castrating a pig/ or not?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Dreams30, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    We bought 2 male feeder pigs about 30 pounds each. We are gonna raise them to 200-220 pounds for slaughter. Do we have to castrate them? What would be the consequesnces if we didn't?

    Mostly we are concerned about doing it wrong.
     
  2. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    For the best tasting and best smelling meat, your pigs should be catsrated. The earlier the better for them and for you. Ideally I've read it should be at 3 days but at 30 pounds you are still looking at a relatively easy task.Granted I've only done it once and I was shaking the entire time. I only raise females becuas eof this castration thing.
    Simple instructions for you: Before you do this vaccinate with a tetanus toxoid. The casing is tough but with a sharp small knife and a steady hand (and someone holding the pig down) it isn't a difficult operation. Make a small incision at the base of the scrotum on each side, you have to pop the testicles through them by applying pressure at the top so they push down and out through the incision. Make the cut large enough to make that easy but small enough so that they'll seal quickly. Pull all the white stringy stuff attached to the testicles through and out- they'll stop coming out at one point. Spray an antibacterial/ antiseptic solution on the cuts and let the piglets go to their clean area. The consequences of not castrating are a stinkier, tougher meat at 200. With my pigs, I can't deal with the stench of the male after 30 pounds. I think my wild pigs are smellier than domestics but I wouldn't want to be within a block of a table with pork from any uncastrated pig
     

  3. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Tango, I'm going to disagree with you all the way down the line. The castration (or barrowing) of pigs is an old fashioned and out-moded concept which puts unnecessary stress on the pig and knocks back it's growth - especially when it has reached 30lb in weight. You are quite right when you say that they should be down at 3 days of age - in fact they should be done within that time frame and certainly not as old as they will be if they've reached 30lb.

    If your porker boar as never worked, been fed well and had a good life his meat should be as sweet as that of any sow. And before you cry me down on that one, I've bred pigs for over 30 years. 25 years ago I began to realise that it was all a bit of an old wives tale and stopped barrowing the boars and continued to sell as many pigs as I had ever done. My breeding boars would be in the vicinity of 450lbs and the only time they smell is when they are near or with a sow on heat.

    To relate a little story. About 6 years ago a lady rang wanting a pig for Christmas but it had to be a sow and if it wasn't she would know the difference. My thought was "you silly cow" and as I only had boars available, that's what she got. Her taste buds were so brilliant that she rang two months later complimenting me on the beautiful pork and could she order another. All up she bought six pigs from me and only one was a sow. She didn't know the difference.

    So in other words Dream, do nothing with your boars. They are too big to be castrating without vet assistance, you will only knock their growth back in the doing so and at the end of the day they are going to taste the same.

    This is only my opinion, garnered through experience.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  4. Horace Baker

    Horace Baker Well-Known Member

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    I always castrate. We've had that boar smell/taste come through even on 30 lb. suckling pigs. I don't like castrting a 30 lb pig, but have done so and didn't notice a setback.
    I will qualify the above statements though... we don't feed free choice, no soybeans, and it takes us a year to finish a 200 lb. hanging wt. pig.
     
  5. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    No argument here Ronnie- if that is your experience I can't argue. It isn't my experience though. In tact boar meat stinks to high heaven due to the presence of hormones not found in castrated males: "Androstenone (14) 43, skatole and to a lesser extent indole 44 45 are responsible for the unpleasant smell of cooked boar meat 46." Boars
    In my boars, I can smell the androstenone, which has a urine/ammonia odor on their breath. In my experience, even little ones at 25 pounds who are still partially on mother's milk let off a slight stink that is unappetizing to me. The stink is even more pronounced upon reheating the pork.
     
  6. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    we also got some Boar Meat and we could not stay in the same house when my wife started to cook it. Dogs loved it. LOL

    Our pigs are already castrated when we buy them at 3 weeks old. Don't know how old they are castrated at but I will ask this year when we pick up our new ones.
     
  7. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, Ronnie, but I have to agree with the others. Even meat from a young boar stinks and I always castrate the male pigs. I drug my feet on a couple once and didn't castrate until they were about 65 lbs. and they never slowed down.
     
  8. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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  9. VApigLover

    VApigLover Well-Known Member

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    I'm just another success story I guess, I've slaughtered three boar hogs in the past and could not tell much difference in the quality of meat. Sort of the difference between a Buck & Doe in terms of venison quality, a little different yet the taste was quite exceptable. Maybe flavor of the meat is tainted in a boar hog if the process does not go so well, i.e get it's blood boiling to the point it bleeds testosterone! otherwise the ones we have done are simular to what Ronnie is refering to, I guess I tend to agree with him with the exception if I can get the pigs cut at an early age I do it unless I plan to use him as a breeder.
     
  10. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    :yeeha: I agree with Ronnie too....I have never heard of anyone here castrating boars, when they are raised so quickly to killing weight. It's the same with goats, they dont castrate bucks they are raising to kill at around 16 weeks. One thing that is done here though are the bottom big teeth are pulled or hacksawed off. But I am sure they would have been done on your piglets before you bought them Dream.
     
  11. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I find this thread very interesting. Obviously there are some differences to account for. Not sure if it has to do with my pigs being wild swine since others who raise domestic swine have said the same. Can anyone share the breeds they raise and how long it takes to get them to the weight you butcher at? As for mine, the stench is there before weaning (they wean naturally here, I don't take them off of mom, mom takes them off when she is tired of them). I wouldn't wait to butcher a male piglet getting close to 20 pounds though. That is the upward range of the start of smelliness. About the goats though Shazza; they do not share the same hormones swine do. Male goats stink because they urinate on themselves and it is hard to keep that smell off of the meat. One can butcher a buck until he starts that behavior. My 15 month buck has yet to urinate on himself.
     
  12. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    No it isnt the taste of the meat- it is the smell. The meat tastes fine.
     
  13. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Just checking Ronnie but, is the smell is fine too? If I had no sense of smell I would not notice a difference between boar meat and barrow meat. The taste is about the same.
     
  14. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Marcia...pigs here in a piggery don't get castrated, they would reach 60 kgs by 16-20 weeks (remembering they cannot move around like our free range)...some or most of them would be to supply the local market....so people all over australia are eating boar pork...I dont hear people say their pork roast tasted yummy but boy did it stink. Maybe it's the skin of a wild pig verse a white or landrace or tammorth or duroc...dont know.

    Oh...that other disgusting thing bucks do you would think would taint the taste and smell of the meat more than urinating on themselves.... :)
     
  15. rwood

    rwood Well-Known Member

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    Shazza,

    I'm from Australia too. Last night i cooked up a pork stir fry, and I was sure there was a smell about the meat. The colour of the meat was darker than normal.

    I wouldnt have thought twice about it until reading this forum. I could definately smell a difference. I cant be sure however if it was the gender or the slaughter technique 'cause it was store bought.

    Do you pasture all your pigs? How many do you carry per acre? Im planning the livestock side of my farm now and am extremely interested in the statistics.

    BTW, this forum is awesome for people like my wife and I planning a move to a rural life next year. The information weve gained off this sight has meant our plans for our farm are extremely well thought through. We would have made heaps of mistakes and learnt the hard way if I hadnt stumbled across this sight 5 months ago. Looking forward to all the hard lessons to come too.

    Thanks
    Raphael in New South Wales
     
  16. leaping leon

    leaping leon Well-Known Member

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    Ronney writes:
    To relate a little story. About 6 years ago a lady rang wanting a pig for Christmas but it had to be a sow and if it wasn't she would know the difference. My thought was "you silly cow" and as I only had boars available, that's what she got. Her taste buds were so brilliant that she rang two months later complimenting me on the beautiful pork and could she order another. All up she bought six pigs from me and only one was a sow. She didn't know the difference.

    Isn't Ronney bragging about lying to the "stupid cow"? I try not to debate anything with anyone who brags about lying. It's like trying to nail down jello.

    I intend to castrate when I have pigs, and also excess buck goats.
     
  17. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Raphael..Yes home grown pork has a distinct smell, but not a stink like I think other people are talking about. I haven't cooked store bought pork for a very long time. Most pork I see in the shops is very aenimic (?) looking compared to our pork, which is quite dark. We are really 'over' pork at the moment, there is only so much you can eat...next time we will make sure we do one when we have done a steer or a lamb so we can mix up the eating better. Also depends whats easier to get out of the freezer :)
    We have one pig per paddock and a paddock...where the buck lives...between the boar and the girls. They each have a house...three sided shed...with a gate to close off when they have piglets. :)
     
  18. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm perplexed about the boars. In Cuba, my family would castrate because of the smell of boar meat also. Since so many others have exerienced it, while others don't, I wonder if it is something else? The hormones which cause the stink have been isolated and identified- so the stink is real.
    About the bucks, LOL. I was told that their meat would be fine until they were about a year old. They don't start doing any of the "buck" things until about that time- on average- I think. Itis defintiely somethin gthey are doing to themselves. I don't castrate my bucklings.
     
  19. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It has certainly made one question why something is or isnt done.
    But I know if I rocked up to the Ballarat Saleyards with a load of piglets (boars) and said to the selling agent ...they are all castrated...I know they would all pi** themselves laughing. I have a friend who works at a local piggery and tommorrow I am going to ask him why we don't do it here. :)
     
  20. Well I'll have to tell my story too! Last March my oldest daughter received two little piglets. She said she would give me one in return for raising them. At 31/2 months old I butchered the smaller of the two which happen to be female and the male we left to process later. We never did get around to casturating it. Finally at 6 months I told my daughter that her pig was big enough to take to the processer. Her mother refused it cause it wasn't casturated yet. There were no females around to arouse the guy so I didn't figure castration would be needed. So a cuz and I done the painful job to him. It took the pig about 2 or 3 weeks to heal and another couple of weeks for the processer to work it in the schedule. The pig weighed in at 296 and my daughter got back some of the best tasting homegrown pork that I have ever eaten. Now I don't think that fixing him approximately 30 days before he was processed is what made him taste so good. I think the reasons was 1. he was never around any females. 2. he was in a small pen (very little exercise). 3. His water trough was cleaned out everyday and filled with fresh clean water. 4. His diet was supplimented with lots of left over pastries from the local bakery. What a animal eats will have a lot to do with how they taste.