Using pigs to clear brush

Jea

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We live on a heavily wooded and wild acres. We thought the goats would be good with brush clearing but ours never like to leave their yard and if we can get them over to the brush they just stand there. We were thinking that pigs might do well, but can you put them in a temporary pen in a brushy area and let them graze there? I know they're tough on fences.
 

Baymule

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I put pigs in a pasture and they did a fair bit of rooting. They didn’t clear the brush, saplings or masses of green briars. The Sheep did a better job of that than the Pigs.
 

Beekissed

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You need to fence your goats into the brush area and stop feeding them alternate feed. That's about the only way you'll get that cleared. Bay's right....pigs will do a lot for a wood lot but they can't clear the brush for you.
 

Baymule

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Here is a thread on my continuing journey to making pastures. Our best friend has been a sharp machete. We have half a dozen of them, I sharpened them up before we hit the green briars. Next to the machetes, is our other best friend, the chainsaw.



My hair sheep are good at eating weeds, brush, briars and tree limbs and tops. We always let the sheep clean them up before hauling to the burn pile. We are finally whipping this place into good shape, pastures are taking shape and looking good.
 

JimLad

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Hi Jea: I'm new to goats, have half a dozen with the oldest two being one year old. We have similar properties and I agree with Beekissed. After only a month or so with me, these guys have lost all interest in hay. They get a tin of goat text in the evening as well as occassional alfalfa pellets and a small dose of black oil sunflower seeds.
They are locked in at night so I leave a continuous supply of Timothy/Alfalfa cubes. Dry.
I'm retired so while I slowly work on the fencing, I take a picnic chair to various spots and just sit with them.
I'm sure if you don't buy hay they will do as mine did.
Also, they seem to learn from each other and you will see a daily improvement in their browsing skills.
 

YourRabbitGirl

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We live on a heavily wooded and wild acres. We thought the goats would be good with brush clearing but ours never like to leave their yard and if we can get them over to the brush they just stand there. We were thinking that pigs might do well, but can you put them in a temporary pen in a brushy area and let them graze there? I know they're tough on fences.
The ability of pigs to clear ground though makes it possible to clear more area and have more fenced off areas in the future. Many people let pigs loose in wooded property and they do quite well.
 

misfitmorgan

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The ability of pigs to clear ground though makes it possible to clear more area and have more fenced off areas in the future. Many people let pigs loose in wooded property and they do quite well.

Late to the party but I agree. I would turn your goats out in the brush without hay, they will eat it I assure you.

Pigs will clear woods and brush quite well, there are many people on youtube with videos doing just that. They are not going to of course remove anything large then maybe an inch around and not going to make a level pretty pasture. They will if left there long enough eat everything green and root up every root possible including taking care of kudzu. One guy named justin rodes has been doing it for 2yrs now and had gained back 2+ acres of pasture from the woods and thats with just batches of butcher pigs.. His trick is throw the feed into the brush so the pigs have to go in there to get it. Also likely depends on size of area given, number of pigs, size of pigs, climate, and soil type.

We have seen this on a small scale with our pigs they totally decimated a 500sqft section of autumn olive, scrub pine, pine saplings, almost a foot deep of pinecones, those are our breeders though and they simply had to lean against most things to knock them down. The only thing left growing in that section is one 6inch around cedar tree which has all of its branches that were closer then 4ft to the ground removed...by the pigs. That 500sqft is bare super fertile dirt now, we could grade it and plant grass or pasture mix and it would grow up lush and goregous.

There is another guy on youtube who does this on a BIG scale on his farm with 250 pigs. After the pigs go threw they select cut old growth to reduce the tree canopy to 70% coverage. His main operation is beef cattle and he wanted more graze for them so started doing the pigs.
 

Jea

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We ended up opening up the back of our pig pen and giving them 12000 sq ft of wild wooded space. Within 2-3 weeks or so, they had cleared all the weeds to the ground rooted up whatever they could, and created little pathways through the brush so its a wild pig land. We saw a fox sneak through the cattle panels last week to eat some berries off of a bush they hadn't touched and they all go running at it like an intruder has entered their domain. The nice thing is that they seem to leave the bushes and trees alone, just handle ground underneath and create their pig pathways.
 
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