Porcine Adventures: Merry Mud Monkeys

It’s rained a lot lately. And it even snowed. With all that precipitation, the piglets’ paddock turned into what looked like a mud pit. And they had a grand time!

Finally, we got a break from the weather, so it was time to move the littles onto fresh pasture. With practice, it has gotten easier: we try to effectuate the move from one paddock to another as quickly as possible, knowing that they’re easily distracted (even when the “lure” is a delicious banana – a high value treat to these guys, including the peel).

It went very smoothly today, with only Pollux becoming distracted and needing a push to get him into the paddock. He would willingly have followed the banana, had there not been so much lush pasture between him and it. Once he was in, he scarfed down the banana, pleased as punch.

In the new run, the piglets immediately got to work, pulling up plants and digging around, grunting happily as they worked. These guys exude happiness – you can hear it and see it. Pigs on pasture are happy pigs, indeed!

After a few moves, we’ve realized that the piglets need a larger grazing paddock. They were in a 100 SF area and it only lasted about five days – and with rain, the ground is tilled much faster. We’ve ordered a new electric netting fence, 164′ this time. The additional square footage should allow the littles to stay in their paddock a few days longer (depending on the weather) because they’ll have more than 50% more space.

Check out the progression in the photo below: from oldest paddocks (top) to newly-vacated (bottom). Grass is growing back in and should be completely filled in within a couple of months. I plan to get some black oil sunflower seed (“BOSS”) and/or whole oats and toss them onto the tilled (and fertilized) ground – they should germinate very easily and provide additional fodder for the animals. Nobody tills like the pigs do!

This is the time of year that the landscape really transforms: trees are leafing out, butterflies are already flitting from flower to flower, and I seriously think that the deeply green grass is growing before my eyes. The sheer lushness of the pastures is both spellbinding and amazing – and this seemingly boundless graminaceous bounty provides sustenance for animals and insects, attracts pollinators, and provides edibles for us to use, too. The chickweed, in particular, is abundant this year…stay tuned for a post about what I made with it!

Want to know more about why pigs love mud? Check out this LiveScience article!