Five new residents have moved into the Little Assynt tree nursery field. They have big snouts and floppy ears and look nothing like the tree nursery manager or his associates. They are in fact two male and three female saddleback pigs. These weaners are all from the same litter and are great fun to watch as they jostle each other and run about squeaking. But they are not just here to entertain us, they are here to provide an important service for the nursery. The aim is that they will turn over the soil and prepare the ground ready for lining out tree seedlings.
Pigs are ideal ploughs, rooting up weeds and turning over the ground, while they manure it at the same time. Their house is a plastic water tank with the side cut out and the temporary fence is electric wire to confine them to a small area.
As soon as this area has been cleared we will move the fence and house to the next section of ground. The field at Little Assynt has not been dug over for many years and would take a lot of machinery and labour to prepare it and get rid of all the roots from the ground. These little pigs will be with us for the next six months doing what they do best, rooting, and are also proving quite partial to a scratch behind the ear now and again. Romany