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  • Pasture Raised Pork

    I recently found a provider at my local farmers market that supplies GF beef and pasture raised pigs. I'm confident that the beef is GF, but I heard the farmer explaining that he feeds the pigs a mixture of corn, soybeans and molasses to supplement their diet.

    Is this common for pasture raised pigs or is there a higher standard that isn't fed supplemented that I should shoot for? I realize that pasture raised pigs certainly will be healthier than their lot raised counterparts as they are allowed to wallow and root around, etc etc. Is this considered primal enough or just marginally better?

  • #2
    There is no such thing as a grass-fed pig. They will all have supplemental feed. I had a 2 page long explanation from a local supplier about it. The good news is that pork is not evolved to just eat grass (ruminant), it has stomach adapted to deal with other substances as well. So, if you like pork, it may be a good choice.
    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
    When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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    • #3
      Would you care to share all that? I was just reading my local meat group's standards and it stated that lambs would "require" grain in addition to grass. For hogs, they don't specify that.

      M.

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      • #4
        Nope, the e-mail I got was a few month ago when I was trying to secure a spring lamb and tested water for switching a supplier for pork, since our other supplier does not do nitrite free meat processing. In the end I did not, just got the pig raw and cure my own bacon now. I gotta drop the pork though after this year and just stock beef, because of that very concern for pork not being grass-finished.

        It might depend on where you are geographically. I am in the north, so we for example cannot get free-range chickens, they will simply drop dead here if they do not have feed and shelter for 6 months of the year....
        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
        When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

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        • #5
          We raised 2 hogs this year and they do require an addition of grain. My husband avoided giving our hogs, gmo corn and soybeans by giving them sorghum (sold as Milo) and barley. In addition they were also fed lots of veggies form a market which included: avocadoes, bananas, and potatoes which hubby cooked. We also supplemented with walnuts and acorns.

          I doubt that most farmers who raised hogs for $ would put that kind of time into raising the hogs they sold. Corn and soybeans are cheap and easy to use. There is one farmer near us that gives her hogs spent hops from a brewery and she raises lots of veggies so her hogs get that too.
          Last edited by Urban Forager; 06-10-2013, 09:41 AM.
          Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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          • #6
            Sorry I wasn't clear, I know pigs are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, and that pasture raised pigs don't subsist on grass. My question is as follows: is there a more 'primal' feed out there MDA folk want to see their pasture raised pigs eating or is this about as good as it gets. I thought I saw a post about discarded coconut husk or sweet potato feed pigs...

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            • #7
              Is the supplement due to lacking enough woodland for them to rummage?

              M.

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              • #8
                In order for the hogs to get enough nutrients foraging they would need to have some sort of dense food source such as acorns or walnuts.
                Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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                • #9
                  Ah; so unless you have quite the woodland, it's not viable then.

                  M.

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                  • #10
                    I bought some pastured pork and I'm unhappy. the pork is much better quality and humanely raised, but the fat profile isn't any different than factory farmed. I can tell the pork are eating mostly corn, molasses and whatnot, and although they root around in the woods I don't think that they get their food from the woods.

                    I will try another source that doesn't feed pigs grains. At least they feed them sweet potatoes and yams as a supplement.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lone.star View Post
                      Sorry I wasn't clear, I know pigs are omnivores and eat a variety of foods, and that pasture raised pigs don't subsist on grass. My question is as follows: is there a more 'primal' feed out there MDA folk want to see their pasture raised pigs eating or is this about as good as it gets. I thought I saw a post about discarded coconut husk or sweet potato feed pigs...
                      Yes pigs are omnivores, and protein supplementation is pretty standard. You can ask around to find a pig farmer who doesn't supplement with soy, if that's where your concerns lie. Or find out if their soy is non-GMO. Some use whey protein. But most use soy because its cheap. We opted to buy from a local family farmer that raises good quality pigs conventionally, simply because the pasture raised, heritage breed, no-soy, organic fed pigs at the farm down road are 3x the price.
                      Sandra
                      *My obligatory intro

                      There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

                      DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

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                      • #12
                        Our Mulefoot hogs are pastured but they also get supplemental feed, veggies, fresh farm eggs, etc. We'd like to grow a veggie garden specifically for them, but that is a future project (husband's grandfather grew rutabagas for his pigs). We recently processed two boars (minimal stress having the kill done on the farm) and the fat and meat are fabulous. I render my own lard from our hogs and it has never tasted "porky" nor is it yellow as you may get from a corn-fed hog.

                        We are scaling back on our the number of hogs we have on the farm as we want to provide better pasture and foraging space...that requires fencing/paddocks to rotate them around. We want to do right by the hogs...so they'll do right by us!

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                        • #13
                          All the breeds mentioned in Mark's article today are breeds raised by U.S. CAFO farms. It was said they naturally gained weight (and fat) quickly.

                          But think of pictures of wild boars you've seen. They're not particularly fat. Our pigs sure are. Most pigs are slaughtered at 3 months and 100 - 130 lbs. A sow, 6-9 months old, will weight over 600 lbs, and she's so heavy she can hardly walk. So, you wouldn't want a U.S. breed.

                          There are 1 or 2 breeds in Eng. and/or EURO that are less 'adapted' to CAFO. I've seen pictures but don't remember their names. So - if you had some of these omnivors, what would they eat. Meat, fish, leaves, roots and fruit, just like us. Maybe you'd have to also raise rats and let them loose in the pig pastures. (They could spend a day in my back yard to eat gophers.) Fish meal could be supplemented, and lots of the kitchen's leftovers. Do pigs eat snakes? We have lots of those also.
                          "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase

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