Eat Your Peas

Back when I was out book-touring, my wife planted a big patch of rape (special thanks to our neighbor Tom L. who came by with his yellow and green tractor and matching plow), which is kinda like cabbage without heads.  We’ve been using it to feed our pigs, ducks and chickens.  We do this by setting up mini-paddocks (I made a bunch of chicken wire panels for the birds, and for the pigs we use a combination of old cattle panels and electric fence) and moving them sequentially.

The good news is they love the stuff.  The ducks and chickens eat it right down to the stem.  The pigs dive into it, roll around in it, eat half of it, then spend the rest of their time rooting in it, doing a great job of prepping the soil for whatever we plant there next year.  The two photos below show the pigs on a recent night right after I moved the panels.

Bad news is, they love the stuff so much we’ve pretty much run out.  We also scatter-sowed (we again being my wife while I was on book tour) a big patch of mixed oats and field peas on last year’s pig run (got the idea from this guy).  So lately I’ve been cutting big piles of that and wheelbarrowing it up the hill.  The laying hens ignore the peas, the meat hens pick at them, the ducks devour them, and the pigs go through and pick out all the green oats before going back to strip off the pea leaves.

If you read Coop you know how much I love making trips to the feed mill (especially with any one of my three blue-eyed co-pilots), but every peapod them pigs crunch helps knock a few fractions of a cent off the price of those pork chops.

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