meet the nutritional needs of pigs and supplementary feeding is essential. Dan uses a sustainably sourced pig feed in bulka bags from Heritage Feeds. The amount of feed a pig requires will depend on the age and stage of development. Dan gave an example of a feeding regime that he uses - piglets are fed ad lib until they are five months old and then 2kg/head/day except for lactating sows then the rate increases to 7 kg/day.
Pigs are curious animals and can damage water troughs, a closed off inlet valve can be useful for preventing damage to troughs or you can use water nipples.
Swill Feeding is illegal in Australia.
Swill feeding is the traditional name for the feeding of food scraps to pigs. Prohibited pig feed (‘swill’) includes meat (raw, cooked or processed), bone, blood, offal or hide derived from a mammal and anything that has come into contact with these materials (NSW DPI).
Pigs are considered high risk for the introduction of exotic diseases in to Australia and swill feeding is considered to be the most likely pathway of disease introduction.
Penning and housing- Wallowing is an important natural behaviour of pigs. Pigs cannot sweat so wallowing allows them to moderate their body temperature. Pigs can be kept on a deep litter system, where the manure and urine are composted down with wood chips. Dan uses electric fencing for his pigs, he trains them using feed and uses boards to move them in yards if required. This method of handling is referred to as low stress livestock handling and will improve meat quality (see refences below). Shelter is also important for pigs, especially for furrowing sows and piglets, and during the summer months to protect them from sunburn and heat stress.
Pigs can be raised outdoors and used for removing weeds, cultivation and rotational grazing. They can be raised successfully using organic and regenerative agriculture principles. Dan sought inspiration from Joel Salatin, Justin Rhodes and has his own YouTube Channel. For more information visit the Value Life Farm website.Disease and zoonosis – pigs carry several diseases that can spread to humans including leptospirosis, Erysipelas, Q Fever and Brucella suis. If you are handling pigs, it is worthwhile checking with your doctor what vaccinations you should consider, and with your vet about how to vaccinate your pigs in order to protect yourself as well.
Piglet castration – male piglets must be castrated using a knife not rings like the ones used for lambs. Seek advice from your vet or an experienced pig farmer.
Councils have rules about owning pigs – check with your local council before buying them.
Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline
1800 675 888
Property Identification and moving pigs - all owners of pigs require a property identification code (PIC). Look at this handy guide from the NSW Department of Primary Industries for more information.
Moving Pigs Eight Step Guide
Pig husbandry and housing
Pig nutrition Basics - DAF QLD
Deep litter housing for pigs
Responsible pig ownership - NSW DPI
Eight must dos for pig ownership - NSW DPI
Pig biosecurity management resources
Local Government rules
Local Government (General) Regulation 2005
Part 5 Standards for Keeping Birds or Animal, Keeping of Swine clauses 17 and 18.
Palerang Local Government Planning rules for keeping pigs
Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council Duty Planner 1300 735 025.
Low stress handling research
Grandin T., (2020) “Livestock Handling at the Abattoir: Effects on Welfare and Meat Quality”, Meat and Muscle Biology 4(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.22175/mmb.9457
Grandin T., (2019) Understanding Flight Zone and Point of Balance for Low Stress Handling of Cattle, Sheep, and Pigs.
Pig Agskills Book - Tocal Collage NSW
This webinar was made possible with funding from the NSW Environmental Trust through Every Bit Counts Project and with in-kind support from South East Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dr Lou Baskind and Dan Head from Value Life Farm.