Pigs tearing everything up!

konagal(z11 HI)April 19, 2008

Ok, need some help..what is everyone doing to prevent the pigs from digging all the plants up?

They have ruined my pineapples that have been growing for years, damaging my banana trees for starters. Everywhere, ground cover, grass is dug up, rocks moved around. I am ready to give up trying to plant anything anymore!

Can't totally fence in the property, so they are just everywhere. Also worry about the diseases they can spread to my pets.

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Don't know what Island your on, but usually you can call a hunter in to trap and remove the pigs (the hunters keep the meat to eat). Best method would be to fence the property though, especially if you have pets. The pigs are almost unstoppable otherwise, they are smart and their snouts are totally built to be little bulldozers.

Good luck and aloha !

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 6:25PM
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konagal(z11 HI)

Aloha pueokai,

We are on the Big Island, Kona side.

What luck, this morning we found a hunter who will leave some traps and relocate any that are caught. It is a start. Yes, fencing is the best, but the way the property is, it is almost impossible (they come down a dry streambed).

Anyway, we'll see how it goes, hate to have to resort to shooting them, but there are so many of them.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 6:32PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Relocating them will not help the problem, it just makes it someone else's problem. Plus they are really tasty! Build an imu and split the pig with the hunter. Smoke pig is the best way to keep them out of your garden.

My neighbor caught one with ten feet of clothesline. He tied one end to a tree and made a slip loop in the other end. He hung the loop across a channel in the underbrush the pigs ran through and caught one! I was amazed. We now have sausages and they are really good!

To keep pigs out, folks fence with field fence or better. That's the heavy wire fence with square holes in it not just lines of wire fence. They also run at least one string of barb wire across the bottom of the fence to keep the pigs from digging under.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 3:38AM
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konagal(z11 HI)


The hunter said they would relocate the trapped pigs to a reserve or somewhere mauka, and it sounded like it was not going on someone's private property. But then again, they might just wind up keeping the pigs and eating them, I don't know.

I'm just looking for ways to keep them out of my property, they are smart and strong animals. I understand they have been here many, many more years than I have been, and will probably still be here after I am gone.

I have tried electric fences, hog wire fences, board fences, cayenne pepper in the soil around the plants, hair clippings around the plants and nothing works. They "own" the property, and they have done an excellent job of tearing up what little plants I had going.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 4:10AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

I saw a garden today where the pigs had completely roto-tilled all the sweet potatoes up. Just potato vines left, no potatoes anymore at all. Too bad there isn't a way to get the pigs to come in and roto-till BEFORE planting all the tasty stuff. Maybe you could spread cracked corn or something the pigs wanted to eat in an area you wanted dug up? Then figure out how to keep them out afterwards, of course.

Feral pigs are considered an imported nuisance and are not a native animal at all. Kinda on par with rats and coqui frogs, I think. They may even be vermin. Volcanoes National Park spends a lot of effort to keep pigs out of some of their park areas so the native vegetation has a chance to grow back. Pigs destroy a lot of stuff.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 5:06AM
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konagal(z11 HI)

Oh yeah, they have dug up my purple sweet potato patch I had too. Now there is a health issue to this, as they are filthy animals, and spread diseases.

My vet and I are thinking the pigs carried the leptospirosis to my horse, and caused his blindness in one eye. Everyday, twice a day, I have to put in a medicine in his eye to relive the pain.

So it is not only the frustration of having my garden dug up, but of the diseases these pigs can spread to our domestic animals, like dogs, and maybe to humans as well.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 9:57PM
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Well I have tried alot of things. What I have found is my potting mix keeps the pigs away. I use neem cake , ag dolimite . in my pro mix potting mix and it seems to keep them away I live where there are pigs ( I have shot 5 since the 1st of the year) and they do taste ono . :) anyway give it a try it's cheap and natural . aloha

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 2:53AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes: Trapping and relocation should not be undertaken as these animals are murder on the local environment. And any trapped are liable to be replaced in time by others. You'll probably have to keep trapping indefinitely. As with deer here on the mainland you won't get true relief until you bite the bullet and install effective fencing.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 1:41PM
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Hey Konagal if you don't find anyone to help rid you of your pig problem my husband and his brother are both itching to try out there new bows. Hilorain, I live in Kau and I was wondering where you bought your neem cake from? Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 1:45AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

I don't know if you could take down a big pig with a bow or not. A mad pig is not something you'd want to be near. If the shot didn't drop the pig pretty quick it could decide to attack. They have teeth and razor sharp tusks. I've seen a boar go right through a chicken wire fence and tear up a six foot tall awa plant just in passing.

I don't suppose they can wear plate armor or chain mail while they are out hunting pigs?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 1:59AM
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Modern archery equipment is very accurate and skilled hunters can consistently put an arrow throught a pig's vital organs out to 30 yards. The animal goes down in mere seconds. It's rare that a pig gets agressive unless it is cornered and then it almost certainly will. I highly recomend having somebody regularly bowhunt the property. Without a hunter, a property is a safe haven for pigs. Trapping is also a great option and is likely the most efficient way to reduce numbers. Only problem about trapping is that it may cost 500 bucks to set up a good system. A trail camera can be a valuable piece of equipment for knowing what pigs are coming around and when. This info can really be useful in increasing hunting/trapping efficiency. Removing females is the fastest way to reduce the population.

About Fencing, I'm not sure how large your yard is but you could always just fence a garden for start. Somebody previously mentioned strand of barbed wire across the bottom, And I don't think that would work. I've seen people do this and believe that Pigs are uneffected by barbed wire. If anything, they will use it to scratch an itch. Use T-posts and 48 inch hog wire. Distance your posts out to 8 feet apart on flat land and closer if the terrain is uneven. Use achors between the posts to secure the wire flush and tight to the ground. Use a skirt where needed but most of the time, skirts aren't nessesary with this anchor-method. I heard that the Nature Conservancy's preserve (i think Kona Hema) has an electric wire around it and it deters pigs from testing or walking next to the fence.

Here's another option. Your garden becomes the prefered food in part because there is nothing better in the forests. So you could plant alternative foods in the forest or overgrown areas around your property. Monkeypod, mango, avocado, etc. Plant them in groves and they could concentrate pigs to where they can be hunted more efficently. Of course, this is all long term. And if you sow mango seeds all around your property, Assuming it's already non-native weeds, the mango will grow up through and shade out the weeds leavign a much more open understory where again, it is easier to see the pigs.

...anyway, my thoughts on the issue. I like the idea of spreading corn around and having the pigs rototill for you :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 12:14AM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

we got home yesterday and surprised two sows and about a dozen piglets in the driveway. The piglets were so cute, I could just SEE them posed on a platter, apple in mouth...

There's a big debate here (big island) over strawberry guava. The guava is invasive, choking out native species, and some people want to introduce an insect that slows it's spread. Surprisingly, the opponents to this plan aren't so much people who remember how well the imported mongoose got rid of rats (didn't), but pig hunters, who argue that the guava is a favorite food for pigs and reducing the guava would reduce the number of pigs.

One man's meat is another man's poison!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 2:11PM
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Yeah, as a hunter and native forest advocate, I've really been keeping up with that strawberry guava debate. There are pros and cons to it. As far as the pigs, all studies show that pigs populations are not limited by food and their resourcefulness to find food is always underestimated. Fact is that if there is less guava, the pigs will likely to some degree: dig more, eat more natives (where present), increasingly invade agriculture and yards, and not be as fat and healthy. However this is completely overestimated. There should still be more than enough strawberry guava, as only a small percentage is utilized by the pigs. The rest rots on the ground. Now where it will really make a difference in pig food is the beginning and end of the fruiting season where there is very little fruit dropping. I also believe strawberry guava leads to less food for pigs because after it takes over the forest and the fruit season ends, it's a huge famine for miles.

What Hawaii needs is a long term infrastructure for efficient management and utilization of feral pigs, such as orchard food plots which concentrate pigs where they are vulnerable. A wild game meat market could also make a huge difference. I'm even thinking of starting to trap pigs, tie them up alive, and bring them to a certified slaughterhouse for retail. They taste great too and all natural!

Back to the biocontrol; modern biocontrol cannot be compared to the introduction of a mongoose by private sugar planters without any study on environmental impacts. The state will have to try release it, either now or in the future. It's the only option available that can make the other options feasible. (The other options being hand pulling seedlings and herbiciding larger stumps).

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 6:19AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The main problem with bio-control is unexpected consequences not anticipated even with testing. Are they going to test every native and otherwise valuable plant species before letting the strawberry guava bane loose? Hawaii is a mess ecologically, with many steep slopes still eroding conspicuously as though afflicted with open sores - one of the plants I have seen colonizing such places (along a trail going straight up a hill) was strawberry guava. Sometimes the weeds are thick because the natives can't handle the conditions or aren't around anymore. It's not always that the exotics pushed the natives out, this is often the case in Hawaii particularly.

Many people there don't have any idea what they are looking at and could be living anywhere in the tropics. Anybody living on the edge of open land or dealing with "natural" vegetation on their property should get somebody in to help them analyze the situation and figure out what to do before doing anything like planting mango trees that will take over and form a closed stand.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 11:23PM
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bboy wrote "The main problem with bio-control is unexpected consequences not anticipated even with testing. Are they going to test every native and otherwise valuable plant species before letting the strawberry guava bane loose?"

I don't consider the "main problem" as much of a problem any longer. Modern biocontrol has an excellent track record over the last 30 years. The scientists know a lot more nowdays about which types of insects attack what types of plants and they have tested all the related species, plants of concern, and many important agricultural species and reportedly could not get Tectococcus ovatus (the scale) to survive on them.

As far as anyone knows, there are no other plants effected by it, not even the psidium guajava (common yellow guava), or at least not to any damaging degree. They have done a decade of research and found that it's a highly specialized species.

This in comparrison to the biocontrols gone wrong int he past which received little to no reserch on host specificity.

...degredation, guavas, disturbance colonizers, etc.- The areas where guava is a problem is at the front line where they are moving into last remaining native forests, growing up through them at high dendities, and shading out everything underneath them thus killing the forest.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:59AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>As far as anyone knows...Yep.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 1:29AM
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But are you suggesting that we allow guava to expand to its entire range practically unchecked while degrading/eliminating whole native ecosystems out of fear that some untested, ecologically and economically unimportant plant may be effected?

I'm attaching a url to a good document containing information on which plants they tested and how they did the tests.

Here is a link that might be useful: Petition for field release of Tectococcus ovatus (Homoptera: Eriococcidae) for classical biological control of strawberry guava, Psidium cattleianum Sabine (Myrtaceae), in Hawaii (10 May 2005)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 6:36AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>But are you suggesting that we allow guava to expand to its entire range practically uncheckedNope.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 10:51PM
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