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Pigs for Burrowing Mammal Control

 
Kyrt Ryder
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Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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It came up in another thread that some people have problems with burrowing mammals [Gophers, Voles, Prairie Dogs, etc.]

I've seen pig dig right down and eat these, and I'm wondering if anyone else has seen the same or has any thoughts on the use of pigs to restrict the population of these nibblers.

It also seems like carnivorous poultry [Turkeys and Chickens in particular] would have far easier access to these critters after the pigs tore up their tunnels.
 
Sharon Clark
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We have been wondering the same thing.  We have a 325 acre farm in Arizona that is terraced.  We use flood irrigation so when gophers burrow from one level to another, water follows the burrow, resulting in a washout.  We have been freezing gophers and ground squirrels with the idea of getting a couple of weaner sows trained to eat them, then putting them out in the field to hunt and eat the gophers and squirrels.  We thought a smaller breed pig, 200 lbs. or less, would be easier to handle and more nimble, with hair so they won't sunburn (we are in Arizona, after all), and good rooters.  We thought we would try sows so that if this worked they could train their babies to do the same.  Does this sound crazy?  Has anyone ever tried this?  Any feedback would be appreciated.  (Plan B is a pack of rat terriers, but we thought pork would taste better   )
 
thomas rubino
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana
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My experience with pigs is that if they see it move they will eat it. Not sure if you could train them to go by smell.   But pigs are very smart animals and its certainly worth a try. Using sows that would then train the weiners is a good idea. If it doesn't work then you can enjoy your new pack of terriers while eating roast piggy. Good luck and keep us posted how it is working out.
 
Bonnie Johnson
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I think the pigs will eat anything.  IF you have some carcasses and they eat them, then they will already be trained to eat creature. Pigs are trained by scent to hunt truffles. 
My concerns with using pigs in a terraced area is that the pigs dig and root and they might tear things up worse unless you could use some electric fence to keep them from the
dike. 

I have pigs. I want to start rotating them on pasture but haven't gotten to that point yet.  The pigs are in a large area without anything growing in it now. I take them greens
and feed.  All the weeds from the garden go to them. 

We have American Guinea Hogs. My three year old sows might be about 200lbs maybe 250. You actually have to be careful or they will get too fat too easily. They will eat hay
in the winter.  Mine are very friendly and easy to handle. I was able to keep the boar in with the sows even they were giving birth.  I am able to go in and handle the piglets on day
one without the mother getting upset. 

I was worried that if I fed them a dead chick or a dead chicken or a dead rabbit that they might go after my live chickens. I have had yorkshire pigs before that would catch and eat
live chickens, but the American Guinea hogs don't seem to go after my chickens.  I don't know what they would do with a live vole or mole or gopher.  The pigs might disturb the ground
enough that the ground dwelling animals just wouldn't want to be in the area. I can say there are no mole tunnels in my pig area.

My long legged Jack Russell keeps the moles and other varmints out of the yard.

goodluck

Bonnie
 
eric koperek
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TO:  Kyrt Ryder
FROM:  Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT:  Pigs for Vermin Control
DATE:  PM 6:19 Monday 25 July 2016
TEXT:

(1)     Pigs are omnivores and will eat anything smaller than themselves (including infants and young children).  Keep children safely away from pigs, especially if they are raised in pens.  Confined pigs are much more aggressive than free-range hogs. 

(2)     To keep mice and rats out of granaries build storehouses on tall posts or pylons high enough for a man to walk underneath.  Fence area around granary and turn in pigs.  Swine will eat anything that walks, flies, or burrows into their hog yard.  Granaries built in hog yards will remain 100% vermin free as long as 1 or more hogs are present.  NOTE:  Do NOT put rings in hogs' snouts.  Ringed hogs cannot root.  Use rings only when you do not want hogs to dig.

(3)    Trapping is the most cost effective way to control larger mammals like muskrats, prairie dogs = gophers, ground hogs, rabbits, and beavers.

(4)     The best biological control method for prairie dogs and similar sized vermin is hunting with MINIATURE DACHSHUNDS.  Use standard size dachshunds for larger prey like ground hogs.

(5)     RULE:  Always hunt with 2 or more dachshunds.  Tunnel complexes have multiple outlets so you need more than one dog, especially with larger prey like ground hogs. "When in doubt, add more dachshunds".

(6)     RULE:  Always bring a shovel when hunting with dachshunds.  The dogs may get stuck and you will have to dig them out.  (This is why miniature dachshunds are better than standard size dachshunds; small dogs rarely get stuck).

(7)     Take your dachshunds hunting when they are young.  Help them dig up a burrow.  Feed them live game so they learn what they are supposed to kill and eat.  Encourage pups to dig (even if they bulldoze your lawn).  Hunting is part genetic (instinct) and part learning.  Most dogs need to be taught how to hunt = practice makes perfect.  Buy your pups from breeders who use dachshunds to hunt.  (Parents teach pups how to kill game). 

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment

 
Bonnie Johnson
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As luck would have it, my long legged Jack Russell, George, got a big star nosed mole.  George won't eat moles.  So I grabbed the mole and tossed it in with the pigs.  The pigs were just finishing their breakfast so
I didn't know if they would notice the dead mole.  One of the sows pounced on the mole in short order.  She had a nice mole dessert.  So yep, my American Guinea Hogs will eat moles. 

My chickens eat mice.  George catches and kills mice but doesn't always eat them.  George has always had a prey drive the only thing I had to do to get him to get moles was point at a tunnel and
tell him to get it.  A little inherited drive for digging out varmints sure helps with the training.  

Bonnie
 
Richard Stromberg
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If you bury a lit road flare in the hole it will kill them dead.
 
Bonnie Johnson
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IN reference to the feed shed granary on pylons so pigs could get under it. It sounds kinda cool, but. 

I don't think I would want to have to fight my way to the feed shed and back out through a herd of pigs.  LOL  They get pretty excited about their feed. Mine can't  see all that well
so they will accidentally run into you.  And I don't like getting muddy piggy nose prints on the backs of my calves. 

However, I did build my new feed shed up on concrete piers. I built it high enough so that my Jack Russell Terrier George and any future varmint dogs will be able to get under there
pretty easily.  George is long legged he does not have short stubby legs.  Also the chickens can get under the feed shed. They go under and hide if they think they see a hawk. They
go under there to get some shade and I hope they would eat mice if they found them since my chickens normally love to eat mice.  Also since the mice and any other rodents don't
have a place to get under and hide they don't seem to be trying to get in the feed shed all that much.  There is no way for rodents to under mine the floor either. 

When George passes, I will get another varmint dog as he is way better than a cat. George has killed multitudes of mice and rats and moles. He kills ground hogs. He has killed
a big raccoon all on his own. And he kills skunks.  I know my pigs might eat all of those things, except the skunk, but I don't think the pigs will go kill ground hogs or raccoons.

I like my pigs a lot though.  They really do fill a niche here on our farm. 

Bonnie

 
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