Outdoor pig farming

The United Kingdom is the country where outdoor pig farming is most widely spread. Its mild climate and only slight differences in temperature in summer as well as in winter provide ideal requirements for this low-cost and appropriate way of pig farming. For a number of years the percentage of outdoor pigs in the UK has been 20-25%, in France 8-10% and in Denmark 5-7%.

A larger size outdoor pig unit does not only require a farmer that can withstand all weathers but also needs light and permeable soils. This is important, as even after days of constant rain, the farmer has to drive the vehicles to the paddocks to feed and supply water to the animals. However, the condition of the soil is of no considerable importance to the pigs.

The number of weaned pigs varies in outdoor pig farming just as it does in indoor farming. Some outdoor farmers reach a number of 18 or 19 weaned pigs per sow per year, others achieve a number as high as 24 or 25. The natural site, as well as the animals' genetics, the fodder, the equipment and primarily the management influence production results. Therefore, visits and apprenticeships at farms that have been practising outdoor farming for some years is recommended.

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