pigs of different ages/sizes?

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by JHinCA, May 15, 2006.

  1. JHinCA

    JHinCA Well-Known Member

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    We have little experience of raising pigs. Last year we raised 2 weaners for meat successfully. This year we have an opportunity to get 2 gilts, which we would plan to keep for breeding and 2 barrows, for this years meat, all from a litter born at the end of Feb. We have been offered a 3rd gilt but she is much smaller--just 6 weeks old. The little one would need at least a separate feeder and maybe a separate pen? Would the others continue to bully her even after she was bigger? It is my inclination to not get the 3rd gilt and just have group all the same age, but dh wants to have 3. Any experience and suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Pigs can be quite brutal with smaller pigs and that will be ear-piercing for you. If you can pen her beside the larger gilts and let her grow up within sight, smell, hearing of them, they may quickly establish dominance later with few problems. Sows live in sounders which are female groups and should be able to get along eventually with a same-sized female... theoretically. If it were me, I'd take the two same-aged gilts and keep the best gilt from each sow later... fewer headaches :)
     

  3. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    I think I would stick with the 4 like-size pigs and do best you can with them. I would take the purchase amount for the small gilt and the amount that would go towards a pen and feed for her, and collect that for a fund to purchase a Boar to breed the two gilts. Gilts can be bred at 8 months of age, so that will come up soon. When those two farrow, you could have from 16 to 24 new pigs to deal with!
    I just think one small pig isolated by itself and then beat up badly later in life when merged with other hogs will create much work and not get the best results.
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    If you think that all these pigs have potential AND you have a set-up that enables you to keep the weaner separate but next to the older pigs, I would say go for it.

    You won't be able to integrate the weaner with the other two until she is adult or close to it. Over the years I've done it all ways and learnt that there are no hard and fast rules for these things - in one case a 4 month old gilt climbed over the gate into the larger paddock with mature sows. When I found them they were all asleep with this little gilt in the middle keeping nice and warm.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. JHinCA

    JHinCA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses. DH is stubborn and wants to have the bloodline of the little pig, so , despite my preferences, I guess we are going to have 2 pens next to each other.

    I hope they end up getting along as well as the pig in your story, Ronney.

    Jean
     
  6. John Schneider

    John Schneider Well-Known Member

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    When your little one is a bit older you might also try taking one of the other sows and placing her in the gilts' pen...under supervision. It will be the gilt's "territory" and with the sow out of her element so to speak, you might not have problems. Then you can let them all together after some time has passed. It's worth a try in my opinion.
     
  7. JHinCA

    JHinCA Well-Known Member

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    Update--we got the 2 gilts and 2 barrows farrowed in Feb. and 2 gilts farrowed 4/4. We had the little ones penned separately, but they got out and went under the fence to get in with the big ones. Everyone seems to be getting along and getting enough to eat. They are Glouster (sp?) Old Spots and seem much calmer than other pigs.
     
  8. highlands

    highlands Well-Known Member

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    We keep a mixed age herd. There are about 30 sows ranging from 300 to 800 lbs plus the boar as well as finishers, growers and piglets. As long as there is plenty of space and plenty of food this works fine. If you are going to crowd them or short them on food then I would keep them sorted by size.