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Small number of pigs in a large woodlot

 
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Hi!
I'm about to receive two American guine hogs who I hope to breed into a running total of 5 pigs plus pickets for a short time until the extra piglets can be sold .
We are blessed with 73 acres of mostly wooded forest and bordered on 3 sides by blm and privately owned timber land and about 1/2 mile from any neighbor's on the 4th side.  The point is, we have lots of seclusion and tons of space for the pigs to roam before they can get into trouble.

My plan is to pen them up at night (training them in the first week or so to come to a cow bell associated with a grain treat) and let them out during the day to forage wherever they like.  We have a large fenced garden some distance (I'm not great with distances, but my best guess is about 500 yards and down a hill through some forest and out of sight) from where the pig shelter will be.  A little way beyond this garden is a year round creek.  Currently, we have no home landscaping that I care to save because we are waiting to build our permanent home.
After the house is built the plan is to put a small fence around the yard and let the pigs, goats and chickens have the rest.

Here are my questions and concerns that I would be so grateful to hear your wisdom around:

1. Does it seem reasonable to hope that in this amount of space with tons of healthy forest to forage that the pigs will be unlikely to try to break in to the fenced garden?
2. If they do indeed come home nightly to a bell and treat, how far are they likely to travel in a day while out foraging?
3. My understanding is that pigs love to wallow and I want to honor that innate need in them.  I DONT want them to wallow in or near our creek so I would greatly appreciate any advice about where and how to create a great wallow spot that will not be prone to becoming a parasite haven.

Thabk you so much for your advice, permies!
Liselle

 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
95
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I'm in almost the exact same boat you are, so I'm looking forward to hearing the replies.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4328
Location: Anjou ,France
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It all depends
Where abouts are you ? Any possible predators ? Possible interaction with wild pigs ? What type of trees  predominate ? Firs or oaks for example .
What type of fencing will you have round your garden ?

David
 
gardener
Posts: 6671
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1322
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
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First off, in almost every state (USA) it is illegal to let hogs (any breed) run free without some sort of perimeter fence, the feral hog problem is huge and only getting larger.
Second, AGH, while very friendly and able to be tamed, are going to behave like any hog (it's all about the food and the wallow), they are going to make a wallow where there is water, so if you want to keep your creek untouched you can't let them free range.
They are not going to come to a bell unless you are going to keep them penned up for at least two or three months while you train them to come to that bell.
By the way, the boar will develop nice tusks (three years to grow about 4 inches long) which are deadly weapons, especially during a sow in heat period, he is going to be very grumpy about anyone or anything getting near that sow.
I've been charged at once by our boar, it was my fault, one of our registered sows was in estrus at the time. That is a scary situation if you aren't armed or aren't on really good terms with him before hand.
I had to stiff arm him on the head and tell him "Adam, stop that, it's me, let me give you an ear rub buddy". Once I got to scratching behind his ear, he calmed down a bit, but I still backed to the gate and got out of their enclosure fast.

Most breeders (I am a registered breeder of AGH) use white electric tape ( three strands) as a temporary fence so they can move them around at least weekly, less moving them around means more rooting, something I use to my advantage.
Once they know about the hurt those white tapes bring them, they will avoid them.
I don't know of anyone that doesn't keep their AGH fenced in, all the time, mostly because of their state laws I'm sure.
I want to know where my hogs are all the time since hunting wild hogs is a 24/7 365 thing in most states now, if they got out, I'm out a breeder hog with no recourse.
These are pasture hogs, while they will eat some bushes, they prefer grasses for their food and they will eat hay as long as it is tasty to them (tiff green is one hay my hogs love).

Do check the laws both state wide and local before you think you can get away with free ranging hogs. Fines can be stiff.

Redhawk
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
95
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Thanks Redhawk for the information.  My situation is slightly different because the outside perimeter of 79 acres will be fenced.  We don't have wild pigs here, but I don't want them to just take off.  I would just prefer to let them roam in the area until I start the house build, and then will likely do as you said with temporary fencing to move them about and have them clear land for my future gardens.  I'm also going to try to use them to make a pond for me, but  I don't care if they play in the other water in the meantime.  I am curious about how good a fence I will need to keep them out of the garden and if they will come back to some sort of a pen at night.  If they come to a bell that would be good and I don't mind spending some time doing that, but I will feel better if I have them in something at night.  We don't have a lot of wolves nearby, but we do have some, and we lots of coyotes.  Like Liselle, the land I am buying is mostly wooded.  
 
steward
Posts: 5271
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
1950
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"Pig fencing" is called that for a very good reason. It takes that good of a fence to keep the pigs in (or out). In other words, 1/4" welded wire "hog panels" work well.
 
David Livingston
pollinator
Posts: 4328
Location: Anjou ,France
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I know a chap here in France who keeps pigs and milks cows . Feeds the cheese waste to the pigs . He let's the little ones run about in a big barn for a couple of months , then opens the barn doors and let's them play in a wooded couple of acres very well fenced seems to work well pigs seem very happy

David
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6671
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1322
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
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hau Todd, as long as you have that perimeter fence, all is good. If you have any area you want to change through the use of disturbance, the hogs will do a great job for you as long as they can't move away from that area for a couple of weeks. This is where the electric tape comes in handy.
I love using our hogs as plows, they can really clean up an area, three can devastate the underbrush in a half acre in three weeks, right down to the soil for plants, roots are one of their favorite foods along with worms, grubs, etc., rocks aren't a match for their snouts either.
We have coyotes but with the grown boar around, and the free range donkey on the property (dogs too) we have never seen a coyote come on our land, they mostly like to stay down in the flat for the most part valley behind us.

Hogs are not only interesting and fun to watch, but they will taste fantastic when allowed to fend for themselves.

Redhawk
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