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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ardachy's Symbiotic Relationships

Today we sent our two hogs to slaughter which opened up some opportunities for moving our critters around. We have a two acre pasture that has been used for winter rotation along with our fenced garden and rotating paddock in the yard.

First, we moved our 8 month old hogs into the rotating yard fence. Here, we placed our luscious second cutting hay. The hogs get high quality forage filling their tummies and our lawn (in desperate need of grasses) seeded and mulched. We will continue to rotate this pasture throughout the yard. The pigs burrow and root, enjoying all their pigginess and plant future pastures for themselves. Oh yeah, our yard will not be the traditional yard, how could we waste that space for Kentucky blue grass!? Beware of horse dung and pig pies :)

Secondly, we moved our chickens into the garden. The hogs spent quite a bit of time in here this winter. As a result they had plenty of hay, meaning weed heaven for this gardener! So, the chickens are working on cleaning up some of the hay seed and whole grains that escaped the hogs mouths and putting it back as nitrogen rich fertilizer.

In our permanent goat pasture the goats continue to challenge the honeysuckles existence and our original breeding pair (Duke and Ruby) terrorize their roots. They will continue to prep this until this summer when we plant it to turnips, beets and rutabaga's for their winter feed.

Branca, our trusty Sharplaninec will be adding chickens and ducks to her guarding abilities. We are acclimating her to them now. Our goal is to have a variety of free ranging fowl that Miss Branca will protect from hawks, foxes and other threats.

Wondering what our Christmas litter of piglets are up to? They are also chowing down on hay and reseeding a paddock area. You frequently find them cuddled up next to their very own guardian.

Lastly, ducks. Ah, ducks. They tug at my heart strings...well everything does but that is besides the point. I recently purchased two ducklings to occupy our garden this year. They will terrorize slugs and other annoying insects while putting it all back in the soil in a much more desirable form! We will be heightening our garden fence to deter our bird dog. That relationship is not so symbiotic.

Stay tuned, more to come on this developing venture!


  1. Archer said "piglets!" when I opened your blog post and saw the slideshow on the left. Loved this post, it is interesting to learn more about what your plans and methods are. Branca is such an asset :) My parents tried to do free-range chickens for years and they were always picked off eventually, either during the day while they were running around (hawks) or at night when creatures snuck into their pen (foxes and things).

  2. Yay Archer! I can just imagine his cute little boy voice bellowing out "piglets!" :)Chickens are tricky. I think I will have to keep them for 10 more years successfully before I can repay all that I have lost. :) Yeahhh Branca!


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