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Has anyone used a bander on piglets?

 
Chad Carlson
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I am having two new litters of piglets on Christmas day. Our last litter I castrated at two weeks of age with a scalpel and I did not enjoy it.

Has anyone had any experience using an elastrator on piglets? I have one for my cows. Any recommendations on this method would be appreciated as well as opinions on best age to do this?

Thanks.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Pig testicles don't hang down like on cattle, horses, goats, sheep and men so the banders are not appropriate for piglet castration.

Pictures of pig balls:

https://www.google.com/search?q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+pig+balls&tbm=isch&gws_rd=ssl

They're just too close to the body and there isn't sufficient scrotal slack.

If you're going to castrate there are basically two choices: immuno-castration injections (like a vaccination and surgical castration (cut and rip).

See:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/2009/04/08/tainted-big-pharma/

However, castration may not be necessary. Only a small minority of boars have taint. Taint is caused by multiple chemicals and multiple factors including genetics, feed and management. Feed a high fiber diet, manage the pigs out on rotational pastures or keep their stalls ultra clean. Research shows that these things minimize and even eliminate taint. Pasturing hits two of the three: feed and management. Genetics is uncommon but real: breed away from it. You can do a biopsy to test boars. See here:

http://sugarmtnfarm.com/taint

-Walter
 
neil mock
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Walter, Thank you for all the advice, I've gotten lost in your blog more than i care to admit. One question i have, if you do not castrate, how to you control your breeding? Thanks
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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neil mock wrote:
Walter, Thank you for all the advice, I've gotten lost in your blog more than i care to admit. One question i have, if you do not castrate, how to you control your breeding? Thanks


That is why most castrate. The other options are run a separate herd of males only, sell before sexual maturity (as feeders), or don't control breeding or genetics. At some scales, segregation makes sense. For most people, castration is the easiest answer. For the farmer, but not necessarily best for the animal.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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neil mock wrote:Walter, Thank you for all the advice, I've gotten lost in your blog more than i care to admit. One question i have, if you do not castrate, how to you control your breeding?


Our pigs don't tend to breed until after slaughter age so it isn't much of an issue. Most gilts don't take until eight months of age. Very rarely there is a Lolita taking as young as six months. Almost all of our pigs go to market by then so not a worry. This is with large farm breeds. I have read that there are some smaller breeds that take earlier. Ours are Yorkshire, Berkshire, Large Black, Tamworth and our cross lines. This is also on a lean diet which can delay things too. So you mileage may vary.

-Walter
 
Consider Paul's rocket stove mass heater.
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