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fouling pasture with the addition of grazing pigs?

 
Joe Paul
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Hi guys, we have been trying to pasture some pigs by pairing them up with the cows and shifting them together (so far so good) - but our neighbor advised us that we may inadvertently be fouling up our pasture because wherever the pigs "do their business" is going to create a spot that no animal will graze in the future.

Perhaps he is right in the short term - but won't that deposit break down and "feed the soil" over the longer term?

I didn't know what else to reply to him on this one other than the fact that the cows are also pooping all over the place - why is that any different than the pigs? If the cow poop breaks down eventually, shouldn't the pig poop do the same? Is there a difference here?

Although our pigs are mainly pastured - we do supplement with milk and scraps - perhaps that changes the constitution of their poop?
 
Milo Jones
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I think he may be overestimating the intelligence of cows. If it is green and tasty when the cow gets there it will be eaten, the cow doesn't care what was there a month or two ago. I think if you are giving your pasture enough time to recover you will be fine.
 
Joe Paul
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Is there any certain "best practice" management for dealing with the poops once deposited - or - just leaving sufficient time in between the grazing (for pasture recovery) is sufficient?
 
Timothy Markus
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Just leave sufficient rest time. If they don't graze from those spots the next time, they will the time after that.
 
Joe Paul
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Another follow on question relating to the same topic... I notice the grasses they don't eat (probably from the poop) get quite long after them not grazing them. Do I just leave it? If I do it gets too hard and undesirable for them to eat because of that. Do I cut it down? What is the easiest most efficient way to deal with these patches?
 
Timothy Markus
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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The easiest and most efficient way is to mob graze them densely enough that they eat it all down to about 1/3. If you give them a small enough area and frequent moved, you can get them to eat anything. If you also time your rotations to hit when the undesirable species is vulnerable, you can get rid of them faster.

Usually, though, these unpalatable species are filling a need and likely concentrating certain minerals that are lacking. You can cut it down or you can not worry about it so much until you've addressed the more important things on your plate. I'd add the pigs and move them once or twice a day if you can. Once you've got that down, worry about what's left behind more. You may find it's no longer an issue.
 
Joe Paul
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I've read that the introduction of chickens (or perhaps other poultry?) can help break up the poops so they are less concentrated. Is this a practice some frequently use to reduce those "bad patches" of pasture?

And if this is the case - how does one prevent the birds from escaping their property? Surely they wouldn't be lining their entire boundary with chicken wire - that would be crazy expensive. I was thinking of perhaps having a mobile home for them but let them go mostly free range the entire time - perhaps behind the other animals in rotation. Wishful thinking?
 
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