Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pigs can't fly, but they can clear the land and garbage

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 5/15/13.  "Pigs take aim at problem plants,  Pescadero farm makes use of pigs' taste for everything."

See how nice we mix with the cows and chickens
"...  Now a nascent Pescadero farm startup, Early Bird Ranch, is experimenting with harnessing pigs’ destructive talents for the good of all. The ranch, started in 2011 by two graduate students disenchanted with academia, is trying to focus pigs’ appetites on troublesome plants that are difficult to eradicate. Not only can pigs’ ravenous appetites be fine-tuned to devour nuisance plants, said Early Bird co-owner Kevin Watt, but it can also produce some top-grade pork in the process.

What else you got?
....  Squealing with delight, 40 of the ranch’s pigs were stuffing themselves Monday morning on a smorgasbord of thorny blackberry vines, poison oak leaves and eucalyptus seed pods. Watt piled on more to that buffet, dumping a mound of overripe iceberg lettuce and moldy breads rescued from the trashcan. Snouts in the ground, tails in the air, the hogs gorged on a meal that would turn any human’s stomach. They were, to borrow a phrase, as happy as pigs wallowing in mud.

.... Early Bird owners say there is a method to their work beyond giving pigs free rein on a piece of land. As tenants on TomKat Ranch, Early Bird has the luxury of ample grazing land on which to rotate the pigs and other livestock. An acre of land that the pigs graze heavily for a week might be given two years to regrow its vegetation. The pigs don’t try to escape so long as the humans keep their side of the bargain, Watt said.  Early Bird also raises goats and chickens, and the farm is experimenting with rotating the different animals. This year, the farm is working with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory to track the biodiversity and soil content from the animal grazing."  Read article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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