We decided to bite the
bullet and embark on a major
this year, mostly in hopes of adding pigs to our menagerie, but also
because we always seem to run out of chicken pasture during the summer
slump. The jury’s still out on whether we’ll get all the work
done in time for this to be a porcine year, but the pasture will
definitely get used one way or another.
From past experience,
I’ve learned that it is a good idea to take most of
the trees out of a pasture even if you later want it to turn into a
forest pasture. Livestock get the most use out of fruit and nut
trees, and at least the former require near full sun in order to
grow. Trying to take out big trees once the fences are up is also
a recipe for disaster. So we’ve spent the last couple of weeks
cutting trees and clearing out Japanese honeysuckle (which has done its
best to completely strangle growth in our pasture-to-be).
Trees left in place
include a large oak (acorns will be good for larger livestock, if not
for chickens), small black locusts (flowers are good for bees, roots
fix nitrogen, and the trees are small enough we can easily remove them
later), and some baby nut trees I planted a couple of years ago.
I haven’t quite figured out what kind of protection will keep pigs from
rooting up the last — ideas? We also left a snag that’s home to
squirrel above, just because.
Since we hope this
pasture will eventually feed species other than just chickens, we opted
to use cattle
panels as our
fencing. We’ve hauled
all the panels in
and up onto the pig pasture knoll, but we haven’t quite got to the
point of installing them yet. Stay tuned to our homesteading blog for details, or stick around
here for another sumup of our progress in a couple of weeks.
to traditional, filthy waterers.