Torn, Piglets, Kit and Hope
Piglet peeping time. This is Torn and her piglets enjoying a nesting spot in the new upper pastures that we’re reclaiming. It’s pretty rough up there right now but they’re gradually changing the land from forest back to fields. This is a natural cycle in which wind, fire, ice, beavers, rivers and man participate.
The sharp eye might notice that Torn has a short tail. We don’t clip tails or do other unnecessary interventions like that. Torn simply carries two copies of the recessive gene for short tails. Some of her piglets have short tails too for the same reason. Occasionally someone will ask if we cut tails and I explain that no, we don’t and never have.
Long Tailed Saddle Pig
Normally most pigs have long tails, much like a cows as shown on Saddle in the photo above. People are often surprised by this because in modern confinement animal feeding operations they cut pigs tails off. Why? Because when cramped up with many animals in the same small space they bite each other’s tails in addition to other anti-social behavior.
Out on pasture the animals behave very differently, can get away from an aggressor and simply don’t have the high level of aggression and stress. We don’t need to do tail clipping so we don’t. Nor do we dock ears, clip teeth, castrate or the many other unnecessary procedures that developed to deal with confinement operations. This is more humane which means less stress for the animals and in the end that means better quality meat.
Overcrowding causes all sorts of problems. Clipping tails isn’t the solution.
Outdoors: 50°F/35°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/65°F
Daily Spark: I squandered all my money on land.
You talked extensively about reclaiming land – turning forest to pasture. Any experience or advice for turning cornfield to pasture. More specifically, doing it without using tillers; or heavy fertilizers. Would one be able to put pigs on it to do this? As in a heavy concentration on small parcels at a time to dig and root? Certainly their food will have to be supplemented as all there is for them to eat is corn stalks, right?
Any help you can provide would be appreciated.
Zero, zilch, nada experience. That is better soil than we have. I would probably start with soil test, possibly liming and then grass/clover/alfalfa mix for seeding. Next divide into paddock for managed rotational grazing.
We have turned 10 acres of corn/soy into rotationally grazed pasture so far and hope to do more eventually. We had it cultivated by the old renter and then spring planted grass/alfalfa/cover along with a cover crop of oats. The oats allowed us to start grazing very very quickly so that we were adding manure to the soil quickly also.
Number one regret was using a drill for ALL seed and not planting another grass along with our orchard grass. The orchard is great but it is very clumpy and doesn’t spread, another … fescue or something to fill the gaps would be nice. Using a drill left rows and lots of bare soil. If doing again, I would drill the alfalfa and orchard and then broadcast some fescue and clovers. We never use any chemicals so that our soil can start to regain some life in it. It is clearly doing so with earthworms, dung beetles, and microbes now.
Is the rumor try that a unhappy or sick pig tail is not curly?
It’s a myth. A non-curled (straight down) tail is like a neutral face on a person.