How to raise breeding pair of swine

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by Mike in Pa, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    I've raised hogs from young to 250lbs. I know what they need/like and shelter requirements.

    But if I want to raise to breed, what else do I need to know (besides getting an uncut male)?

    Will the mother be OK on her own during birthing?

    Best way to band/cut baby males? How hard is it?

    Is it cost effective to keep a pair?

    Babies HAVE to have teeth clipped?

    NECESSARY shots/vitamins for young?



    To know where I'm coming from, I use the least meds as possible ... some don't agree with this. I only used DE to worm the last lot of them ... seemed to work fine.

    Thanks a lot, Mike
     
  2. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mike!
    I'm glad to see you're still raising pigs. Did you make any more ham and bacon this year?

    If you are going to raise little ones, one sow isn't really worth keeping a boar around. You need at least two or three sows in my opinion.

    I have never had trouble with the sows at birthing time. I am probably lucky. I keep the sows and boar together until about two weeks before the sows are due. I then separate them. My sows are kept outside with huts or shelters in their pens.
    We do not cut their teeth, or medicate in any way. I know you believe in non medicated meat too. We only medicate when the pig is ill...........this has happened once about 10 years ago.

    You can not band a male. I know a lot of people cut their males within a couple of weeks, we have let them go longer with no problems. DH can cut a 300 plus boar by himself within 5 to 10 minutes..........but then again he can do the same with a full grown horse. lol

    I'm assuming you are still buying your feed in bulk? That will save you a lot over the store bought stuff.

    I'm not sure I answered any of your questions, but it's good to see you. :D
     

  3. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    Real good to hear from you again cowgirlone! Yeah you helped a lot. BUT EVERYONE ELSE PLEASE ADD ANYTHING YOU CAN! I learn more from this site than any book or internet. A wealth of knowledge here and good people for the most part.

    cowgirlone, good job on the Countryside article .. we liked it. I even tried to scheme a way to get a pond put in but not possible now. Of course I did ham and bacon ... LOVE it! Also, DANG! I don't want to be on your hubbies bad side ... I doubt I coult cut a guinea pig lat alone a horse! I'd hate to see what I'd look like walking away from that fight :eek: ... walk away wearing a dress! :no:
     
  4. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Mike, I'm still eating some of this years shrimp. It's pretty tasty. :)

    You know... sometimes when I run out of bacon I use a pork roast to make more.
    I just can't wait til I have another hog to butcher. :haha:

    The first time I saw hubby cut a horse I said DANG too! :haha: :haha: He had it done before I could get into the pen to help at all!
     
  5. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    Now there's some real useful info too! You can use a roast to make more bacon?! We LOVE bacon and run out of it first it seems. We don't seem to eat it that much but with 6 people it goes quick I guess. I'll definately try that ... probably more lean too.
     
  6. Jim in MO

    Jim in MO Well-Known Member

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    Mike I agree completely with Cowgirlone. If you only want one sow I wouldn't waste my time and money on a boar just rent or borrow one. If your thinking about raising pigs why not get at least two or three sows and sell the feeders that you don't need to make a couple of bucks to hlep pay for the upkeep of the rest. We don't medicate our unless they're sick which hasn't happened yet and we're doing really good on selling the feeder pigs around here. Some folks think we're a little high but we can't keep up with the demand as it is.

    As for farrowing, in the cold weather we have a stall in the barn that we move them to when they are close to get them out of the weather and then pretty much leave them alone. we did make a rail around the inside so the piglets can avoid mom and not get stepped on when she's moving around but it's an easy arrangement. Easy to clean and keep everyone nice and warm. It's worked really good for us.

    Jim in MO
     
  7. Countrygrl3

    Countrygrl3 Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to see plans for a farrowing pen.

    DH plans to build a Taj Mahal :haha: for our mommy pigs soon down by the creek, and I haven't the first idea of dimensions or anything.

    God knows he works hard enough w/out having to do it twice! :no:

    But we need to move the pigs soon. I have heard that the boar needs to be separated from the sow after breeding to avoid damage to the piglets early on. Is this so?

    I'd love to hear more as well.
    Debbie
     
  8. Countrygrl3

    Countrygrl3 Well-Known Member

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    OOOOPS! :eek:

    Totally forgot to log out DD - I'm not countrygrl3, I'm DLA!
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I might add that I have squirted the sows teats with liquid iron as pigs need plenty of it. I also clip the tails as that stops biting problems from developing later. Castrating at a young age is not a problem and I do not believe that you can kill a pig by castrating. You can kill one by squeezing too hard when holding the pig during castration. An A frame farrowing hut is good as it can be moved to clean soil each farrowing and the pigs get some protection near the sides of the hut walls. A lamp on the sides will draw the piglets from the area the sow is laying. Keeping the sows thin is a good idea also. An overweight sow will just flop down and squish pigs. I never cut the teeth as I feel the remaining edges are sharp also. It is helpful during birthing to be there and remove the pigs and dry them and place them under a lamp and reintroduce all the piglets to the sow at one time. Often as the sow is giving birth she will move around and accidently kill the pigs. Occasionally a sow may want to intentially kill her pigs. She seems confused and if you can prevent her from killing the pigs immediately she often will accept them later. Sounds cruel but a piece of baling wire wrapped around the hogs snout works as deterient and can be removed soon as she accepts the pigs. After feeling that the sows are bred you can dispose of the male. Given the opportunity he will kill pigs sometimes so you do not want him having access to the pigs.
     
  10. Ed K

    Ed K Well-Known Member

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    Mike,

    Haven't done it but I know a guy who did. First of all you would have to be prepared to deal with very large animals. The breeders my dad's friend kept were around 500 lbs. You know how big a 250lb pig can be so imagine how large a 500 lb pig is. You'd need to be prepared for all of the fencing and handling that might involve?

    Also you'll be feeding year round. Dad's friend had a milk route so he had access to a lot of milk to supplement his feed with. H'e also otained day old bread from a bakery delivery man. Raising pigs to 250lb is pretty nice - start in the spring done in the fall vacation in the cold winter!

    Joel Salatin says that breeding pigs in a small scale is "investing in a depreciating asset" he'd rather specialize in growing and marketing rather than breeding and farrowing.

    That's my 2 cents

    Good Luck
     
  11. highlands

    highlands Walter Jeffries Staff Member Supporter

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    Tab A goes into slot B. Sorry, I couldn't resist. :) Seriously though, they are pretty easy to breed and raise. We borrow a boar from another farmer who delivers the boar and picks it back up. The boar comes and visits for about a month in a garden corral with the sows and then goes home. We swap one piglet from each litter for his services.

    Our sows make a nest in the pasture or a den and then take care of farrowing by themselves. They like to be off from the rest of the sows for about four days. The dogs and I check on them but that is it.

    Cut them. The scrotum is too tight to their body to band. Easy to do, especially with two people. One holds piglet upside down in their lap with the piglet's head under their arm and the rear legs pulled back toward the piglet's head exposing the scrotum. The other person pulls the testicles back toward the rear and nicks each side of the scrotum with a clean razor blade. Then pull out the testicals, nick the cord and wait a moment and then remove. Pour iodine or iodized salt on wound and put piglet down, ideally in a relatively clean area (hay). Next customer...

    It is best to do them very young, first week or so.

    Of sows. Not worth it to keep a boar just to service one sow unless you've got free feed. Keeping four is just as easy as keeping two. We're up to eight sows and have just traded for a boar. He won't be mature enough to breed until our next round of breeding in the summer though.

    We don't clip their teeth. Possibly it is necessary in confinement operations but I've never seen any problem that would make me want to bother. Just an added stress for the piglet to have it done.

    We don't give them any shots. If they are pastured or at least have some access to dirt they are probably fine for the iron. Check locally on diseases to see if there is something you want to protect against. We're very isolated and our LGDs patrol the boundries hard keeping out the riff-raff. :)

    Have fun,

    -Walter
    SugarMtnFarm
    in Vermont
     
  12. Matt NY

    Matt NY Well-Known Member

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  13. starkravenmad2

    starkravenmad2 Active Member

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    we raise tammworths in australia and havent had any birthing problems as yet.Also dont know of anyone who castrates their boars here either,seems a lot of work for no result really.No teeth cutting or vitamin shots either and the pigs grow fine and birth in huts in the paddock without any help from us
    The general feeling here is castration and teeth cutting old fashion ideas that are not really necessary,same as tail docking well raised piglets with space to roam dont tend to bite tails anyway
     
  14. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Stark, I got shot down in another post when I said that castration was outmoded and old fashioned. I don't clip the teeth or dock tails either.

    Mike, the rest of the advice has been pretty good and I think it's a matter of choosing something that it going to work best for you.

    A creep rail in the house is an excellent idea as sows can't count and have no idea when they've liaid on one. Coupled with a light to draw the piglets away after feeding, you stand a good chance of getting the lot through to weaning.

    I personally prefer to be there when the sow farrows so that if there are problems I can intervene immediately. And it's a buzz watching them being born :)


    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  15. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

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  16. pjd

    pjd Well-Known Member

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    Here is a website I recently found that has a lot of pig info:

    www.newfarm.org
     
  17. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    As far as not castorating, I will. I've heard if you butcher young, sometimes it can be OK. But if you wait until he starts breeding, forget it. It has some serious tang to it! But thanks for your opinion.

    Already got half of them ... have to wait for another litter for the other 2.

    How much room do I need for a boar and 3 sows (and a couple feeders to raise for butcher)?

    I'm also wrestling with when to get rid of the boar after his services. Go thru the trouble of taking him to the auction after he serves his purpose once. Go 2-3 litters w/ each sow? Feed for me is about 7.50/50lb bag. Try to castorate and butcher? Just don't know what's cost effective. I don't know anyone in the area to borrow from.
     
  18. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    someone brought up the fact that you can use a roast to make bacon , i think its kind of important to remember that basicly , though bacon is generally made from a particular cut of meat, it is more of a treatment than anything, as supposedly unhealthy as it is for you, we love bacon , ive mentioned on here before our 4 year old has named one of our slaughter hogs "bacon" though she was told nott to name them , she said but i cant wait to eat him ,

    mike, an idea for you on feed costs ....
    here too its about 7.50 a bag for pig feed.... however :D
    i can buy 200lbs of corn 50lbs of soybean meal and 2 bags of 12% sweet feed mix it mix it as i pour it into a big barrell , and feed it, the composition is nearly the same as pig feed , mine love it , and the cost for 100 lbs of corn is 7.40, 50 lbs of soy is 3.50, and sweet feed is 6.00 a bag , so it does save on feed costs, yes it means a little work when i have to mix and pour

    but we're talking 350 lbs of pig feed would be 52.50, but my way its about 30.00 for the same amount of feed

    plus, i should mention my sow has about 1/3 acre pasture all to herself this is imporatant part of raising the pigs, cause any lack that there might be in the feed the pigs can root for and find it,

    as for your boar, depending on his breed you might be able to find another homesteader to swap boars with , i do that with my buck goats, if i have a good male , its generally not a problem
    with 3 sows a boar pays for himself,so thats definately a better option than AI....
     
  19. Siryet

    Siryet In Remembrance

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    Mike,
    maybe you could go to a local feed mill (not feed store) and see how much they would charge for milling your feed instead of buying bag feed. I know you will probaby have to but a ton at a time but we store ours in 55 gal plastic drums and we do save money over bagged feed plus they mill to our specifications and no medication or hormones are added;.
    It really does save on the money and less trips to the store. BTW: our feed mill lets us buy only 1/2 ton at a time but gives us the 1 ton price. 1/2 ton stores nicely in three 55 gal drums. Varmit proof also.