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Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf

 
Andre Lasle
Posts: 59
Location: Mille Lacs, MN
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Hello fellow Permaphiles...

I recently moved to the North Woods, central Minnesota.
We have Wolves! And I suspect a lot, since I've seen them twice in daylight in two months.

I am forest-raising pigs. Currently I bring them in to an electro-net paddock during the day and put them back in a barn at night, because they are 80-100lbs and I strongly believe they could become someone else's dinner, not mine.

In addition to wolves, we have coyotes and Black bear- a lot of both as well.

Anyone have experience raising pigs outdoors in high-predator country? I know that my sheep would be sitting ducks, but what about pigs?

Any and all expertise would be appreciated.

Can they be left outside? If so, beginning at what weight/age?

Yada, yada.

Thanks!

Andre
 
Wyatt Barnes
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Hey Andre, my father raised pigs for about 10 years on the same land that had heavy sheep losses in the same era. 24 animals over two years lost to coyote/wolves and this isn't counting the occasional loss in other years. To my knowledge we never lost a pig. The pigs were allowed to root well out of sight of building, frequently in forested areas but always came back to get fed at night. Not sure if this helps but I would put my money on the pig winning over a wolf.
 
John Weiland
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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@Wyatt B: "I would put my money on the pig winning over a wolf."

I think this would depend on the age and breed of the pig. In any event, even though we don't raise our pigs for meat and are at the western edge of Minnesota's wolf range, we would recommend livestock guard dogs (LGDs), multiples for sure to make sure they are not overpowered/outnumbered by the wolves. The dogs are fine with the pigs once they are clued in that they are to be protected....and the dogs are most decidedly NOT fine with any other predator on the property. I would need to know a bit more about how often you would plan to be away from the property each day or each week, etc. but may be worth looking into.
 
Wyatt Barnes
Posts: 308
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Reasonable point, I should have said I would put my money on a full sized pig, or group of pigs, over wolves.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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The wolves will easily kill pigs, even a big boar or sow. Even coyotes can do this. Pigs don't do team work. Wolves do. Wolves bring down buck moose, muskox, etc. Pigs don't stand a chance.

I know. I have wolves. Wolves guard our livestock. Your best defense against wild wolves, two-leggers, bear, coyotes and other predators is a combination of good fences and a good pack of your own. A single dog won't do. It takes a pack.

See: http://sugarmtnfarm.com/animals/dogs/

If you don't have good fences or your own pack to guard your livestock then consider bringing the livestock in close to the home base at night.

-Walter
 
Andre Lasle
Posts: 59
Location: Mille Lacs, MN
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Walter,

Thanks for posting a reply! Your website has always been a great source of information- indispensable.

Can you direct me to any of your blogs that discuss what type/design on fencing you recommend?

I've been looking in to high-tensile electrified, but want to make sure I get the right spacing, height and number of strands, etc.

Thanks again,

Andre
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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We have a variety of types of fencing. As long as motivation is under control and the pigs are trained to electric very little can be sufficient. Here is the best we've done which we're gradually implementing everywhere.

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2015/11/17/pig-proof-fence/
 
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