Burdock Spring


Burdock Balls at the Graveyard

Burdock loves sheep. Pigs love burdocks. Problem solved.

Burdock are fun to play with, tossing them at each other – just so long as you don’t have sheep. If you have sheep then burdock are the plant from hell. Our sheep once got into a burdock patch and had hundreds, maybe thousands, of dry, brittle burdock balls all over their wool. It was a disaster. The wool was a complete loss.

When we had arrived here over 20 years ago there was no burdock but then in the mid-1990’s it invaded from the north, creeping slowly along the road each year towards our farm. For years we hacked and poked to kill off the burdock. It was a never ending battle.

Enter the pigs. Pigs love, adore, will do almost anything for burdock. Roots. Stems. Leaves. Balls. Burdock is a delicacy to pigs. Pretty soon there was no more burdock wherever the pigs could get to. The little that is along the road we still control by hand but now it is much more manageable. I would love to herd the pigs up the road. We only get about a car an hour. In a few years of doing that they would clear the road as well. Someday.

Interestingly, pigs also love to eat thistles. Ouch. Different, er, strokes for different folks.

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Daily Spark: Imaginary numbers are proof that you don’t have to be real to make a difference. -Ben Jeffries

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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7 Responses to Burdock Spring

  1. Susan Lea says:

    Another good reason to get a pig! Do they also like pigweed? Because its sticky sap is a mess, and I’d love to get rid of it!

    • I’m not sure. They did get rid of the dog weed, but that was simply by trampling. It couldn’t take the traffic of grazing. I don’t think they ate it. Some things are toxic and I think that is one such but they don’t eat them unless desperate since the toxic plants taste bad. That’s my mother’s explination and it makes sense.

  2. One of our dogs likes spicy foods, too. I sometimes catch him hunting and eating bees/wasps/etc *ouch*

  3. David Lloyd Sutton says:

    At one time I had over twenty artichoke plants. I was so over-supplied, I was harvesting them as tiny buds for deep frying. Then the neighbor’s horses discovered them, and my plants disappeared in two nights. In the same line, I used to harvest Scots thistles for my goats. They loved the prickly things. Each species to its own. On a regional note, what we call ‘burdock’ here in California is a tiny stickery thing with orange blossoms, totally different than what you have posted. Common names last longer than reality . . . I’ll send you a photo on your e site.

  4. SoapBoxTech says:

    Our summer pasture half section has been invaded by Canada thistle. We fought it as you fought the burdock for years, or rather my parents did. I have been wondering about donkeys or goats but this article gives me a new idea.

    As always, thanks.

  5. BC says:

    Our sheep and goats love to eat burdock! They always eat it first in their new daily pasture.

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