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Old 01/16/09, 05:55 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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How old will a pig breed?

Hey there, I am new to the pig world and am full of questions! I have heard that when a meat pig gets to old/big she will not breed any more. My brother had a 700 lb sow that would not breed any more. I would like to get a sow, and harness train her, and breed her, and be able to keep her as a usefull farm anamal for a long time. So how long would that be in your opinion. The piglets I can get around hear do not seem to have any breed name, and they cost about $50. Would getting a runt make a differance? Would she stay smaller,and therfore usefull for longer? And what type of outdoor fencing do pigs need? Any input would be great, Thank you!

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Old 01/20/09, 12:24 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: British Columbia
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I'm not sure about the first couple of questions as we're not at that stage yet, but we pastured two pigs very well last year on electric fence. Three strands worked well, one at 4 inches or so, the next at about 16 inches and the third at 2 and a half feet, though honestly the third one was mostly for show as otherwise the fence just looked too low. We trained up the pigs with the fence first in their pen so that they could get used to it then strung it up over half an acre of wild pasture. The pigs seemed to enjoy themselves in the pasture, ate a lot less store bought feed, never once got through the fence through a 4 month period and tasted great. This year we're planning on getting a young sow and keeping her around for breeding but will put her back in the pen for the winter as the pasture is under 4 feet of snow.(northern British Columbia). Good questions though as I'm also interested in the longevity of a breeding sow.

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Old 01/20/09, 08:23 AM
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
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We have many 800 lb sows and 1,000+ lb boars all of which are breeders. They do great. The reason someone might hesitate to keep a breeding sow too long is that they eat more. When you're paying for commercial pig feed it gets more expensive per piglet to keep the larger sows. We pasture our herds and this is not an issue for us. Our oldest sows are about five years old and they're doing great.

A runt will likely grow to full size but may take longer, perhaps a couple of months longer. If you're paying for commercial feed then that may make it less attractive as it will eat a lot more feed. Runts rarely stay small - I've never had it happen.

For fencing, I would suggest electric. Once the pigs are trained to it and have what they want inside the fenced area you can get away with two hot wires. Keep them very hot. Go with a plug in charger, not solar electric - too much money for too little charge. First train the pig in a tightly physically fenced space with electricity inside it. How intensely you need to fence depends on your situation. If there is danger, such as neighbors, busy roads, etc, then fence hard. If there are predators, fence hard and have livestock guardian dogs.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/blog/
http://HollyGraphicArt.com/
http://NoNAIS.org

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