Home » Growing Food, Keeping Animals

Pig Tractors For Clearing Land

5 February 2011 11 Comments

Hang around permaculture people for any length of time, and you’re sure to hear about chicken tractors. They’re a great way to concentrate chickens in a small area, to dig up weeds, deposit manure, and generally prepare a garden bed for planting. Here’s a photo showing how we used a chicken tractor to prepare our vegetable garden beds:

But if you want to clear a larger area in a shorter time, you can’t beat pig tractors!

We moved our three pigs into a weed-choked area on Boxing Day (December 26). Here’s what it looked like when they moved in:

They rooted around frantically, tasting all the yummy new things they had to browse on:

Clearing land is hard work, so they all lay down for a snooze after exploring the new pen:

Now here’s a photo of the same area exactly three weeks later:

Pigs are dedicated, tireless workers, and much more pleasant than a rototiller!

If you want more reading, the Permaculture Research Institute also recently published an article on the use of pig tractors.

Organic food growing for beginners manual.


  • Tricia said:

    That’s amazing! Far easier than getting out there and clearing it yourself.

  • Tweets that mention Pig Tractors For Clearing Land -- Topsy.com said:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tylergehl, AgBlogFeed. AgBlogFeed said: Pig Tractors For Clearing Land http://bit.ly/g59bUA #agchat […]

  • Donna said:

    Wow they have done cleared it in such a short time. When is it time for bacon….

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Donna: I’ll be bringing home the bacon soon :-). The pigs are currently hanging in a butcher’s coolroom. More information shortly…

  • Jason said:

    Hey Darren How do you handle soil erosion after they have cleared the land? Or do you plant a cover crop right away? With the amount of rain we got in December and the first part of January up here in Brisbane, there would not be any soil left if a pig tractor was in place! I am also curious to hear your response to Donna’s question.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Jason: Soil erosion is a potential problem. I’ve mulched their most recent pen, and in the older pen I threw around handfuls of wheat just to get something useful growing and to stabilise the soil. Soil in both pens did wash downhill a bit while the pigs were in there, but not enough to be a problem. It would be better to keep them on flat land, though!

  • Taking The Pigs To The Abattoir said:

    […] to answer Donna and Jason’s question from my last post about when is it time for bacon – real […]

  • Olmec said:

    Interesting information. What type of pigs are these? I hear the Kune Kune do not root as much as other types. I am looking to get the best for my situation.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Olmec: These pigs had a Black mother and a Large White father. Apparently that’s a pretty good combination for robustness, fast growth, and good quality tasty meat.

  • Sharon said:

    I’d heard about using pigs to clear land, and it seemed like a good idea to me, but I’d never actually seen any pictures. Thanks for showing off their fine work!

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Sharon: No worries – taking the pictures was much easier than clearing this land by hand!