• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

New pig people with several questions

 
                      
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have three gilts that we are raising to slaughter. There is a 2 month old spot and 2 month old duroc from one breeder. The next weekend we picked up an older (unsure of age, but she's maybe a month older--way bigger pig) Hampshire cross from another breeder.

Since the Hampshire arrived the little ones are doing way more rooting (she's been a great teacher). The down side is that the duroc, which is a little smaller than the spot and a good bit smaller than the Hampshire, has seemingly lost interest in eating. Josh thought she was being bullied, and sometimes he sits with them when he feeds them and stops the others from pushing the duroc out. This seems to have helped some, but the duroc only wants to eat what the others are eating, and when they are full she follows them away from the trough even though she eats slower. Josh is worried she isn't eating/growing. We are thinking of putting up a separate area--would it be more effective to remove the biggest pig or the smallest? The other two pigs are definitely growing--does the duroc need de-wormed (the breeder of those two said to worm them at 3 months)?

However we are toying with the idea of keeping the one with the best temperament to breed. So far she just seems way friendlier and smarter than the other two--just what we hoped for in a piglet. She's the spot, but we aren't set on a spot boar. A down fall might be that seem seems to only have 10 nipples--is that a big deal? Our understanding is that we should wait until she's a year old, but how old should the boar be? Is it generally cost effective to keep your own sow v. buying piglets? Are their many risks in the process?
We would like advice about the best way to go about this--should we buy a boy now? Later? Try to rent a boar when the time comes?

Thank you!
Josh's Wife
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
joshf wrote:the duroc, which is a little smaller than the spot and a good bit smaller than the Hampshire, has seemingly lost interest in eating. Josh thought she was being bullied, and sometimes he sits with them when he feeds them and stops the others from pushing the duroc out. This seems to have helped some, but the duroc only wants to eat what the others are eating, and when they are full she follows them away from the trough even though she eats slower. Josh is worried she isn't eating/growing.


I wouldn't worry a lot. Pigs are social eaters. Also known as competitive eaters. If the food is freely available all the time then they will eat what they need and when the others are eating they will eat more.

joshf wrote:We are thinking of putting up a separate area


No, don't do that. You'll lose the competitive social feeding drive. Better to keep them together.

joshf wrote:The other two pigs are definitely growing--does the duroc need de-wormed (the breeder of those two said to worm them at 3 months)?


Might help to deworm the Duroc but do it to all of them. If they are in a pen then redeworm in 21 days and then again 21 days later. The eggs drop into the soil with the dung and hatch about that cycle.

Better would be to have the on pasture with managed rotational grazing that leaves the parasite load behind to die. Initially even then you may want to deworm if you have a heavy worm load. See here for how to graze:

site:sugarmtnfarm.com managed rotational grazing - Google Search

joshf wrote:However we are toying with the idea of keeping the one with the best temperament to breed.


Temperament is one important characteristic to keep in mind as it is highly genetic.

joshf wrote:A down fall might be that seem seems to only have 10 nipples--is that a big deal?


Yes, that is a big deal. 10 nipples is a low count. 12 is a low count. I would look for a minimum of 14 nipples. 16 nipples, all well formed and even are ideal.

joshf wrote:Our understanding is that we should wait until she's a year old


She's ready to breed at eight months. At one year is when ours typically farrow their first litter of piglets. Then they farrow two and a half to three times a year to four to eight years of age.

joshf wrote:but how old should the boar be?


Ten months is when they hit their stride. For a gilt a smaller boar is generally better, say up to two years, but some big boars know how to mate with smaller gilts. Our biggest ones are 1,000 to 1,700 lbs and do fine. They keep three feet on the ground to hold their weight. The key is having good footing, not ice or slippery wood boards.

joshf wrote:Is it generally cost effective to keep your own sow v. buying piglets?


It rather depends on your costs of feed, access to sperm and how many pigs you want.

A sow can easily have 30 pigs a year. She will need to get impregnated each time. That requires a boar or AI. Renting a boar has the risk of bringing in disease. AI is fairly easy with pigs but costly. Owning a boar is also costly - the rule of thumb is you need six sows to justify the boar, a few less if you're fully pastured.

Pasturing can reduce your feed costs tremendously but that requires land, fencing and possibly a guardian dog or few.

Wintering pigs is a whole lot harder than doing them in the warm season in our climate. In southern climates it is easier.

Starting out I would recommend that you buy piglets for the first few years before you attempt breeding.

joshf wrote:Are their many risks in the process?


As I mentioned above a rent-a-boar could bring in disease. Larger pigs can bite, step on you, crush you against a fence post or wall, etc. Be careful.

For a good general book on pigs I would suggest "Small Scale Pig Raising" by Dirk van Loon

Small-Scale Pig Raising: Dirk Van Loon: 9780882661360: Amazon.com: Books

Used copies are typically in the $10 range. It's an oldie but goldie.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic