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We noticed one side was larger than the other but didn't think anything about it. Then after turning him back loose in the pen, I saw his guts coming out. I was hoping I could catch him fast enough to sew him back up but I couldn't catch him soon enough. I had to put him down.

Next time if I see one side obviously larger than the other, he won't get cut, I will just butcher before he is 4 months old. The ones that do get cut, I will from now on keep them in a clean cardboard box for an hour or so for observation, just in case.

Sad learning experience but I know this is all part of raising animals.
 

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Aye, this is what inspired me years ago to start researching the whole issue of taint to find out if castration was really necessary or if it could be done better. After a few pigs squirt their small intestines out into your lap it makes you think there might be a better way. These were piglets that showed no outward signs of hernias but once opened they lost it. You can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

What I found in the scientific literature was taint is actually not all that common even in full size hogs at slaughter age. That led me to gradually testing older and older boars. Taint is caused by many factors which we can control including genetics, diet and management. I selected for lower taint, feed a high fiber diet and do extensive grazing on pasture rather than confinement. As a result we haven't castrated for years - thousands of boars.

Taint is very confusing because there are multiple causes and many things that get confused with boar taint that have nothing to do with it. Taint is real, but not common. It can be controlled without castration.

See: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/taint

If one is going to castrate and one sees a suspected herniated then do him as a roaster rather than risking gutting the live pig by accident.

-Walter
 

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I agree with ya Walter, but mine have taint by the time they are butchering age. I previously tried not cutting a litter and from them, I still have quite a large batch of tainted sausage that I only cook for myself. Another lesson learned, lol.

Once my operation gets larger, I may do some experimenting but for now, they will be castrated if everything back there looks normal... I will be prepared the next time.
 

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So butchering around 4 months is the key? We cut our first ones last week after watching videos and I noticed right before cutting one that he was puffy underneath. We didn't cut him and came inside and looked it up. So glad I didn't cut him!!
 

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It's so common to cut, I wonder if its just done out of fear of taint. I'd like to hear more about how the finished product turns out from unaltered boars before Cutting mine. Anyone tired boar?
 

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We've slaughtered thousands of boars - excellent meat. We take boars to market most every week of the year.

Your mileage may vary based on your pigs, feed and management. We have taint free genetics that I spent years testing and selecting. We feed a high fiber diet (pasture/hay). We do extensive management (rotational grazing). All of these things favor the odds towards high quality taint free pork from boars.

Taint is a complex issue. There are many things mistaken for taint that have nothing to do with boar taint such as stress taint, handling the meat too warm, improper aging, blood taint, etc. Even barrows, gilts and sows can get these. There are many ways to ruin meat from the raising to the processing that get blamed on taint because it is an easy out. Cutting won't prevent any of the issues except the chemical based taint related to the testes and that fortunately is actually not common. Castration is a good placebo in part. It makes people feel like they've done something. Maybe it was necessary, maybe not. Without understanding all the factors and testing the genetics, feed and management you don't actually know if it is making a difference or if perhaps, most likely, the boars were taint free to begin with.

All that said, taint is very real and strong in some genetic lines. Scientific research shows that clean living conditions (feces dust free such as pasture), high fiber diet and feeding chicory can help in these cases but that might not be enough to offset the genetic problem.

There is quite a bit of scientific research that has been done on this topic and castration is becoming illegal in some countries. I expect to see that trend spread and come to even Canada and the USA within the next 15 to 20 years. This is treated as a humane handling issue much like the gestation crating of sows and battery caging of hens which is now illegal in some states within the USA. It takes years to transition the genetics, feed and management techniques so it is worth being well ahead of the curve on this.

-Walter
 

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There is a fear of balls on the boys...I did some early weaned piglets for a friend and told him we'd castrate after they settled in. He had them on display to the public. Obviously someone got to him because he got nervous that is 6 week old piglets would get taint. 6 weeks? you'll be fine, but he insisted it would ruin the meat. Whatever, he paid me so I do what he wants. Personally i think the boars have the best carcasses. But that said, I'm always nervous about taint.

I've also had cryptorchids that can't be cut. When i raise them I don't castrate, but for sale i do. Stinks when you castrate a potentional breeder. My current boar was going to be dinner but he's grown on me. I wouldn't be able to use him if i had cut him early on. Very calm, very long and respects me space while still being friendly. Traits I like to pass on.
 

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Sorry about losing your piglet, tinfoil.

Just want to add another perspective to the topic. I am not overly concerned about taint, rather, age of fertility. We raise AGHs and have discovered the ideal age for butchering (in terms of meat and fat) is between 6 and 12 months of age. Those boys would be breeding their sisters and dam. So far, we've had good luck with castrating, performed by a vet, rather inexpensively.
 

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Sorry you lost one. I don't like castrating at all. We have a little boar that looked like a possible breeder at two weeks old, but by 7 weeks he wasn't keeping up on growth so he is staying with our feeders. I'm planning on taking him to the butcher at six months but maybe I should do it a little earlier.
 
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