Using pigs to till the soil has been an experiment with mixed results. There is no doubt pigs do a great job of turning the soil and eating the roots of the unwanted weeds and grasses. But once they reached about 70kg, P1 & P2 (who remained un-named so that apparently it would make it easier to truck them off to the abattoir at 6 months old…), actually damaged the soil, especially once it became wet after rain.
I had been hoping that raising the pigs, and selling them for meat would help with funding my market garden setup, but the project was lucky to just break even. This wasn’t helped by my choosing to pay a premium for transport to abattoir, to ensure they were shipped as comfortably and quickly as possible. I thought I was pretty cool and tough about the whole process, until P2 (above) wandered over and sat beside me as I filled his water dish for the last time, and then crooned while I scratched behind his ears.
So, would I do it again? It has been nice to hear the favourable feedback from those who have eaten our tasty pork, and to know that it is being enjoyed all over the place by friends and family, but Andrew and I won’t eat it. We do have two new pigs, shown here (above) with Harriet lifting them into their enclosure. But these miniature variety are not destined for the plate, and more than that, they have been rescued as they were surplus to requirements of a children’s nursery animal business. I am hoping their smaller size will be gentler to the soil whilst still tilling the weeds, and they have names – Calvin and Hobbs. Now that feels better.