I am wondering if anyone has experience with keeping a young breeding pair (8 weeks or so..) together. A gilt and a boar living together? I have heard that conventionally the pigs would be kept seperate until the gilt is old enough to "handle" giving birth.
I would like to keep the pigs together and paddock shift them around the land. It would be a lot more work to have 2 moving paddocks and 1 animal per paddock..
I've read the "Wild Flock Management System" on Wind Ridge Farm's site - they say folks should select against early heats in their animals so you can keep the males and females together.
On the other hand, I met a family whose pot belly pig turned out to be pregnant when they got her. They kept her son a bit too long and she was pregnant again by the time they sold him. It's been a never-ending stream of piglets for them since then. My pot belly piglet was practicing on his sister and mom when he was only 6 weeks old. They say they aren't very fertile at that age.
At least one book says the biblical law against eating pork was because pigs were worshipped for their amazing fertility.
Our pigs do not generally become fertile until about eight months of age and then the gilts generally first farrow at one year. Every once in a while out the the hundreds of pigs we have out on our pastures I'll a Lolita, a gilt that will get pregnant as early as six months but that is rare and not a big deal. We keep boars and gilts together. They like the company and fair better together.