Plowing With Pigs: Woodland Edition!

| 5/22/2012 4:04:23 PM

Roughly ten months ago we embarked on a new journey into pig ownership. Our first gardening attempt on our new farm quickly turned into a colossal failure. Our chosen garden spot had been a well fertilized cattle pasture for twenty years. The rough winter turned into a wet spring, and an even wetter early summer. Then drought hit, and the few veggies that had survived the tremendous weed growth during the flood finally gave up. We were left with a horribly embarrassing garden full of weeds and dead plants. About this time I stumbled upon Hank Will’s article on plowing with pigs. He had wrote about his experience tilling and plowing his garden area with heritage hogs. The idea stayed with us, and we began researching hog breeds and looking for nearby breeders.

Within a month we found a local breeder of Poland China, Chester, and Yorkshire hogs. Our initial purchase of two piglets got us started, but we had four gardens plus a melon patch to weed! Our two became four and then six, and thus our journey into plowing with pigs began. For more details on our garden plowing experience, check out our previous blog titled “Pig Power! Using Pigs to Prepare a Garden.” Below you see our first two piglets, Bacon (gilt) and Pork Chop (barrow).

Pigs First Day

Our gardens are now growing beautifully, with very few weeds to deal with. Another benefit to using this method is the free fertilizer and composting material that gets worked into the soil by the pigs feet. Straw bedding and manure make for excellent soil after a few months of being trampled under pig feet! Below you can see just how bad the garden area was. Just a few short months with pigs on it and it is hard to believe the difference!  

Garden Before Pigs
Here we are just three months after putting the piglets in the garden.

Pig Plowed Garden

Suzanne Cox
9/27/2012 9:48:14 PM

We do love our pigs. They are funny, useful, and hey they taste good too! Don't under estimate the speed of a hog. They would probably be fast enough to get away from a bull as long as there was a way out of the field. Now if they were cornered there wouldn't be any defense against those huge horns! I know our boar Boss has scared people to death at night thundering up to the fence row when they don't know he is there. I think he scarred my Mom for life! She had no idea they were so fast.

Libby and Dave
9/27/2012 7:09:22 PM

We've met many pigs, and find them to be very hospitable. We'd like to have these on our farm, but one broken fence and the Longhorn bull in the pasture next door would likely kill them. Too bad though, because those pigs are certainly good at plowing a pasture!

5/23/2012 5:10:35 PM

Hey Dave! Perhaps you are right about the neighbors not enjoying the pigs where your property is! We have had such a good time with our pigs, despite being warned by several people we know about them being hard to keep in and dirty. We have found that not to be the case at all! Our boar, Boss has managed to get out a few times during power outages when the fence goes out but a simple shake of a feed container and he's right back where he belongs! They are very intelligent and friendly creatures. The benefits of using pigs for clean up verses other methods such as machines or chemicals are tremendous! Not to mention the end result of a full freezer! I would absolutely recommend them for anyone (NOT inside city limits or subject to codes) who needs to do some cleaning up. :)

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