We're looking to find a breed of pig that has less-destructive tendencies. I am partnering with someone to raise pigs in a peach orchard and we're concerned about the pigs girdling the trees. Any ideas on a breed that might not do this?
Breed is not as important and overgrazing and mositure content of soil. I have both large blacks, durocs, and chester whites, and a York boar. They all root about the same. The large back may do more damage in the sense that it forages more than the other hogs when on free choice feed. So pasture rotation would be of more use that breed selection.
Ours are primarily Yorkshire with a bit of Tamworth, Berkshire, Glouster Old Spot, Hampshire and who knows what else. If we mob graze them they'll nicely root up a garden better than a tiller. If we do intensive rotational grazing at an appropriate density level they'll just graze and rarely root. The time on each paddock and how many animals is what I find to be the most critical factors.
I also sometimes see more rooting just before a sow farrows and in the spring when they first get out on pasture after the snows have melted but it is never deep.
We are incredibly happy with our American Guinea Hogs. They are on the small side of medium-sized, very calm and friendly, and incredibly easy on the pasture and trees with almost no rooting. They just graze on clover and grass all day long. They've done no damage at all to our very young orchard (our former Durocs turned a similar area into a moonscape). American Guinea Hogs are a well-kept secret and are rare and hard to come by, but if you're persistent, you will succeed in finding them. They really are a perfect homesteader's hog.
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