Natural pig farming aims to respect the natural feeding behavior and motivations of pigs. Feed time aggression is certainly not a problem that requires high tech solutions or elaborate feeding regimes. Pigs are fed twice daily and in groups. Concentrated feeds are usually fed in troughs, whilst pig pellets and fresh greens are often scattered on the pen flooring for pigs to seek and eat. These are generally fed in addition to the main feed in trough and provides for prolonged and interesting feeding activity for the pigs. This has the benefit of allowing pigs to conduct their natural rooting and foraging behavior, and also prolongs their feeding activity, which again is more in-line with their natural feeding behavior.
The model trough design for natural pig farming is to have one long trough along the length side of a pen that provides sufficient access to feed for all the pigs eating at one time. The trough can be partitioned in a very basic way to ensure each pig can feed without being pushed aside by any of the other pigs wishing to butt in. Such petitions are prudent if you are raising many pigs within a pen. Where we keep just 2 sows together or raise smaller number of pigs together (4-6) we have found them to be less necessary. It’s natural for pig to be inquisitive and interested in what their fellow pigs are eating. Consequently where there is no barrier protection you will get pigs shuffling position from time to time. As long as feed has been spread adequately along the trough such maneuvering should not be a concern as all pigs will have access to sufficient feed.
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The short attached clip shows two of three pigs in a pen taking the opportunity to eat some small banana stalk scraps that have been thrown into trough. It gives you some idea of the trough, trough partition and overall pen design. Note:
1) The pigs are totally unstressed even when feeding.
2) The pigs are quiet - there is no squealing or aggression even at the trough
3) One of the pigs is happily sitting it out in the pens mud bath.
This is a happy, contented group of pigs benefiting from the enlightened approach of natural pig farming.