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pigs and wetlands  RSS feed

 
Gene Water
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Location: Northeast IL
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Hi, I used the search function here and got some positive info, but also read on a DNC white paper that pigs shouldn't be put to graze on wetland (no explanation why).  So here I am asking, can I rotational graze piggies on wetland?  Anybody doing this?  I've got a couple acres of it, floodway land backing up to a creek, mostly all overgrown with the usual wetland grasses.  I'm looking into a couple american guinea hogs.  How are they on a diet of cat tails and such? 
 
Katie Jarvis
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We are wondering the same thing. Trying to decide between ossabaw, guineas, and kunes. We have some wetland in our pasture, which Im thinking they might enjoy in the summer. There's also a guy here who gleyed a pond with pigs, so that's a thought, too...
 
thomas rubino
pollinator
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Pigs love wetland / ponds. They need a cool spot.  The only reason I can think of for the DNC statement is that in some locations wetlands are protected / restricted  even on privet property.
 
Tom Worley
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Location: Ozark Border
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fish hunting urban
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It depends on what you want. North American wetland communities didn't evolve with pigs on the landscape and, because they root and wallow, pigs can be pretty tough on wetland plants.  Cattails put out a ton of biomass, but unlike cows or deer, pigs aren't as good at digesting cellulose, and they'll tend to preferentially graze easily digestible fruits, seeds, and plant parts before going for the tough stuff.  But if you're only keeping a couple animals, it shouldn't cause significant damage.  My advice would be to err on the side of caution- low stocking densities, reasonable rotation rates, and I don't think there should be much trouble. 
 
Gene Water
Posts: 16
Location: Northeast IL
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By the time we got the pigs, I already bush hogged the area, so it was mostly grass.  They root the wetter/softer ground like crazy, sometimes tearing up all grass in one day.  So my advise is, if you're going to put them there, be ready to move them very often.
 
robert e morgan
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Location: ne kansas
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cattails grow from rhizomes that are much like a sweet potato but very stringy . harvested and eaten by native americans . pigs would probably love them . and end up removing all the cattails. the first shoots in spring are very good they have a core about pencil sized that is delicious. i speak from experience.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Others have given sage advice and comments on hogs in a wetland environment.
AGH prefer grasses but they will root up every cattail for the tasty roots, you will have no cattails in a period of one or two days if you have a density of 2 animals per half acre.

All the soft ground will be rooted up and the wettest spot will be turned into a wallow, this allows them to get the mud onto their skin to protect from bugs and sunburn, it also helps them keep cool in the heat.
They will like to have some shade areas too but they will rub against tree trunks to the point of girdling the smaller trees thus killing them.
Hogs can snap an oak tree that is under 5 inches in diameter like it was a thin twig.

Redhawk
 
Luke Eising
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I graze pigs through wetland areas. After 4 years, the wetlands look fine

The pigs root around the edges of of swamps. The swamp rooting is a good thing - muck tends to anaerobic=acidic=on its way to peat. Aeration liberates nutrients to grow things
Marsh areas (grassy wetlands) don't attract a ton of eating interest from my pigs. My pigs don't root through it, though they make use of wallow spots.

Most scientific literature is dubious about pigs doing anything good, because they don't know how to raise pigs with low rooting behavior. I have finally been able to follow in Jeffries footsteps in grazing pigs without excessive rooting.
I have read scientific articles about grazing cattle in wetlands that fingered lack of disturbance as the cause of excessive invasive perennial species in wetlands. Wetlands in the wild do get disturbed.
 
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