Can pigs eat walnuts?

Hideaway Pines

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
78
Reaction score
181
Points
93
Hello, I was wondering about walnuts just this week, we have pig nut hickory's all over our property, and a friend has walnuts. She said we can come pick up as many as we want. We have not gotten our pigs yet; we are getting our pig area ready now and hope to get pigs in the spring. We are giving our feeders 2-3 acres to forage on in hopes they will not need as much feed. There are have hickory trees and oak trees all over the area they will be in, we hope this will be a good source of food. On that note - I would love any advice on breeds or in general anything you want to share on pig raising.
 

rbruno

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Nov 21, 2017
Messages
53
Reaction score
98
Points
61
Location
Maryland
Hello, I was wondering about walnuts just this week, we have pig nut hickory's all over our property, and a friend has walnuts. She said we can come pick up as many as we want. We have not gotten our pigs yet; we are getting our pig area ready now and hope to get pigs in the spring. We are giving our feeders 2-3 acres to forage on in hopes they will not need as much feed. There are have hickory trees and oak trees all over the area they will be in, we hope this will be a good source of food. On that note - I would love any advice on breeds or in general anything you want to share on pig raising.
I have been giving my pigs the walnuts for the past couple of weeks. As I mentioned, we didn't get any acorns this year from out oak trees. But, I was on a short road trip last week and stop at a rest stop for lunch. They had oak trees all over the place and plenty of acorns on the ground. So, I fill the bag I had with acorns to see if the pigs liked them. Of the three, oak, hickory, and walnuts, my pigs like the oak the best, then the hickory, and then walnuts. They have left a bunch of walnuts in the pen. They slowly eat them, but devoured the oak acorns.

As for advice/information on raising pigs, I read this site almost everyday leading up to getting my pigs. Lots of great information here. I read back through many of the old threads. You can find just about what ever topic you would need. I read everything I could on pen building, fencing, and feeder design. I posted pictures of my pen on here like may others have. I can't see I created anything new, just adapted what so many people on here had done. What every you do as far as a pen/fencing/feeders is build them extra strong. When you get those little feeder pigs, you will be surprised how big and how fast they grow an become very strong. I build a fairly stout feeder and one morning found it pushed all the way out into the field area. It held together, but they had played with it like it was nothing. I had divided my pen area into two different areas. I had a thinner wire separating the two. Well, that didn't work. I fixed it once, and they just broke through a different spot. I used panels around the outside so they didn't get out, but the went through the other wire like it wasn't even there.

As far as breeds, I have two pure Berks. I went with Berks to start because I had been getting half a hog from a near by farm and they raised Berks. I wanted to see if I could raise two that would end up similar to theirs. The next time, I will probably try something else or combination of breeds, but I will definitely stay with the heritage breeds.

Rob
 

Hideaway Pines

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
78
Reaction score
181
Points
93
I have been giving my pigs the walnuts for the past couple of weeks. As I mentioned, we didn't get any acorns this year from out oak trees. But, I was on a short road trip last week and stop at a rest stop for lunch. They had oak trees all over the place and plenty of acorns on the ground. So, I fill the bag I had with acorns to see if the pigs liked them. Of the three, oak, hickory, and walnuts, my pigs like the oak the best, then the hickory, and then walnuts. They have left a bunch of walnuts in the pen. They slowly eat them, but devoured the oak acorns.

As for advice/information on raising pigs, I read this site almost everyday leading up to getting my pigs. Lots of great information here. I read back through many of the old threads. You can find just about what ever topic you would need. I read everything I could on pen building, fencing, and feeder design. I posted pictures of my pen on here like may others have. I can't see I created anything new, just adapted what so many people on here had done. What every you do as far as a pen/fencing/feeders is build them extra strong. When you get those little feeder pigs, you will be surprised how big and how fast they grow an become very strong. I build a fairly stout feeder and one morning found it pushed all the way out into the field area. It held together, but they had played with it like it was nothing. I had divided my pen area into two different areas. I had a thinner wire separating the two. Well, that didn't work. I fixed it once, and they just broke through a different spot. I used panels around the outside so they didn't get out, but the went through the other wire like it wasn't even there.

As far as breeds, I have two pure Berks. I went with Berks to start because I had been getting half a hog from a near by farm and they raised Berks. I wanted to see if I could raise two that would end up similar to theirs. The next time, I will probably try something else or combination of breeds, but I will definitely stay with the heritage breeds.

Rob
Thanks for the tips. I have been reading a lot of different threads and have a few that I have connected with about their pig set ups. They have given me some tips and info. But I am always looking for more info and advice. We would love to try to get this right the first time. I have a list of links, info and suggestions that we are processing through trying to find the perfect fit for our place. So far, since we are in dense woods - we are clearing the underbrush of our area (2-3 acers) where they will be leaving all large trees and some clusters as well. We have sugar sand here so we will have to bring in some mud/clay for them to wallow in. We will make their house fully enclosed with a door/gate we can close up at night, this will be set on the side of a smaller area where we plan to keep the feeders until they are big enough to wonder the full area and we do not have to worry about them being eaten by predators. We are planning on getting feeders as well as two will raise for breeders - I have heard the Berks were good and great flavor to their meat as well. We have considered Kune Kunes (but their small size could rule them out even though they are great foragers) and Tamworth or Hereford's, or a mixture of these... We really will have to see what we can find when we are ready.

We have heard how destructive they can be, my husband is taking on the challenge and is determined to make it strong and escape proof. We have considered lining the outside of the pig house with old tires to keep them from pulling the wood off the sides. And he has purchased fencing, barbed wire and sturdy posts for the overall fence. We are looking into putting in electric on the smaller area around the pig house and if needed we could do the whole pasture area, but hope that won't be needed. We will put their feeder in the pig house area, mounted to a post cemented in the ground. The water source will be a barrel with pig nipples outside the pen, but the nipples within reach to them inside. We hope this will prevent issues. Do you know if predators are a huge concern? I know when they are small, they need to be watched and kept in smaller area, but will coyotes or bob cats/cougars go after pigs? We could get a donkey too - if needed, just was not sure how well pigs do with a donkey in the same pasture. I will have to start a thread once we get things started, to track our progress. So far, it still is a mess, they are only half way done on the clearing. Hope they finish this week.
 

farmerjan

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
6,360
Reaction score
22,233
Points
628
Location
Shenandoah Valley Virginia
Couple of things from having had them for years. Barbed wire alone will not contain them. It needs to be some sort of woven wire/ board fence hog panels for the little ones. I had mine trained once they got to the 50-60 lb size, to electric and could run them in a large area with one strand of electric... but most people I know use 2 strands for electric... and some will not stay in it. But for the most part, if they get zapped good, they will really respect it. That also is only if they have enough space to get around and are not crowded or bored to tears.... they will get into trouble if the area is too small.
Never had much concern with predators, coyotes don't seem to mess with them too much... they are too hard for them to be able to "get ahold of" and pigs will fight if cornered. Bobcats would not be a concern to me, but don't know about cougars. Small ones are naturally more likely to fall into the prey category... but we never had any problem. I also locked mine in at night until they got up to the shoat size... and were pretty active. I would not truct a donkey in with them... if they took a notion, they could actually do damage to the donkey...and a donkey kicking them would be an invitation to a problem. Just don't think it is a good combination; donkeys can be too notional.
I never had a problem with the hogs bothering the outside of their "house"... again... boredom will make them do things to amuse them.... so that might be part of the pulling at the pig house sides. Old tires will be playthings for them when they get bigger.

Hogs would do the job of clearing out wooded and scrub brush.... I certainly would not clear it out FOR them... let them clear it for you... it will also keep them busy....
Acorns finished hog meat has a sweeter taste according to many... I think it does add some flavor. That is what pigs/hogs eat in the wild... it is called "mast" .... and any/all nuts are edible by them... acorns being the easiest for them to chow down on.
 

Hideaway Pines

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
78
Reaction score
181
Points
93
Couple of things from having had them for years. Barbed wire alone will not contain them. It needs to be some sort of woven wire/ board fence hog panels for the little ones. I had mine trained once they got to the 50-60 lb size, to electric and could run them in a large area with one strand of electric... but most people I know use 2 strands for electric... and some will not stay in it. But for the most part, if they get zapped good, they will really respect it. That also is only if they have enough space to get around and are not crowded or bored to tears.... they will get into trouble if the area is too small.
Never had much concern with predators, coyotes don't seem to mess with them too much... they are too hard for them to be able to "get ahold of" and pigs will fight if cornered. Bobcats would not be a concern to me, but don't know about cougars. Small ones are naturally more likely to fall into the prey category... but we never had any problem. I also locked mine in at night until they got up to the shoat size... and were pretty active. I would not truct a donkey in with them... if they took a notion, they could actually do damage to the donkey...and a donkey kicking them would be an invitation to a problem. Just don't think it is a good combination; donkeys can be too notional.
I never had a problem with the hogs bothering the outside of their "house"... again... boredom will make them do things to amuse them.... so that might be part of the pulling at the pig house sides. Old tires will be playthings for them when they get bigger.

Hogs would do the job of clearing out wooded and scrub brush.... I certainly would not clear it out FOR them... let them clear it for you... it will also keep them busy....
Acorns finished hog meat has a sweeter taste according to many... I think it does add some flavor. That is what pigs/hogs eat in the wild... it is called "mast" .... and any/all nuts are edible by them... acorns being the easiest for them to chow down on.
On the fence, we are using a woven fencing that is 4ft tall, with barbed wire at ground level (so when they nose the fence, they get poked) and one up top for predators. We plan to put concreted in round post every 4 post the others will be T-posts and stretch this wire fencing very tight. We have hog panels for the smaller area around the pig house that have smaller openings to prevent little ones from venturing out of the pen area. I think my husband called the fencing Field Fence - if that makes any sense.

We are thinking of doing the electric fence on the smaller area around the pig house, but with the main pig area being so large we hope we don't have to do the whole pasture.

We will keep the new ones in this smaller area and lock them up at night till they are decent size and we are confident they are able to find their way back on their own at night. I think your right on the donkeys, it might not be a good idea. I have a neighbor who has two horses, one donkey and one huge pig all in one pasture - but that maybe the exception to the rule. I do want a donkey and some goats in the future, but maybe not good idea to mix them.

I wish we could just let the pigs clear this area, but we have to clear out the underbrush because it is so thick that we cannot do a fence or anything without removing the underbrush. And we need to take down some of the large trees in this area too - so we get better sun on the solar panels which are on our barn, which borders one side of the pig area. So, there is more than one reason to clean up this area. They hopefully will finish next week on the clearing and we can start on removing trees and then begin the fencing. Like most projects on the homestead, it takes 5 or more steps to do the main project you want to do... :barnie
 

farmerjan

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
6,360
Reaction score
22,233
Points
628
Location
Shenandoah Valley Virginia
Yes, field fence is another name for woven wire..... good fence, but the barbed wire on the bottom will not be very much of a deterrent to most hogs....getting their noses poked will not affect them much. Remember, they use these noses to dig to china when they want to. You might have better luck than I did, but if they get to digging near it the wire will get buried with dirt up against it and make no impression on it.... If you use the electric inside of the woven wire, then they will learn to respect it and once they are out in a bigger place, it will usually contain them because they have learned.
 

Hideaway Pines

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
78
Reaction score
181
Points
93
Yes, field fence is another name for woven wire..... good fence, but the barbed wire on the bottom will not be very much of a deterrent to most hogs....getting their noses poked will not affect them much. Remember, they use these noses to dig to china when they want to. You might have better luck than I did, but if they get to digging near it the wire will get buried with dirt up against it and make no impression on it.... If you use the electric inside of the woven wire, then they will learn to respect it and once they are out in a bigger place, it will usually contain them because they have learned.
Good to know about the barbed wire on the nose... I have read several places that it would deter... but maybe not as effectively as we hoped. We do plan to train them in the small area with the electric fence in hopes it will help them to stay clear of fences in the large area... but if we do see that will not work, then we will have to do that on the large area. As in all things we may have to improve the set up if we see it does not work as well as we hoped.
 

farmerjan

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
6,360
Reaction score
22,233
Points
628
Location
Shenandoah Valley Virginia
You will find ways to tweek it as it goes along. Nothing works all the time for all hogs... unless they are in a concrete enclosed pen where even a bull dozer can't get through. So, do as good a job as you can on the fence, and hope they get trained to the electric and then see if they start to respect the fences. I ran 1 strand electric around an area and the hogs stayed in real good. When I wanted to enlarge their area, I took it down. and the hogs would not cross over where the fence had been. I had to pull the feeder halfway across the "line" where the fence had been and in their scramble to get in the trough to get their feed, they were across the line... and then figured out...oh we can go over here... They were that well trained that the cotton pickin wire HURT them if they touched it and stayed away from where it had been. It was so funny.
 
Top