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Discussion Starter #1
I recently made the mistake of posting the following to the PIGS-AND-SWINE list and got slammed as an idiot, so I did a search here and decided I was probably safe.

We've started a project to breed small pigs for the homestead. Right now we're working with Hampshire/Potbelly crosses and hope to incorporate at least one smaller breed into the mix. Here are some links to pictures. Is anyone else doing anything like this?

http://home.earthlink.net/~tabletophomestead/pigexperiment.html
http://home.earthlink.net/~tabletop-pictures1/pigexperiment2.html
 

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How is the down sizing project turning out?
The little wild hogs in the southwest don't get too big I hear. I wonder if they would get the size of your hybreds down to the range you are trying for?
There are some growers of wild hogs on here, and they seem to be smaller than the domestics.
 

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Your fat mamma is similar in size to our boar but our boar is a lot darker. We think he is a potbelly X razorback cross. Not sure.

One of their offspring has white socks on all four feet. We still have to go pick up mamma, who is pregnant and brother. Papa and sister are here and Papa rules the homestead, LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Our first litter is healthy, and I'm anxious to see what they look like as they grow. I'll select for breeding those who have less of the sway back and short face while keeping the smaller size of the pots. I am interested in incorporating some wild pigs. I have one little gilt that I was told was "potbelly and Javalina." I realize that's not possible, since Javalinas aren't really pigs, but looking at the parents I think they might have some Russian Boar in them (long noses, large forequarters) along with the pot. Anyway, she's incredibly ugly, but I'll breed her once just to see what happens. Will know more next spring.

uncle Will in In. said:
How is the down sizing project turning out?
The little wild hogs in the southwest don't get too big I hear. I wonder if they would get the size of your hybreds down to the range you are trying for?
There are some growers of wild hogs on here, and they seem to be smaller than the domestics.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A couple of our new litter are black with white socks. One has a star on his head. A couple are almost belted like a hamp and one tried really hard to be a blue-butt. Our boar is smaller and quite a bit leaner than the sow. He's a nice looking little pig. I'll try to post a picture in a day or so.

breezynosacek said:
Your fat mamma is similar in size to our boar but our boar is a lot darker. We think he is a potbelly X razorback cross. Not sure.

One of their offspring has white socks on all four feet. We still have to go pick up mamma, who is pregnant and brother. Papa and sister are here and Papa rules the homestead, LOL!
 

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There is a site somewhere.... it gives the history of pigs/swine! It is wonderful!

According to it, the English kept eating the pigs to extinction so they kept having to import Asian pigs. (potbellies?)

circa 1780 European pigs are first crossed with those from Asia - "Chinese pigs" - producing new strains that came to maturity earlier, produced more young per litter and exhibited dramatic changes in physical appearance. This cross-breeding in Britain produced the first of the Berkshire breed and others that have remained enormously popular into present times.

circa
late 1700’s In Northern Europe, pigs become easier to produce (i.e.: faster and easier to follow growth with fat) as blood lines are augmented with the introduction of the blood of faster-maturing and finer-boned Chinese pigs directly from the Orient and from Neapolitans (earlier crossings of Sus scrofa and Oriental varieties) from the Mediterranean.



1786 In Watervleit, NY, members of the Shaker community begin cross-breeding white Big China hogs with wild local "backwoods" hogs. The progeny will be further developed by Shakers and others in Ohio, producing a breed of black and white hogs — the still popular Poland-China — which would become backbone of the U.S. pork industry.


http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/7484/time/tl-ir1.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I beat you to it. Checked it out last night. I loved it. Thanks for the good info.


GeorgeK said:
have about 8 years experience, for some hints maybe check my site www.windridgefarm.us
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I had read some of the same type of info, which is why I was baffled when I was blasted on a pig forum for trying to incorporate "an inferior pig from a third world country." I wanted to say "duh, why do think Berks, Middle Whites and others look the way they do?" But, I just made an unemotional little remark about elitism in certain sectors of the livestock world and unsubbed.

The link is great. Thanks.

breezynosacek said:
There is a site somewhere.... it gives the history of pigs/swine! It is wonderful!

According to it, the English kept eating the pigs to extinction so they kept having to import Asian pigs. (potbellies?)



http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/7484/time/tl-ir1.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here are the pictures of the boars

http://home.earthlink.net/~tabletop-pictures1/pigexperiment3.html

TabletopHomestead said:
A couple of our new litter are black with white socks. One has a star on his head. A couple are almost belted like a hamp and one tried really hard to be a blue-butt. Our boar is smaller and quite a bit leaner than the sow. He's a nice looking little pig. I'll try to post a picture in a day or so.
 

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beat who to what? I'm confused. I was going to add your site to my links section. Just out of interest, have you raised potbellies, and crosses, or just crosses? Aside from genetic diversity, what have you found to be the advantage of crossing, over potbellies? I usually butcher at about 9 months, that seems to be maximum meat for minimum investment in feed/time. At that age they are usually about 50-80 pounds. For potbellies to get to the 125 pound range (on the hoof, lean weight) takes about 3-4 years, once in a while only 2 years, I try to save them as breeders if they make good parents.


TabletopHomestead said:
I beat you to it. Checked it out last night. I loved it. Thanks for the good info.
 

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Nothing wrong with what you are doing. The F1 will be a risk in terms of what you get and subsequent generations will have to be bred for type but I guess you've gone beyond F1 now and might feel more at ease. I raise captive bred "wild" pigs which are larger than potbelly pigs and smaller than domestics. According to George's article in last month Countryside, mine would de well in a natural pasture envronment. IMO, it is the perfect size for a small homestead.
 

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I'm not knocking your experiment at all, but what is your reason for wanting smaller hogs? We feed out whatever local weaners we can find and butcher at 250 pounds in a few short months. Why wait longer to get less meat?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We have quite a bit of experience with standard sized hogs, dh was raised on a 100-sow Duroc operation and we've kept both sows and boars in the last 10 years. We don't want to have to deal with animals the size of adult, breeding, standard-sized hogs. We want to breed our own animals, which means either keeping a boar or A.I.-ing and we don't want to do that either. We've also found that these little crossbreeds are much less picky about their diet, especially in terms of forage. They'll eat anything, including weeds and grass, that we pull out of the garden. We want something that doesn't take several days to cut up, as it's just dh and I, and Oklahoma weather often isn't that cooperative. They're also not nearly as hard on pens. At some point I'll start keeping some detailed records on feed to gain ratio, etc. to see where we are.

Ed Norman said:
I'm not knocking your experiment at all, but what is your reason for wanting smaller hogs? We feed out whatever local weaners we can find and butcher at 250 pounds in a few short months. Why wait longer to get less meat?
 

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LOL. I just meant that I'd already looked at your website and I really enjoyed it. So far we've just raised the crosses, but I have eaten potbelly with no complaint. Truthfully, it's probably mostly just esthetics that makes me want to breed a "prettier" pig. That, and just to see if I can do it. LOL

GeorgeK said:
beat who to what? I'm confused. I was going to add your site to my links section. Just out of interest, have you raised potbellies, and crosses, or just crosses? Aside from genetic diversity, what have you found to be the advantage of crossing, over potbellies? I usually butcher at about 9 months, that seems to be maximum meat for minimum investment in feed/time. At that age they are usually about 50-80 pounds. For potbellies to get to the 125 pound range (on the hoof, lean weight) takes about 3-4 years, once in a while only 2 years, I try to save them as breeders if they make good parents.
 

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some people find prettier pigs are harder to eat, but I guess that's just like you say aesthetics. It sounds like max size for both of ours are about the same, how quickly do yours get there? and do they have any health problems to note? I've noticed the black potbellies seem to be healthier than the spotted.


TabletopHomestead said:
LOL. I just meant that I'd already looked at your website and I really enjoyed it. So far we've just raised the crosses, but I have eaten potbelly with no complaint. Truthfully, it's probably mostly just esthetics that makes me want to breed a "prettier" pig. That, and just to see if I can do it. LOL
 

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to be able to have a safer pig to handle, when you have to do things by yourself with no help and no heavy equipment. Smaller pigs can be kept as free range too.


Ed Norman said:
I'm not knocking your experiment at all, but what is your reason for wanting smaller hogs? We feed out whatever local weaners we can find and butcher at 250 pounds in a few short months. Why wait longer to get less meat?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Still being fairly early in the process, I don't have the best of data, but the original group of crosses, out of which we selected the parents to this latest litter, aren't yet a year old. The one we butchered was about 90 pounds at 5 to 6 months. Now they're about 10 months old, which meant sexual maturity at 6 months. So far we've had absolutely no health problems. We feed about a quart of feed a day and give them scraps and garden weedings/thinnings. Right now we're not set up to pasture them, but I think they'd do fine. I'm guessing that the sow, who's fatter, weighs about 120 now and the boars about 100.

GeorgeK said:
some people find prettier pigs are harder to eat, but I guess that's just like you say aesthetics. It sounds like max size for both of ours are about the same, how quickly do yours get there? and do they have any health problems to note? I've noticed the black potbellies seem to be healthier than the spotted.
 

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TabletopHomestead said:
Nice! Now the brother looks like the picture on the left bottom. He's not real large compaired to his sister. I'm not sure if they came out of the same litter or not.

Yes, I read that history and I thought, hmmm, if Jefferson and the shakers can do some breading until they get what they are looking for why can't I?

I was reading where down in South America, where they eat Guinea Pigs, they kept eating all the big offspring by putting them into the stew pot until their breading stock was all small. Well I don't know how many hundreds of years they did this, but I got to thinking, you know it is true, people have a tendency to either breed up or breed down depending upon market.

So here we are and we have a slew of mini pigs on the market and everybody that raises them is turning their noses up to them.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
 

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TabletopHomestead said:
We have quite a bit of experience with standard sized hogs, dh was raised on a 100-sow Duroc operation and we've kept both sows and boars in the last 10 years. We don't want to have to deal with animals the size of adult, breeding, standard-sized hogs. We want to breed our own animals, which means either keeping a boar or A.I.-ing and we don't want to do that either. We've also found that these little crossbreeds are much less picky about their diet, especially in terms of forage. They'll eat anything, including weeds and grass, that we pull out of the garden. We want something that doesn't take several days to cut up, as it's just dh and I, and Oklahoma weather often isn't that cooperative. They're also not nearly as hard on pens. At some point I'll start keeping some detailed records on feed to gain ratio, etc. to see where we are.
That's the same reason we wanted to do it. Gestation is shorter, size is smaller, and they don't stink like the domestic pigs do. Personally, I want a Mamma or Pappa pig that can run off dogs so that I don't have to worry about the babies.

We get wild dogs every once in a while that will kill all of the neighborhood small livestock.

These suckers are fast on their feet and mean looking! They look like wild boar.
 
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