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Discussion Starter #1
Please don't turn this into a "discussion" about boar taint.....or pasture raised pigs. I'm asking a very specific quesiton to those who do raise uncastrated males on pasture.

For those who have experience with trying to eliminate taint I'm curious about something...

I had a duroc boar and have a duroc sow. The sow has been a really good mother and I would love to keep her genes in the herd. The boar was a complete jerk (discussed in other threads) and met his maker a couple of weeks ago. He was around three years old .. we had him for a year and he sired two litters (including one today from that sow). We have sampled his meat and he had what I would call very strong boar taint.

We do not have the ideal environment for raising our pigs. We have about 2.5 acres of space divided up into four paddocks. We can't keep grasses and other things growing on it because there are too many pigs (about 15 ..oops another nine today..25). We have a set of weaned pigs, a set that were born today, four eight month olds and two sows. Anyways, I know that diet is part of the problem for boar taint (very little pasture, mostly commercial and corn). But Durocs are also suppose to be prone to taint.

Sorry for the long explanation..hang in with me :) We are moving to Tennessee in the next year or so and will have more than enough room to rotate the pigs through proper pasture. I really like some of the duroc traits and our sow is a really good mother. I think I already said that .. however, unless things change in unexpected ways the piglets she had today will be her last as she seems to have broken her leg about six weeks ago. We nursed her along because we thought she might be pregnant. And she was..but I don't think she will ever breed again. A full size boar on her leg would probably shatter it. I expect her to go to the processor after she weans these piglets.

Her piglets are pure duroc from the boar I talked about above. So, we now know he has taint. Will that be something that is for certain passed to his offspring? Or should we keep them to see what happens after we move to Tennessee and get established on proper pasture? What about keeping the girls who hopefully take after their mother? Paired with a non-taint boar will all their offspring be non-taint?

thanks,

Keith
 

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I could be wrong, but I do not think this will be a strait forward yes or no answer? I have read about Durocs being more prone than some other breeds at having taint. I have also read that RED pigs are more prone. I would suppose the two are related, because somewhere way back they probably came from the same red pigs to create the breed. I have seen many discussions on here about the subject and it seems to me to be a highly debatable subject, as to how to tell (if it is going to pass on) and how to then change it in your program. Personally I have never seen a strait forward, here is how you tell and here is how you breed away from it by breeding x to Y. Outside of testing and changing genetics and testing again, until you find something that works. I just do not think you will reasonably find someone here (or anywhere for that matter) who can tell you with any certainty that, yes, she will have taint and pass it on to here offspring or no she will not. As well, I do not think there is a magic cross to get rid of it, other than finding a farmer to get a boar from, where taint has also been a concern for and has worked it out in his breeding program. The fact that your boar had it and you have offspring from him, makes me think there is a good chance he passed it on, but I would not be certain, just suspect, until it is proven, through further breeding.

On a personal note, I had 2 boars (brothers) who I got my first LB litters from. I had high hopes they did not have taint. They never once had a "Boar" smell at all. Then a few weeks ago I penned them up to fatten them for butcher (and also to keep them from re-breeding, as I have a new registered boar with my sows). They started fighting one day after several weeks of being penned together and their whole lives living together (brothers) to the point one was going to injure the other, if I did not separate them. The smell was such that they were hard to be around even. Now I am wondering. But the point is, even after I eat them this winter, it will be next year before their offspring is able to breed and even longer before they have offspring, so we are several years away from even the first real indications I will have, as to if I have taint or not. This is a long process in my mind to know with any amount of certainty. Individuals, easy, but when we are talking about a breeding program with many animals and eradicating a trait from the entire herd, this takes time.
 

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It's complicated. The short answer is taint is a combination of genetics, feed and management. Each of them is not binary but rather a continuum. The more you bias each factor in your favor the better the odds.

Long answer: http://SugarMtnFarm.com/taint and then follow the links from there.

Cheers,

-Walter
 

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All pigs have taint pass the age of 6-7 mos. Just depends on how much. Male and female have taint.
All breeds have taint just depends on how much. There is no way as for as i know of predicting what male pig will have strong taint. That is why most all farmers cut the boars.

I have butchered one 800 lb. 1and half year old Berk/Duro cross no taint that i could tell or people who have eat that meat.
I have butchered one 400 lb.Hamp. that was about 1year old. No taint.
I have butchered one York and one Bluebutt neither had taint that was strong enough to hurt the meat.

I do cut all my piglets that i plan to sale as butcher hogs or the ones i sell to the 4H and the FFA kids. No need of taking the chance that one may have taint that would spoil the meat. It only takes 10 sec. to cut a week old pig. People who buy from me do not want a boar unless it is for breeding. I can buy boars at sale barns for 10 cent a pound.
 

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Do a biopsy if you want to find out if a pig has taint. It's an easy test. The tool is shown here along with a link of one place to buy it - they're widely available:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/taint
Most pigs, specifically most boars, do _not_ have detectable levels of taint at any age. If it is not detectable then it is not relevant or there. That is what matters. There are research studies that show this. They only go up to market age because that is all they care about. I've tested up to eight years and I have hundreds of reports from other people. Taint is pretty rare. The intact boars grow a little faster so if you don't want to castrate and you want that added economic edge then breed, manage and feed in your favor.

-Walter
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Walter. I do think I'm going to experiment with the biopsy tool. I'm going to keep some of these piglets as the sow is going to have to be put down when the piglets are weaned (she had broken her leg about two months ago or so). She is such a good mother that I'm going to operate under the hope that our move to pasture and off of commercial feed will help significantly with the issue of taint from the boar. I may end up having to remove these genes from the pool period but I can at least try.

Keith

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http://www.permaculturefreedom.com
 

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This is not really a yes or no answer boar taint is a bit complicated I have an uncle that swears that you can get rid of boar taint by castrating the male in question and feeding him out for about 30 days before slaughter (let all the testosterone drain out) others say that there is nothing to be done about boar taint other then try and breed it out. So it all depends on who you ask
 

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89,
I do not think the two statements from your uncle and the other people are really contradictory. Yes, you can castrate and get rid of boar taint. That would need to be done in a genetic line that had taint in the animals. You can also breed for pigs without the issue of boar taint as well, or the genetic disposition for taint. My way of thinking, it is simply two different means of getting to the same end. Not necessarily complicated or contradictory, but two different solutions to the same problem. Everyone is free to choose their own path, depending on how much time and effort they are willing to dedicate to the subject.

If my car tire has a hole in it and everyday I keep having to pump it up. I can simply keep adding air everyday, or I can take the time to fix the hole, both methods will get you to work, it is just a choice you will need to make as to how to deal with the problem?
 

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Before proposing a solution it would be best to make sure the problem actually exists. Boar taint is real, but uncommon.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm almost dead certain in our case my duroc boar had taint. I can smell it really strong when cooking the meat. It has a taste that is quite strong...to the point where i do not take any pleasure in eating it. While boar taint is uncommon, I have pretty much done everything wrong in his case--he's a Duroc (more prone to taint), fed his entire life on primarily commercial feed, no real pasture (hence not enough fibre), probably three to four years old. I could smell it on him when he was alive but I could't bring myself to believe that is what it was. Just thought it was being a male pig since he's the only one other than a Berkshire I grew to eight months I have been around.

I'll be sampling our boys from now on until i'm satisfied we have a taint free herd :)


Keith
 

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I actually just ordered some Biopsy tools off Ebay yesterday. I am going to start poking holes in my pigs in the next few weeks hopefully. Should be interesting!! I will also be interested to see how your sampling goes as well.
 

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To be honest I think my most tainted pig was a sow. Its mild. but on occation I'll take a bite of her and be like, "bleagh!" but usually its good.

after reading a few comments I'm wondering if taint and aggression/stress have a link...
 

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There are actually quite a few different kinds of taint, things that get confused with 'boar taint' which is part of what causes the mythology. Even sows and barrows can have some of the taints. Stress, especially just before slaughter, is one big issue.

-Walter
 
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