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Castrate piglets?

 
Tim Wells
Posts: 119
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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Should I castrate my male piglets since they will be destined for sausages?
They are 3-4 weeks old now, is it too late?
I was thinking of using the rubber band.
 
Cj Sloane
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How old will they be when the graduate to the freezer?
 
Tim Wells
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Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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good question, its my first litter and I'm unsure how they will grow since I'm experimenting with pasture rotation.

My thoughts were that I would stagger the cull to compare.

They are Kune with a bit of potbellied x
 
Dale Hodgins
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I met a guy who castrated piglets without securing the boar properly. They squealed like hell and the boar crashed through the fence and bit the guy. The leg was never right again. Tie up or pen up boars and sows that may try to come to the aid of the babies.
 
Cj Sloane
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Good to know Dale. I plan on putting Miss Piggy's boyfriend in the freezer after he gets the job done. Miss Piggy would eat me in a second so I always keep an eye on her. I'm not convinced I'll castrate though. The man I bought the boar from said he doesn't castrate his and hasn't noticed a difference but he hasn't slaughtered a full grown boar. I don't think Walter Jeffries castrates his either.
 
alex Keenan
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I would castrate them. Rubber elastrator rings are simple, fast, and work.
If you do not need the male for breeding there is no reason to keep an intact male.
Over the years I have seen behavior, meat quality, etc. improved by castration of the boars.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Tim, what do you plan on doing with the sausage? The interwebs say boar taint is in maybe 1 in 5 boars with 25% of people not being sensitive to it. I might consider leaving the boars un-castrated and taking the risk if the sausage was just for me, but selling a product to a customer with a ~10% chance it will be inedible to them seems like a great way to completely trash your farm's reputation/brand.
 
Andy Radford
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Location: Warwickshire, UK
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We have run entire pigs up to 12 months old with no hint of boar taint, I am firmly convinced that stress and environment has more to do with the early onset of boar taint than simply age. Ours pigs are outdoor reared and kept together in small groups, they are regularly visited by us (twice a day for feeding) and plenty of kids and parents at the weekend come and have look. We have only had one pig that turned nasty (in 7 years and over 100 pigs) and he was booked straight in to the butchers. Ours pigs are traditional / rare breeds. I also find spending time with the pigs is a great way of them getting to know you, there is nothing better than sitting on the ground in the pen or field after a stressy day at work with a bunch of pigs climbing over you legs and rolling over wanting a scratch and fuss. The only thing to be aware of is make sure the abattoir can cope with the size of pigs you end up with, a 120+kg will be beyond some abattoir capabilities.
 
Cj Sloane
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Andy Radford wrote:The only thing to be aware of is make sure the abattoir can cope with the size of pigs you end up with, a 120+kg will be beyond some abattoir capabilities.


Hmmm. 250 -300 lbs seems to be "normal" for America but I guess every thing is bigger here! I raise Tamworth x Berkshire and they've tended to be a bit smaller than that. Depends when I need pork.
 
Andy Radford
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Location: Warwickshire, UK
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Here in the UK, the abattoirs are geared for 50-75kg (about 6 months old) as there is a perceived view that above this weight there is too much fat on the pig, and fat is bad for you (if you listen to supermarkets), additionally when foot and mouth was prevalent many of the smaller, niche abattoirs decided to get out of pigs entirely. This leaves mainly large abattoirs which are geared to cope with the requirements for the supermarkets rather than specialists. The big issue is the de-hairing machine which can only take up to a certain weight of pig (although you can do this by hand). There are still a few specialist abattoirs which can cope with the larger beasties, just don’t expect to turn up to a large processor with a small hippo sized pig in the trailer and not be turned away!
 
Tim Wells
Posts: 119
Location: Essex, England, 51 deg
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Interweb said cutting is better than band but at over 3 days you need a vet to cut. I am leaning towards leaving them entire since the sausage is for home. A tainted batch can go to the dog.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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We don't castrate. We've raised thousands of boars and sold their meat with no problem to tens of thousands of customers. We don't have a taint problem in our herds with our diets and our management. Research shows that boar taint is actually unusual at slaughter age. If you're pasturing, have a high fiber diet and good genetics then castration is not necessary. The advantage of boars is that they grow about 10% more efficiently and faster than barrows.

However, boar taint is real so until you know if your rearing methods and your genetics produce taint or not you have to consider it.

See this article for a lot more information about boar taint and follow through the links there to more information. It includes information about how we live test boars for taint:

http://SugarMtnFarm.com/taint

-Walter
 
Jared Woodcock
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I have done both ways and we were happy with the young boar meat, we actually preferred it in our house due to it being a little leaner and it had more of a pork taste. That was a small batch and is not conclusive. I castrate now because I dont want to have to separate the young boars from the gilts.

Walter:
I have been wondering how do you manage your boar feeders to prevent accidental breedings? I have read a lot of your info on boar taint and I agree with most of what you are saying.....

Jared
 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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I have been wondering how do you manage your boar feeders to prevent accidental breedings? I have read a lot of your info on boar taint and I agree with most of what you are saying.....


Our gilts typically are first fertile at eight months of age. Before that it is just sex play. We typically take pigs to butcher at six to seven months of age, many even younger than that since we also do roasters. This means that by the time they're eight months old and breeder age I've culled the least and only the best are left. Rarely we'll get a Lolita who breeds as early as six months but that is unusual and not a big deal. I'm very good at spotting pregnancy.

Note that this is with Yorkshire, Berkshire, Large Black, Tamworth and our crosses Mainline and Blackieline genetics. There are some breeds that come into fertility at younger ages. Also because we are on a lean low calorie pasture diet it might also be delaying fertility a little in our favor. Know your pigs.

-Walter
 
Jared Woodcock
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That makes sense, I still average my finished pigs at 8 months old to get over 200lb hanging weights on pasture. We have some intact boars that we just separated from 6 month old gilts and I hadnt seen a cycle from the gilts yet, But I know in the next two months of finishing they will go through a heat cycle. If we can rent some more pasture nearby we will go back to no castration. and run the boars through 6 months like we did in the past.

Thanks
Jared
 
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