Stockmanship means being a benevolent steward of both your animals and land. It means acting intentionally to ensure that every detail of your farm's operation fosters an environment of safety and low stress for the livestock and their handlers. This requires the stockman to have a beyond-expert understanding of his animals' most innate behavior and needs as a valued living creature, and the stick-to-itiveness to make the effort, day in and day out, to provide for them as such.

anon image

Forest Raised

Forest Raised

Douglas Gayeton

Forest Raised

Location: Greenbranch Farm, Salisbury, MD

Raising pigs in the woods is not an entirely new practice, but what is new about these pigs is that their forest foraging area rotates, thanks to the help of electric fencing. Ted lets them hit the wild forage hard until it dwindles, then moves them to fresh ground. This mimics the pattern of wild animals who are always moving to a fresh food supply, allowing the forest food to regenerate. Ted also enhances the wild forage supply by using forestry practices of selective thinning and clearing of trees and shrubs. Ted’s pigs also get a grain based pig feed, but this is only a fraction of their diet.

These animals forage and harvest their own food in the same habitat they would prefer if they were wild. The forest also provides them with shelter from the summer sun and cold winter winds; deciduous trees are the perfect passive solar home for a pig.

What are these pigs foraging for? Tree bark, shrubbery, wild grapes, worms, mice, acorns, grass, persimmons, dewberries, elderberries, roots, grubs, lizards, clover, ants, honeysuckle, seeds, beetles, hollyberries, hickory nuts, weeds, and blackberries.

Post to Stockmanship