working pigs: turning compost and clearing landgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Somebody asked about pigs yesterday and I had some pics on the digital camera that I thought might be of help. So I threw together a bit of a web page...
Not sure we can do links here, but here goes a try:
Anyway, would appreciate feedback and all. Some of the ideas I'm trying came from this forum.
-- Paul Wheaton (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2001
Great job Paul, your pigs look like they are doing a super job. Do you just have the 3 pigs in that area? Could you have used more pigs or was 3 enough? Also, what are you going to do with the land when it is finished? It will be interesting to see it come spring, I hope you will post more pics of how it's going.
-- Carol Koller (email@example.com), November 22, 2001.
It makes me so happy when someone reports the results of their endeavours. I don't know about pigs, but when the neighbor's cows have come to our pasture, it really makes a difference in our leaking pond. What are your plans for the areas where the pigs were?
-- Ann Markson (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2001.
Three pigs seems to be plenty for now.
For the place where the pigs were, I plan to take out those trees and bushes and plant a non-bloating pasture mix. That used to be a micro pond, so I plan to dig it out a little and let it re-fill in the spring.
-- Paul Wheaton (email@example.com), November 22, 2001.
Great report Paul. You get an A+ for showing us all what you have done!!! Those little piggys are sure great plows aren't they!!!
-- diane (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2001.
Please consider working up an article for Countryside on this.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), November 23, 2001.
Do the pigs ever try to root under your cattle panels? I have had pretty good success with cattle panels and pigs but we fed ours twice daily. Do your piggies stay in because of the corn you put under the straw so in essence they are rooting for dinner?
I have an area near a creek which is so overgrown that we can't get in to it to thin the trees, I was thinking that this method might work if we can keep the little rooters in the pen. Does the size of the pen help, bigger = better? Our spring fed creek used to run 300 feet on top of the ground, now it seems to be moving underground at a rate of about a foot per year. How would the pigs help turn the creek back to running on top of the ground? I don't understand that part, can you explain? By the way, those were some great pics!
-- Cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
Article in countryside: I suppose I could compose something about using them as plows - but that would be a pretty small article. I need to wait a few months to have solid results on the compost turning.
Getting under the panels: This was another thing I read about. If they have lots of space, they aren't very interested in getting away. We have yet to have trouble with them trying to get away.
Dinner: We do slop them once a day still. So I don't think they stay in strictly for the straw. The did stay in for the previous pen too where there was no compost pile - but plenty of thistles!
Creek: Keep in mind I have not done this myself, so this is pure speculation on my part.... The bigger the area you make, the longer it will take the pigs to "prepare" the area for you. As for getting the creek to come to the surface: Imagine that werever you run the pigs that the area gets a big layer of solid rubber. The water cannot penetrate the rubber layer. So if the water comes in above the rubber layer, it will leave the layer on top. But if your water is already below the rubber layer, it will not come above it.
I know that sounds confusing. Let me try again. I would build a pig pin around the area where the water disappears and remains gone. After the pigs have sealed the area, I suspect that the water will stay above ground for the whole length of where the pig pen was.
-- Paul Wheaton (email@example.com), November 23, 2001.
Thought that I would share our 'recipe' for using pigs.
1. Set up 4-6 cattle pannels with steel posts in center of pannels. 2. Add an "A" frame house on skids. Easy to pull. 3. Place a bucket of water and feeder in pen. 4. Put in 2 young feeder piggies. (Called the last ones Crunch and Munch.) 5. Every couple of days (or when fully turned)pull up posts, move pannels without untying corners, and reset posts. 6. Pick any rocks out of 'old' pen and rake flat. (or plant) 7. Put piggies in the freezer.
My pigs don't get out since they have the pen moved once they turn the ground. The pigs found some really large rocks and had a blast digging them out. The pigs would shove the rocks to one corner, the piggie waste to another and used the other corners for their feed and house. Pigs are really clean!
Hint - Once the pigs are freezer size 250 lbs. this method gets harder since they need more room. Thats why they go into the freezer.
-- miller (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
Hey, Paul, your webpage is just great! I really appreciate the pictures...a great help in visualizing it all. Thank you so much!
-- snoozy (email@example.com), November 23, 2001.
Okay, Okay, now you you have me eyeying my pet pigs! Another Project, +sigh+ just what I wanted! It was getting slow around here!;)
prince charles has funded free range sows in electric fencing rotating w/ hay harvest & chickens. i saw a book on it somwhere. but I was not interested in meat production, so I dropped it. but a four stock panel pig tractor now that might be the ticket during the winter!
I have used the pigs for vine/underbrush control by scattering chopped corn on the problem areas. That worked splendedly, The whole overgrown back field looks a bit more manageable this way. Wow! Thank You again for the Inspiration, here Ginger piggy, here B'berry pig...sooo-eeee!
-- bj pepper in C. MS. (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
Great web site Paul. One question though. If you use the pigs for rootting in and around the pond or water source wouldn't you have to worry about a disease? Like trichinosis or ? Dureen
-- Dureen (email@example.com), November 24, 2001.
Thanks for your answers, Paul. My little spring in 1986 began directly behind my house and ran on top of the ground for 300-400' before leaving the property. Now, I seem to have "lost" about 150' feet of it. Where it used to come up to the surface is dry and around 150' feet later, it now comes to the surface.
If I were to dig up the dirt that is now the old streambed from the new point of existance on top of the ground back to the old, does anyone think that would get back my 150' of top running stream? I can't explain it too clearly here, but I remember reading that springs come to the surface where there is the least resistance and to never dig behind the springhead. But if the springhead used to be further up the creek, would it hurt to backhoe out the dirt to where it used to be?
I don't want to lose anymore of my creek and am afraid if I just let it go, the rest of the creek will go underground as well.
-- Cindy (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 25, 2001.
trichinosis: That's a good question. I'm sorry to say that I don't have an answer. I suppose there could be that risk for a while - but it would pass.
Digging around springs: Another great question. I would like to hear an answer for this one too!
-- Paul Wheaton (email@example.com), November 25, 2001.
Paul, Thanks for sharing the pictures and info. I've been thinking about using pigs to clear a couple of pieces of land next year. Now I'm fairly sure I'll give it a try. Thanks.
-- Murray in ME (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2001.
>>Getting under the panels: This was another thing I read about. If they have lots of space, they aren't very interested in getting away. We have yet to have trouble with them trying to get away. <<
I don't have any trouble keeping feeder pigs in with stock panels, but breeding adults are a different story altogether. Even with a huge pen, my sow (1 1/2 years old) can peel open a stock panel without even pausing in her slow amble forward, just uses a toss or two of her nose. I discovered this when ripe apples started hitting the ground, apparantly they smelled tempting.
I got some of those yellow clips designed to hold electric fence wire about 6 inches out from the fencepost, and added a solar fence charger to the array. String the wire at about nose high, and no more worries.
-- Connie (Connie@lunehaven.com), November 27, 2001.