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Discussion in 'Pigs' started by cab, Jan 8, 2005.
How big, is to big of a boar to breed with a 250 lbs gilt. I have access to a really big boar; thanx
I have two boars, one 330lbs the other nearing 400lbs and both have been used successfully over sows much smaller than themselves. You don't say how heavy you estimate the boar to be but don't imagine you will have any problems.
I used to raise hogs commercially, and we rarely put a boar over 400lbs. on a gilt/young sow. We've used boars up to 600+lbs. but only for breeding older sows. The fact is that a big boar will often "break down" the sow he's breeding, resulting in a permanent injury for the sow (usually dislocations of a hip or hind leg). This problem is minimized if hogs are bred on pasture, where the footing is better. Our operation was 100% confinement, and our sows were bred on concrete, which is hard on joints anyway, and often slick and dangerous. We once had a registered Yorkshire boar named "John Henry" who weighed a whopping 726lbs. when we sold him. He was a prolific breeder and was sire to thousands of long, lean pigs over the course of his 3 years service. We finally had to sell him to the meat packers because he was "breaking down" at least one sow out of every 10 he bred. He was so gentle, he would stand at the gate to get his back and ears scratched, and follow me like a dog as I led him from pen to pen. I miss those days, but I really don't miss all the back-breaking work for a near break-even sustenence.
Our gilts were about 250 lbs (?) when they first bred and the boar was about 650 lbs. They bred in a garden corral. The farmer who lent us the boar told me that some people he lends to have wooden floors and some have cement floors and that causes a lot of trouble. He said the dirt was much better for breeding on.
He slaughtered that boar last month when it reached 1,060 lbs. as it was getting to big for breeding. He said it was a shame to lose it as it was a very good boar but at that size it was just too big for the sows.
Our sows are now about 400 lbs and the new boar which just arrived on Saturday is about 500 lbs. He is about an inch or two taller in the shoulder and a foot longer. Nice looking and of a good temperment as well as a proven breeder although still young (15 months).
Good luck with your sows.