Sounds neat, doesn’t it? Idaho pasture pigs or Ipps for short. They are some fancy creatures; new to the scene. Ipps were only bred into existence around 2006. They were bred from a combination of standard size pigs that you are more familiar with and KuneKune pigs, which are small, slow growing pigs that prefer to eat grass. KuneKune’s will graze like a cow and spend less time rooting and tearing up the ground due to their short, upturned snout. Their nose simply isn’t made for the hard-core rooting that standard pig breeds are wont to do.
I’ve seen Ipps for sale in the past, but not close enough to make the excursion to find some. This year, I found some close by to check out. I went to see them and was surprised by their size. They were rather close in size to standard size pigs of the same age. But a lot more colorful! Ipps can be a variety of colors, but these were black with spots of gold and white. Their hair was long and fuller than pigs I’d had in the past. They were also rather calm and content enough to eat while I stood nearby.
I left with two of them in the back of my truck full of feed. Upon arriving home, I found them nestled down together, giving me the side eye. They were nervous and tired, so I gave them one last scare and carried them to their new home. I set them gently in their shelter loaded full of shredded paper as bedding. I gave them water and food before piling straw bales in front of the door to keep them warm. Prior to turning in for the night, I checked on them one last time to find them side-by-side cuddling in the paper bedding.
The next morning, I found them cozy under their bedding and let them out to explore. It took them a moment to find the electric wire as they nibbled on leaves and grasses. The one lifted his head for a sniff of the wire and got startled by a strong ZAP. He screamed and the two of them took off for the safety of the shelter. Satisfied that they would stay safe and sound within their enclosure now that they had learned the terror of the electric fence, I left them with some pumpkins.
While Ipps tend to be grazers, they will still root at least a little, but not enough to accomplish the necessary task of preparing the garden bed for next year’s planting. To accomplish this, two standard pigs will be brought in to run with the Ipps once the two Ipps are a bit larger so that they will be ready for the butcher together since the Ipps grow slower. The Ipps will graze the leaves while the other pigs root up the roots of the weeds, together fertilizing the garden and removing both weeds and weed seeds.