NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Orchard Pigs?  (Read 274 times)

Fibelle

  • Joined Jul 2019
Orchard Pigs?
« on: July 15, 2019, 10:54:20 am »
Hello, we have a small ‘orchard’ (five or six apple trees and some soft-fruit bushes) over about half an acre. Presently it’s very overgrown, with ground elder, nettles and brambles. I’ve tried strimming it but it’s an uphill battle so I’ve decided it needs someone to eat it!
We have some Herdwicks but they are terrible escape artists and I don’t think I could keep them in there - are pigs the answer?
I’d love to say I’d raise a couple for the freezer but I’m not sure I’m brave enough so I might end up keeping them ???????????
I should also add that we really just feed the apples to the horses and give away the soft fruit so I’m not that precious about it (though I would like to keep some of it!)
Voss Electric Fence

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Orchard Pigs?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2019, 01:59:57 pm »
The pigs will avoid the nettles and brambles, but if you strim them back they might keep them down. I'd be a little concerned about the rooting around the trees, but if you have established old trees or can protect them they should be ok. The fruit bushes will need protecting or they will get trashed!

Pigs can be quite hard to contain, especially as weaners. They can quite easily lift stock fencing up with their noses and wriggle under, and they are impossible (almost) to catch when they do escape! I like to use electric fencing to protect the fencing you have.

They will make a heck of a mess over the winter and unless you drain exceptionally well, you will end up with pigs up to their bellies in mud. I would buy a trio of boys and aim to keep them till around 6-7 months and see how you get on. As they clear the vegetation they will become more reliant on pig nuts and when they get to around 6 months its very expensive.


I would buy yourself a good pig keeping book and read up on what you'd need to provide them with and the set ups and legal requirements.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Orchard Pigs?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2019, 10:55:40 pm »

Pigs will help but two finishers aren't going to clear it. As said they will need secure fencing so if you can't keep our Herdwicks in there you won't keep pigs in. Even with all that greenery they will need pig food. Established trees will be ok but fruit bushes may not fair so well. That amount of ground should sustain two finishers without getting too muddy unless it is very wet, which it possibly isn't as an orchard. You could put pigs on when things have died back and fasten in smaller area so they give it a good rooting and then you can remove roots before Spring.


You could of course work out all the costs involved and then use the money to pay someone to clear it for you  :thinking:

Fibelle

  • Joined Jul 2019
Re: Orchard Pigs?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2019, 12:36:26 pm »
Harmony, that is probably wise advice!  :D I’m a glutton for punishment!

I was thinking of using electric fencing to tape off a small area at a time to get it cleared. Would they then graze it afterwards or would it be better to put the crazy Herdies on it then?

fsmnutter

  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Orchard Pigs?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2019, 04:23:11 pm »
Depends on the pigs ;)
I keep kune kune which are more likely to graze than other breeds, but can turn over an area if kept in a smaller area with weedy type stuff to turn up.
Depends what is left after the turned it over as well, many weeds will grow up quickly I  a bare patch if not reseeded with grass

 

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