4

votes

Is the domestication of pigs a lost cause?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created August 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM

I discovered my favorite pork supplier supplements their animals with soybean and corn based feed. I feel extremely disappointed and discouraged for I have yet to find a pig farmer who doesn't at least partially feed their hogs soybean and corn feed.

I suspect the typical split even for the "healthiest" most "paleo" pork meat is something like 70% feed, 30% the "good stuff" (vegetable scrap, tubers etc.) I'm starting to wonder if the domestication of this animal is a lost cause because farmers can't fatten them without the aid of oily feed. These farmers might lose too much money if they didn't rely on the feed and it wouldn't be worth it.

For practical purposes and to avoid omega 6 seed oils, I'm fully prepared to say goodbye to all that glorious bacon and sausage. The saturated fat is great, but with pigs it is too often (always?) accompanied by the Omega 6's.

I am devastated. And as a strict Paleo dieter, I'm ready to call pork off-limits as an approved source of saturated fat calories. Maybe Cordain is smart to come down hard on saturated fats because of how rare it is to find farms that use practices that strictly conform to Paleo ideals.

Is there really such a thing as Paleo-friendly pork?

Have you ever found a farm that raises pigs 100% feed-free?

Do you know where to get wild boar meat for a reasonable price?

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on August 13, 2011
at 11:59 AM

You're quite welcome. Chad and Jodi (of Ray Family Farms) are really good people who obviously love their animals and want to do things the best way possible. Oh, and btw, they don't currently carry pork belly but they should be soon (per my request). If there's a cut you'd like to see that they don't have they're willing to talk to their processor about it. Also, I haven't yet done it because of the heat but they are very open with offering farm tours. I will be doing a tour soon. The farm is just gorgeous from what I've seen.

Medium avatar

(2169)

on August 13, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Yay for other paleos in NC! I'm all over NC but generally based in Raleigh (I grew up here) +1 thanks for the great local link!

Medium avatar

(2169)

on August 13, 2011
at 02:23 AM

Isn't it obvious? let's go boar hunting with crossbows!

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on August 12, 2011
at 11:53 PM

Oh man, I would love to try Mangalitsa. Yum.

61e254571b4c792bca87340a090a3ea1

(480)

on August 12, 2011
at 11:00 PM

In a lot of states you can kill pigs with just about anything.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 10:48 PM

+1 from me. The thought has crossed my mind. Cross-bows are legal in NC.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on August 12, 2011
at 10:04 PM

You're going to start raising pigs???

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:42 PM

I met a pig farmer hear whose mother owns an apple orchard but he still leans on the feed. He finishes the pigs on apples.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:36 PM

That's terrible. The oil-makers really seem to have a stranglehold on the domestication of this animal. I'm starting to believe that.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:23 PM

I am in North Carolina. That law SUCKS...I might add. LOL. +1 for your response.

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9 Answers

7
1725734d309e57fdbc6c98262e8c1af1

on August 12, 2011
at 11:17 PM

I'm Heath Putnam. I'm responsible for starting the Mangalitsa phenomenon in the Western Hemisphere -- see woolypigs.com for more info.

In general, pigs, like chicken, will be high in O-6s. Wild game is different - so perhaps you want to eat wild boar instead.

Robb Wolf likes Mangalitsa fat. So does Dr. Mike Eades. You might ask them what they do to deal with the O6s. Based on what I've read from Robb Wolf, I take fish oil.

We feed the pigs a diet to try to minimize the PUFAs in their pork. The reason is that PUFAs lead to rancid cured products. We do that by putting the pigs on a high-carb, very low fat diet at the end of their lives.

What they eat at the beginning doesn't substantially impact their final chemical composition. For more info on that, please see "Backfat Fatty Acid Evolution in Swine Fed Diets high in Either cis-Monounsaturated, trans or (n-3) Fats" by R. Fontanillas, A. Barroeta, M. D. Baucells and F. Guardiola.

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on August 12, 2011
at 11:53 PM

Oh man, I would love to try Mangalitsa. Yum.

5
61e254571b4c792bca87340a090a3ea1

on August 12, 2011
at 10:34 PM

I lived on a farm that did pigs pretty paleo. They fed them milk and whey, down fruit and nuts(mostly hazel, but they also got acorns, and chestnuts), spent crops, table scraps, and after goats cleared a black berry patch we would put them in too root. They got pretty fat you could render lard and got fatty bacon. The breed can play a role in how easy they put on fat too. The breed they had red wattles. I have heard Mangalitsa pigs get really fatty. So you may have some luck looking into very small farms doing heritage breeds. N.C. is pretty back to the landish in places. So I think you may have some luck.

Now I hunt pigs in northern california, and a little in oregon but it's slim picking in oregon. Anyway the meat is a lot leaner, almost beefy (darker, thougher, etc.) the pigs out here do eat a lot of wild plants, insects ( they tear up rotten logs, and dig up yellow jacket nest) and even small animals(rodent nests, turkey and water foul eggs) a lot like bears. But they do tend to stay on the edges of farmland/wild land. But if it's not an area growing grains it just means they eat a lot of probably non-organic cabbage or alfalfa or whatever. If you find a farmer that is too busy to hunt them. A lot of them will let you on there land especially if you bring them back some meat which you should do anyway. If you haven't hunted before pigs are a good place to start. They can be smart but they're considered a nuisance so you have less rules as far as baiting, season, methods. So if you really care if your pork is paleo maybe you should go kill it.

61e254571b4c792bca87340a090a3ea1

(480)

on August 12, 2011
at 11:00 PM

In a lot of states you can kill pigs with just about anything.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 10:48 PM

+1 from me. The thought has crossed my mind. Cross-bows are legal in NC.

3
16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

on August 12, 2011
at 11:51 PM

I'm fairly sure Joel Salatin does not supplement his pigs with any feed and I would tend to think that those who follow him in his farming style would be on the same page with that but I'm not sure. Your question sort of freaks me out because I don't think I have been as diligent with asking the newest farm I've been buying from about the feed ratio.

You're in NC? I'm in the Triangle, this is who I've been buying it from, they're really nice and have incredible stuff. Ray Family Farms - pork

. Our pigs live off clover, grasses, and woodlands. We also supplement their diet with fresh ground alphalfa, corn, oats, barley, and wheat. We will feed alfalfa hay in the winter. Our pasture pork will be finished with apples, pears, acorns, and dairy products (really).

Medium avatar

(2169)

on August 13, 2011
at 02:38 AM

Yay for other paleos in NC! I'm all over NC but generally based in Raleigh (I grew up here) +1 thanks for the great local link!

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on August 13, 2011
at 11:59 AM

You're quite welcome. Chad and Jodi (of Ray Family Farms) are really good people who obviously love their animals and want to do things the best way possible. Oh, and btw, they don't currently carry pork belly but they should be soon (per my request). If there's a cut you'd like to see that they don't have they're willing to talk to their processor about it. Also, I haven't yet done it because of the heat but they are very open with offering farm tours. I will be doing a tour soon. The farm is just gorgeous from what I've seen.

3
7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:26 PM

I don't think it's even legal in the UK to feed pigs on scraps!!

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:36 PM

That's terrible. The oil-makers really seem to have a stranglehold on the domestication of this animal. I'm starting to believe that.

2
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 12, 2011
at 09:41 PM

One pig supplier I work with primarily feeds her pigs whey, which really isn't bad. You can also feed them roots and fruits and acorns, though this will make it take a long time to fatten a pig. If you think about it, you realize why farmers aren't selling paleo pigs. Fat pigs = more money. A paleo diet won't make a pig fat! I'm going to raise my pigs this way, but the meat is going to be absurdly expensive.

Call around and see if you can find a pig supplier that fits your needs. Unfortunately, most wild boar is also supplemented with grain. And feral boars that you hunt yourself often graze on grains from nearby farms.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on August 12, 2011
at 10:04 PM

You're going to start raising pigs???

2
Medium avatar

on August 12, 2011
at 09:21 PM

I don't think truly wild game animal meat is legal to sell, but it may depend on the state. You may be better off making a deal with a hunter if at all possible.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:23 PM

I am in North Carolina. That law SUCKS...I might add. LOL. +1 for your response.

1
Dc666820728e47fd675a80e34624b268

(10)

on June 29, 2013
at 09:15 PM

http://youtu.be/JjBtZxlkEDw

This is how pigs should be raised. Not in mud, but a pig pasure that allows them to be omnivores. GMO free corn and local grain feed is ok, but they should also get bugs, fruit, grass, grubs, and worms. That's how we should be Makin' our Bacon!

1
B96486cc39cf24fdf259424f833a5d5b

(493)

on August 12, 2011
at 11:43 PM

Why not just balance out the extra O6 with more O3? Nothing says you have got to eat pork every single day - although bacon is probably the one thing most people would want to have as a daily staple. Balance your pork and chicken intake with more fish intake or good quality supplements. Seems easier than going hunting for boar.

1
C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:40 PM

I remember Robb Wolf said he found a farmer that fed pigs only apples... or something along those lines.

I know when my dad raised pigs they did get fed fed but they also ate just about everything we didn't.... Egg Shells, left overs.... natures garbage disposal, half the problem is that pigs will eat anything.

226b10cbb6b1d3530b00d2d84a2dc86e

(3313)

on August 12, 2011
at 09:42 PM

I met a pig farmer hear whose mother owns an apple orchard but he still leans on the feed. He finishes the pigs on apples.

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