The Rubbing Tree

The Rubbing Tree

This tree is in one of the lower south field farrowing paddocks. As you can see it is a favored rubbing spot for the big sows who are farrowing and nursing down there. When cutting trees to make pasture, leave some stumps high and the livestock will enjoy rubbing on them.

With horses and sheep I see a lot more damage than we do with the pigs. The pigs mostly just rub the tree to scratch an itch. Sheep and horses tear off the bark with their teeth. They are especially fond of fruit trees so it is wise to fence them off with a guard.

Boars will occasionally pick a tree for testing their tusks. Generally this is a smaller tree. They appear to joust it. This reminds me of what moose do with their antlers, evidence of which I find sometimes out in the woods as stripped trees in vertical lines. Bears do it as claw scratching and back rubbing. Perhaps they’re all doing territorial marking as well as simply sharpening their tools of the trade.

For much smaller trees the pigs will simply eat them, as will sheep and cattle. Bush hogging works but requires mob grazing techniques and a lot of pigs to be very effective. I find that 100 pigs run through a two acre paddock for a month will mow out most of the brush. Then again later in the season for about two runs a year and the brush will turn to pasture. This is notable because I’ve often heard people think they’ll clear a five acre field of brush with a few pigs. They won’t. It takes a lot of animals doing concentrated grazing, mob grazing, to have that effect. More over, it takes big animals. Those 100 pigs I mentioned above were roaster, finisher and breeder sow sized animals – thats 100 to 600 lbs each.

Rotational grazing means the trees get a break from the animals. For even more protection the double fence lines leave a buffer zone that keeps larger animals off the trees. This is especially useful in the orchards and with young tree stock.

Outdoors: 72°F/63°F Mostly Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/63°F

Daily Spark: Luck is being open to opportunity.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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