Animals in Permaculture: The Pigs
Updated: Apr 12
It is not common to have pigs on a farm in India. Normally, the folks who keep pigs, breed them for meat, and it is generally considered to be a shady underhand business. So when I proposed the idea of getting pigs on the farm, my farm help revolted! According to them pigs were dirty stinky animals, not good enough for them to handle. Besides they would create a huge mess and a big stink, and no farm hand would be ready to manage them!
Now this was totally contrary to the truth. In reality, pigs are very intelligent and clean animals. In fact they are more intelligent and loyal than dogs. They also have a very heightened sense of smell, and cannot tolerate stinky place. Imagine how they must be living stacked one under the other in a slaughter house! Shudder.
The real motivation for keeping pigs on the farm came after watching the TV series Its Not Easy Being Green.
The pigs on their farm, helped them turn over the soil and make patches of land ready for cropping. Also their manure made the soil more fertile and ready for cropping. I thought this was a great idea to pursue at Aanandaa where small hard pieces of land can be over turned and made ready for plantation by the pigs.
After much persuasion, prodding and finally yelling at Panditji, he located a piggery nearby from where he brought two baby pigs - a male and female. We named them Bunty and Babli. The two slaughter house survivors tried to adjust to their new life in the open and green environs of Aanandaa. Unfortunately, Bunty didn't survive the move. It seems he was carrying an infection from the piggery, and without antibiotics in his meals, it got the better of him.
Babli went on to become the 'Empress of Blandings' or the Empress of Aanandaa. She did precious little to turn over the soil, or help prepare patches of land for cropping, but she has become a integral part of the farm family, walking around the farm, digging her nose into other people's business and even mothering some orphaned dogs! The farm help has grown to love her and discovered that pigs are beautiful, intelligent creatures who keep their surroundings very clean. And yes, they don't smell at all!