In keeping with the times, we have decided to “go green” with our lawn mowing machinery here at Hertiage Farms Northwest.
Most of our 45 acres is in pasture and the animals do the majority of the work involved in keeping the grass under control. Oh yes, we do have to take a weed whacker to the fencelines and ever since the cows learned to jump the driveway fence, we have had to mow that ourselves as well, but with the exception of the barn yard area and the yard around the house, the critters do the mowing.
We have a nice sized yard around the house (on 3 sides of it anyway). We have this incredible Black Walnut tree in the back with a carpet of pretty, soft grass and clover all around and under it. On the other side of the house we have an ancient old apple tree that drops billions (or what seems like billions) of small, tangy apples in late October. Each year, we faithfully ride the lawnmower around and around, to keep the grass from overwhelming the house. We gave up on watering it years ago because we really don’t like having to mow, so the sooner it goes dormant for the summer the happier we are.
A few months ago, we moved the Guineas to their own pasture area as they were getting WAY to fat. As the Guineas ate and ate the grass in their pasture, we started to notice something. They were mowing that grass perfectly. They didn’t root, they didn’t dig, they just ate grass. Once the tall grass was gone, they started to perfectly manicure the whole area, not a blade out of place. It was a thing of beauty (except for the carpet of pig piles left all over the place. lol).
April came and Jim had to fire up the old mower one dry day to take his first trip around the yard. Ugh. Another year of mowing had arrived! Meanwhile the Guinea’s kept eating their pasture and were just about out of grass. Hmmmmm. There had to be a solution to both problems somewhere in this.
Well, you guessed it. We quickly decided to let the Guineas do the lawnmowing for a while. Jim put up a one wire hot fence around the walnut tree, then he built a Guinea sized tent hut for Delilah and we moved her to the yard for mower duties. It was serving two purposes. She was hopefully going to eat the grass so we didn’t have to use the mower and she would be close to the house so we could monitor her easier and be on hand to help with her impending piglet delivery if needed. Also having her close to electricity would be helpful, if it looked like her piglets might need a bit of extra heat after being born.
We only moved Delilah to the backyard, as the grower Guineas still had pasture left and they were then slated to move to the barn yard to do mowing down there. Delilah has been in yard residence for about a month now. At first it didnt’ look like she was going to be able to keep up with the grass, but she is proving to be a prodigious grazer and is finally starting to make some headway against the spring growth.
A few weeks after she moved to the yard, she did indeed have her piglets. We now have a family of 9 living in the yard. I have to admit, while I appreciate that that grass IS getting mowed, I think that the best part of this deal is having the piglets right outside my front door. Piglets are my favorite part of the whole pig business and the Guinea Hog piglets are the best of the best. They are incredibly cute and tiny and fat and did I mention cute?