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We’ve got some darn big pigs!.

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Carla D, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. Mar 9, 2019
    Carla D

    Carla D True BYH Addict

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    We have some young butcher pigs for sale at the moment. We decided to get a rough estimate on how much they weigh. Our young 4.5 month old pigs weigh between 87-120# each. At least that’s what the measuring tape says. They aren’t quite as hefty as we thought they might be.

    Then out of curiosity we decided to measure our boar, Spot. He wasn’t quite impressed with that idea so we measured one of his girls who happens to be more than three months pregnant. She’s still smaller than Spot, but she is on of our biggest sows. Our sewing measuring tape wasn’t big enough to go around her belly. It was about ten inches too short. So her weight is a best guess estimate. That girl weighs 740+ pounds if our circumference guess was pretty good. That means our boy, Spot weighs more than 800#. He’s visibly bigger and he is a very solid boar. He could weigh 900# easily. I’m not quite sure why were thinking these five pigs were between 400-500#.

    So out of curiosity we decided to measure our intermediate sized pigs. The only one available and willing to be”weighed” was the smallest of the three. She too is more than three months pregnant. She weighed around 437#. That’s about how much we were thinking our big girls weighed. These intermediate sized pigs are roughly half the size of our big pigs. So our big girl Blacky better have more than 7-8 piglets this time around. She has never had more than 6 piglets in her litters. Last time she only had 4. At her nice hefty weight she will easily give us a $1000 if we can sell her for only $1.50/pound hanging weight. I don’t know how much we could get for her being very pregnant. I doubt we could get that much for her as a live pig. Even if we embellished her being a proven pig. She’s proven to us she has small litters of big, strong, healthy babies. All 9 of her babies have survived, and all but 2 have been female. We don’t feel she’s worthy of sticking around our little farm. Halfy is also on the fence as to whether we keep her or not. She’s an amazing pig and mother. She has 12-13 piglets each litter. But, last time she farrowed she was quite protective and possessive of her babies. She will be out the door if she’s as possessive or more than her last litter. She’s actually our best and favorite sow on the farm. But, we won’t be hanging onto any dangerous or potentially dangerous animals on the farm. It’s not worth the headache of pussyfooting around them to keep them around.

    Between “weighing” our pigs and letting the boys spread their wings, roar their engines, discovering they would need “brake work and steering alignments” if they had four wheel and ran with an engine. This has been the most enjoyable day I’ve had for a really long time. Even our rabbits and kitties need and looked for extra attention. I think my fibromyalgia flare is starting to wane a bit. Not to the utterly miserable point today. Only moderate discomfort in a few select areas. Gotta give today 3.75 stars out of 5. That’s a pretty good day if I say so for myself.
     
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  2. Mar 10, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    If you go to TSC you should be able to get a measuring tape for hogs. It will give you a corresponding weight for the size.
    How old are the hogs? If the sow really does weigh that much, and she is only giving you 6 pigs a litter, she is costing you money in feed that you will never get back. I thoroughly agree with your assessment that she should go.
    A gilt has to have at least 8 for her first litter, and raise them. If she has 10 she still needs to raise a minimum of 8. And that will only basically pay you back expenses.
    I would not keep a mean sow either. But possessive and mean are 2 different things. And for the first day or 2, I did not bother the sow with her pigs until she felt a little more comfortable. They are supposed to be protective of their babies, but not to the point of wanting to attack you.
    If your boar is that big, he may be a problem with the litters. He may be unable to breed as well as a younger more athletic male could. And at that size he can hurt a smaller sow.
    Keep a replacement gilt or two out of the sow that has the bigger litters, then get rid of her if she is too aggressive. I would not advise keeping a gilt out of the sow that only has 6 at a time. Over the years we found that it was more or less hereditary.
    Glad you had a good day and enjoyed the time with the goats. I read on the thread about taking them to slaughter, but could not figure out what triggered it. Was there another posting I did not see? It might be to your advantage to do a journal and post most of the daily stuff in one place.
     
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  3. Mar 11, 2019
    Carla D

    Carla D True BYH Addict

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    @farmerjan or sows and huge boar will be 2years old in April-May. Yes, Blacky is definitely costing us money at this point. I’m not sure why but DH wants to let her farrow this litter. She’s due in 3-4 weeks. We kinda think we will get more money for her as a butcher hog. We generally sell them for $1.50/pound hanging weight. I have no idea what a pig that size is worth to either breed or buy from an auction. I can’t imagine more than $400. Again I’m only guessing.

    You are right there is a difference between possessive and mean. Halfy,our best sow was very, very possessive. To the point where we finally reached over the wall to dump feed and water in her troughs. We also like letting the piglets out of the pen once they start playing and exploring the pen they are all in. It gives the sow a little down time and the piglets time to stretch their legs and find a little independence. This time around every time we opened her gate to let the babies out she would push it shut with her snout or push her babies back away from the gate. I have always been able to go in her pen and pet her and tell her what a good pig and pretty pig she is. She’s never had any issues with me touching her babies while on the ground. This time around if I so much as looked at her babies her vibe and attitude changed instantly. They were 2-2.5 months old before she would let us “evict” her from her stall. We didn’t even know how many boys or girls we had exactly until she was sent to pasture. She was so thin by that time you could see what I’m thinking was her stomach through her sides. We are really worried she may get more possessive or become dangerous with this next batch. If she does, she’s also gone after her babies are weaned.

    The two pregnant gilts we have are from Halfys first litter. Spot, our big boy is pretty agile. He can jump a typical hog panel that has a 1”x 4” just above that panel. He clears them and we barely can tell where he’s jumped fence. It’s hard to believe. He can’t be more than 125-200# more than his sows. He has given us nearly 100 babies from 4 sows having had two litters each. Plus he’s smart and quite gentle. He takes good care of his girls. He likes to be pet and talked to at the fenceline as well.

    I was wondering if small litters was hereditary.

    There were comments made on a different thread that was meant to be a useful tool for new people. It was something along the lines of “if I had only known” I mentioned the fact that the area our goats are in is on a loose gravel floor. That is nearly impossible to thoroughly clean and remove the urine/ammonia out of. I’ve been trying to get the ammonia neutralized especially since the ground will be thawing shortly. And that their area is too small for them. The other day I had mentioned how we were working really hard to get them outside despite having 7-9’ snow piles where we want to put them, and that the ground is frozen solid. We plan on getting the snow moved and my husband is going to do everything he can to drive enough t-posts to at least build them a small pasture so they can be moved outside and into fresh air. I got told to put my big girl panties on and send them to slaughter. I felt like they thought I was sitting on the sidelines watching them burst out of their enclosure and gasping for fresh air. We’ve been working to get them out of the barn then we got hammered with super cold and huge snow. Other things became more desperate at that time. Now we have caught our breath and are doing everything we can to get them outside as fast as we can. But, no I was projecting my human feeling onto my goats instead of doing what needs to get done. That where the blowup came from.

    Actually I don’t plan on making anymore posts for a while. Probably not even comment. I’ve tried to get slaughter your goat down. I’ve even reported because there is absolutely no point in keeping it up. I’ve reported it twice asking to have it taken down since I can’t figure out how to. I’m considering leaving the herd. But, I need some time to cool off and think about it first.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  4. Mar 11, 2019
    Carla D

    Carla D True BYH Addict

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    @farmerjan , how do you keep track of your pigs and their prodigy and so forth. To this point and time we have been doing it all in our heads. But over the next 3 months we are expecting 4 sows and 2 gilts to farrow. All starting the end of this month. I’m asking because you said characteristics such as small litters tend to be hereditary. Do you have an effective system to keep track of this information. Right now I’m only keeping track of mating dates, potential farrowing dates, dates of farrow, and how many boys and girls they have. But once we let them into general population of like size and age we don’t have a system to know who came from who. We have had several pigs that look nearly identical to each other. A piglet usually looks like a piglet from a different batch of babies, odd. My husband is good to this point about who came from who. That might change next time around when we let our youngest pigs out to pasture. I don’t know if he can keep that all straight.
     
  5. Mar 11, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    I get that you are upset at the post. I also have to agree that you probably have too many goats for the space you have. However, considering the winter conditions, I would hope that you are trying to get it straightened out.
    The only thing that I can suggest is to use plenty of lime to neutralize the odor. It will be hard to "clean" the pen out since the urine does go down through the gravel. The best I can tell you is to clean the pen out, and COAT the ground with lime, ( agricultural lime) and then use as much bedding as you can. Shavings, old hay, straw, anything absorbent. And you should probably add lime every time you clean out the hay/straw mix and add more dry. I'm not talking a handful, I am talking spreading it so it is like a little bit of a 1-2 inch snow dusting. It will work it's way down into the gravel as they pee also and it will help.
    Yes, the goats need more space. And maybe cutting back is the thing to do. But as long as they are fed and taken care of, I can't judge you. Yes, wethers are not much "good" for much other than pets. The whole reason to raise them up is for most to make a bit of their costs back on the wethers as slaughter animals. The same with the steer calves we raise off our cattle. They all can't be pets.
    You have a small operation, and it is easy to get caught up in personalities. You are going to have to learn how to not let everyone of them become a pet/personality. It just isn't practical.
    These have been a real learning trend for you.
    Let the thread be, it will be laid aside and you can just take it with a grain of salt.

    As for the hogs. If the boar can clear a hog panel which is 39" high, I can almost guarantee he does not weigh 7-800 lbs. I think whatever weight formula you are using isn't right.
    I had hogs for years. Had 12 sows that I farrowed twice a year. By 2-3 years old the biggest were only in the 400 lb range and they were "porkers" (fat fat). You say the boar is "spot". Is he a spotted hog or just "spotted"? As in is he a purebred or just a nice spotted male? What are the sows? White, spotted, black, red? In other words are they Yorkshires, Durocs, Berkshires, Hampshires, Landrace, Old Spots, Large English Blacks, Tamworths, or just some nice mixed breed sows?.
    They will continue to get larger as they get older but will grow much more slowly after 3. Most sows will weigh near to 4-600 as old sows. I did have a Duroc boar that weighed 905 but he was about 6 or 7 and had access to milk as part of his diet and was a good natured as could be. He got too big for the sows and finally had to go.
    Most of my sows would weigh in the 4-500 lb range as mature sows. Most of my 2-3 yr olds would hit 300.
    A sow that is close to farrowing will bring less here unless someone is looking for a bred sow. And then, most buyers would wonder why someone was selling a bred sow that close to pigging. Unless it is a dispersal sale. So letting her pig and getting them off her by 6 weeks and drying her up and then shipping her is smarter.

    Purebred hogs are defined by ear notches done soon after they are born. There are hog ear tags. They lay flat on the ear. I think that might be your best bet if you don't want to ear notch. We also kept out litters more or less separate until the pigs were 3-4 weeks old, and the pigs usually went back in with their own momma's to eat and we could close them in with them if we were looking to separate for any reason.

    I kept paper records of all the things you listed. Dates, number in the litter, how many of each. Since they were separate for about 3 weeks, could make notes on the more active healthier pigs. I also only farrowed 3-4 at a time, so that if necessary could foster pigs from one to another if necessary. But I never kept a female that didn't have at least 8 for her first litter. If she had a big litter and some were dead they counted in numbers. Sometimes there are problems that you can't foresee. They would get a second chance. But no more than that. They had to raise a minimum of 8 after that. Most of my litters were 10-14.
    Count the number of teats both the sow and boar has. They HAVE TO HAVE A MINIMUM OF 12. Yes it is hereditary. And yes, litter size is hereditary.

    I would notch or ear tag only the potential ones you might keep. And you can't keep them all, so be selective. You can find hog ear tags at many farm equipment places, like a feed store or look it up on something like Jeffers or Valley vet.
     
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  6. Mar 11, 2019
    Carla D

    Carla D True BYH Addict

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    Thank you @farmerjan. We will be doing the ag lime or PDZ on the floor the next couple of days. My husband tried to drive t-posts into the ground today. It’s still too frozen. But, we do have plans to build an enclosure similar to a dog kennel. It will be 4.5x the size of what they are currently in. Building that and a goat house for all of them shouldn’t take more than two or three days total to get built and set up. We also had the goats outside running around for over two hours today. As for the floor in their area. Once we get them out of the barn we will be leveling it and pouring concrete. That is probably the only way we will be able to make that a space usable for animals down the road again. It would also make cleaning/sanitizing between uses possible. We plan on pouring concrete on the entire floor, especially any area we plan on using for animals.

    I was hoping I could find an app for my iPad to track our breeding stock. I’m not having any luck. But I think your tag method for identification is a wize idea and really simple. I am capable of creating a spreadsheet and digital workbook to store records and observations in. The ear tags will work really well with that.

    I know our pigs are big. We were all thinking they were along the 400-500# range for the biggest ones. We obviously did something wrong. We’re headed to TSC and get a hog measuring tape. I don’t think Spot is anywhere as big as a Baymules Wilber. We really aren’t sure what breed or likely cross Spot is. We suspect there could be some Glaucastershire Old Spot, Duroc, or tamworth in him. But we couldn’t find any breed where his characteristics were all present. He has the look of an Old Spot but his ears are erect. He has the fur of a Duroc and half of his babies have been red. But the red could have come from the Hereford in the sows. He has the erect ears and hair of the Tamworth as well. I think he’s just a really big mutt pig.
    A4A93605-E87D-4372-9E93-2B9F5F8110AE.jpeg The was taken last month.

    These last two are from last spring. Do you have any clue as to what he could be? The snow is pretty deep in the first picture.
    D9EE7965-F677-4E97-A823-68166E46696C.jpeg C11749C5-6F10-4EC0-B654-ACA7CEA0C223.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  7. Mar 11, 2019
    Carla D

    Carla D True BYH Addict

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  8. Mar 12, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    We get alot of hogs with those random spots that are just crossbreds. I would say more likely a Yorkshire with some sort of spotted hog (mixed) and some possible spotted poland china. Doesn't have the head of a tamworth. I would say just a mixed breed. The dish face could be some Berkshire in it, but the black is usually more predominant. Alot of times though a york crossed with a black breed will give you some spots that are not defined. I think really though that he is a crossbred. A hampshire cross will mostly give you more belted pigs although there are some that will give you spots.

    For the goats, take a several cattle panels, bend slightly to form a circular area and wire together or use snaps on the overlapped edges since you cannot get the T-posts into the ground. That will give them some exercise room. If you only let them out for a couple of hours it will be a big help. The T-posts can be driven in the ground when it is thawed enough to make the pen more permanent. The nice thing about cattle panels is they are high enough that the goats mostly will not go over unless they are standing on something high inside, and they are MOVEABLE. I thought that I read that you were going to be moving the animals to another farm. Why put so much into this place if you are going elsewhere? Even if you put in T-posts, they can be pulled up. But the panels can be wired to them and they will be fairly "solid" for the goats. You can then make square corners if wanted.
     
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  9. Mar 12, 2019
    Carla D

    Carla D True BYH Addict

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    We do plan on moving. But we haven’t found a place we like and haven’t been preapproved yet. We are only trying to do what needs to be done. But that is my sister in laws place. We will likely be unit for a bit longer. We don’t want to move pregnant critters. But she also wants critters. It just seems like the right thing to do. We are basically giving her enough rent to cover the utilities we use. That’s why.
     
  10. Mar 15, 2019
    farmerjan

    farmerjan True BYH Addict

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    Okay, I understand doing some work if you aren't "ready" to move yet. And being family, as it seems you all get along, it is decent and fair to do some improvements. I know about rented places and doing too much will only wind up costing the renter and only benefitting the landowner. Many times it is not practical, or even smart to put too much into a place. But again, different circumstances, different reasons for doing things. And it does help to have things more workable if you are going to be there for awhile yet.
     
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