Handling a Hampshire

Beekissed

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You know that's not you or me, right? :lol:
You know what? After telling you I could be nimble I took the dogs for a walk in the woods and was climbing over fallen logs and ducking briers....and fell flat on my face, hurt my shin on a log and bent my hand back, bout gave myself whiplash and had a headache for the rest of the day from it. Not to mention a shin that's turning shades of blue and black.

Pride definitely goeth before a fall.....literally. :gig I'm a clumsy oaf. :rolleyes:
 

Duckfarmerpa1

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You know what? After telling you I could be nimble I took the dogs for a walk in the woods and was climbing over fallen logs and ducking briers....and fell flat on my face, hurt my shin on a log and bent my hand back, bout gave myself whiplash and had a headache for the rest of the day from it. Not to mention a shin that's turning shades of blue and black.

Pride definitely goeth before a fall.....literally. :gig I'm a clumsy oaf. :rolleyes:
Don’t worry..me too! At least you got back up!!
 

farmerjan

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I raised hogs for many years. Mostly Hampshires, Durocs, and yorkshire crosses. Kept 2 boars and 12 sows average, and sold the feeder pigs. It is very true that you have to establish boundaries with them. seldom ever had one that would try to get out of the pen when I went in to feed and they would nearly always come right back if they did get out because food is the biggest motivator with them. When I first got into breeding hogs, had a female and borrowed a Duroc boar from a friend. Got him 3 different times over about 2 years and the last time the guy said to take him to the market when we were done because he had gotten too big for breeding. We called him Wilbur and he went across the scales at 905 lbs. I cried because he was one of the best dispositioned hogs I had ever had. He ran loose out at the barn the last 6 months we had him.
If a sow got aggressive for any reason, she left. I had to be able to work around them. They stayed for years if they did a good job raising their pigs. They had to raise 8 pigs minimum by the 2nd litter. If they were lazy sows and didn't take care of where and how they laid down and laid on pigs, after the 2nd litter, they were sold or butchered. I couldn't afford for them to only have and raise 3-4-6 pigs. Most would have 10-14 and raise most all them. My original sow was an auction sow, ugly as sin, and had 6 pigs, 5 white like her and a belted gilt. Sold some of the pigs and the sow. Kept the belted one, and another I raised to eat; named her Daffy because she made a quack noise instead of a real oink. Used the Duroc boar from that friend. She never had more than 8 pigs, but she raised every pig that was born alive. I kept her until she just couldn't breed anymore. All my sows were out of her. Had 2 that were mean with their first litters, and they went when the pigs were sold. Most of the daughters had 11-12 pigs each litter.
I miss my pigs.
 

Baymule

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You know what? After telling you I could be nimble I took the dogs for a walk in the woods and was climbing over fallen logs and ducking briers....and fell flat on my face, hurt my shin on a log and bent my hand back, bout gave myself whiplash and had a headache for the rest of the day from it. Not to mention a shin that's turning shades of blue and black.

Pride definitely goeth before a fall.....literally. :gig I'm a clumsy oaf. :rolleyes:
My middle name is Grace. I told my Mother she jinxed me from birth. :gig
 

LMK17

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Lots of good advice here! I’ll just add my personal experience.

We got into hogs by happy accident. I went to pick up some calves, and the owner asked if I’d like a free feeder pig. I had space left in the trailer and said, “Sure, why not!” 🤣 I also purchased a second pig from the guy so the freeby wouldn’t get lonely. Those two were a Hampshire x commercial gilt and an Ossabaw x something-or-other barrow. During the next year, I really came to enjoy the pigs and played around with various breeds trying to get a feel for what I wanted to keep around long-term. We also added in a Duroc boar (which I got in trade for some turkey poults) and a Kunekune boar.

Fast forward a few months, and the “big pigs” were eating us out of house and home! Truthfully, I loved those hogs. They had amazing personalities, and I called them my “ugly dogs.” They’d throw themselves at my feet for belly rubs. 😍 But I just couldn’t justify their feed bill nor the damage they were doing everywhere I tried to pen them. (We are a pasture-focused farm, and the pigs were being rotated around the woodlot in order to give them the most natural life possible. The wear and tear they were putting on the place just wasn’t sustainable.) The barrow was always destined for the butcher, but I also made the decision to butcher the gilt, who was really more like a pet at this point and who would have made a good breeding sow. I cried when I dropped them at the processor. We donated the Duroc boar to a local charity that dispatched him at the farm and then hauled him off to process him for food for the hungry in our community.

I kept the Kunekune boar and purchased a cute little Kune gilt to be his mate. These two make a lovely pair, and I don’t see myself getting into “big pigs” ever again. Thorin Porkenshield and Henwen the Pink live in the poultry yard near the house. We go in a visit them every day, and they, too, flop over on their sides to invite a through belly rub. When the ground is soggy, I keep them in the poultry yard— It’s basically a sacrificial area— but when the ground is firm, I let them loose to either forage in the yard or roam our pastures and woodlot. Come evening, they wander back up near the house and wait to be let into their yard for dinner. They also come when called, which is quite handy. And Thorin knows SIT just like a dog. They‘re gentle and don’t bother the other livestock, plus I feel quite safe letting my 7 year old interact with them. When Pinky farrows, I’ll sell as many babies as I can at weaning (honestly, a Kune could go to either the pet market or the feeder market), and I’ll process the rest. A Kunekune is small enough that today’s smaller family might not feel like they’re swimming in pork if they purchase an entire hog + ours are FAR less destructive in the pasture than the bigger pigs were. I recently noticed that Pinky is getting quite round, and I have my fingers crossed for some late-winter babies.

Here’s my $0.02: If you want both pets & pork, give the smaller breeds, such as the Kunekune a try. They’re FAR easier to handle, in my experience. And when it comes time to butcher your current hogs, have a ramp built and ready for loading them into the trailer! I counted on my hogs being tame enough to just hop up into the trailer after a food bucket. It worked for the boy, but the girl was ginormous, and I honestly don’t think she could haul herself into the trailer, although she made a gallant effort. After hours of trying, I ended up fashioning an extremely rickety makeshift ramp and using the upended bucket trick to back her into the trailer. Not an experience I EVER wish to repeat! 🤪 Best of luck to you! Enjoy your hogs & enjoy the pork!
 

LMK17

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If a sow got aggressive for any reason, she left. I had to be able to work around them. They stayed for years if they did a good job raising their pigs.
Yes! Ideally, I want to work toward breeding good confirmation, good parasite resistance and all that into my herds, but the absolute #1 biggest trait I look for in my animals is a good temperament. The world is full of nice animals; I don't need to waste my time or risk my family's safety on a mean critter. When selecting recruits for Freezer Camp, the nasty ones go first.

I wish I could remember who it was-- A poster from here whose opinion I really respect once commented that s/he won't keep any hog around that won't flop over for a belly rub. In this person's mind, that's the trait that signals a good, safe temperament. I thought it was excellent advice and have followed it since.
 

farmerjan

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Agree @LMK17 . I don't have to have them flop over, but they better not challenge me in any way. I give a pass to a sow that is farrowing as far as being a bit nervous if I am there, but once they are actually "spitting them out" I need to be able to go in the pens to help if necessary. If a sow even gets up and barks at me, she gets 2 strikes..... I have had sows that I have grabbed pigs and had them squeal and they would come rushing over and I would tell them that it's okay, it's only me and your babies are fine, and have had them just go lay back down. Of course that isn't the norm, and I always have tried to have momma separate when I caught them up for castration....
Daffy was the perfect sow as far as disposition. Her one thing was she would escape if I didn't shut the gate tight. But she got to where she would go foraging up in the woods, then come back to check in at night. Once I couldn't find her for 3 days, no tracks, it was winter and snowed.... then she came to the barn near dark, and I wanted to lock her in and she wouldn't go in the pen to eat. Realized she looked thin....and had an udder..... she had gotten bred and I didn't know it. I was waiting to breed her later for spring pigs and this was winter..... because I didn't want pigs in the cold. She finally ate out in the lot and then took off and I followed her. She had hollowed out under a big round bale along the woods.... had 8 beautiful little squirts all in a pile in the nest she had made. So I made sure she was getting feed, and she brought them to the barn and right into her pen about 2 weeks later.
 
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