Field and Woods Piglets


Blackie, our one unrelated gilt, farrowed this past week with the others. It is interesting to note the colors that came out of her mating with Archimedes. Imagine having an 800 lb boyfriend when you only weigh about 250 lbs… Of Blackie’s nine offspring there is two black piglets, one white piglet, one brown butt piglet and the others are blue butts.

Colored pigs don’t necessarily give colored piglets. Abigail, not shown, who is a spotted red gilt of Little Pig and Archimedes bred with Long Nose to yield all white piglets. Gradually I’m collecting data of who produces what. This gives some interesting insights into the genetics of color, growth rates, ears, faces, body length, breeds, etc. At some point I’ll chart it all out.


Flop with her piglets up in her nest in the woods near the kid’s fort. She and Out both chose woods nests. All the others went for closer nests in the brush along the far end of the south field.

Blue Lady and Up also farrowed this weekend although I’ve not yet seen Up’s piglets, just herself when she came for food in the morning. That should bring the piglet count in the field up somewhere in the 40’s.

Happy Summer Solstice!

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Wednesday Outdoors: 79°F/49°F Sun, Clouds, Rain 3″, Rolling Thunder Storm
Farm House: 72°F/68°F South field paddock fencing
Tiny Cottage: 73°F/69°F

Thursday Outdoors: 73°F/53°F Partially Sunny
Farm House: 76°F/68°F North home field chicken fencing, adjustments
Tiny Cottage: 75°F/69°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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8 Responses to Field and Woods Piglets

  1. Patti says:

    Congrats on the new babies! They all look so cozy and happy!I have 42 Muscovy ducklings..want some?

  2. Walter,

    How many sows do you have on how much acreage? What type of fencing do you use?

    Your mammas and babies are lovely.

    Judy at Tabletop Homestead

  3. Judy, we have 44 sows at this time although that number changes. With boars, finishers, growers, roasters, weaners and piglets the total is about 30,000 lbs of pigs. We also have sheep and poultry.

    We’re gradually increasing our herd to find what we’re comfortable with. They are on 10 acres of fields. We have another 15 acres available around the house and then 10 to 15 acres more available in woods that we will eventually convert to fields. The rest of our forests is for timber, the sugar bush, etc.

    For fencing we use electrified high tensile smooth wire around the outside perimeter. Electrified high tensile plus woven around gardens. Electrified polywire on step in posts for paddock divisions in the fields (we intensively rotational graze) and then electrified poultry netting in various other places.

    Because we have sheep I build the fences taller than I would for just pigs – four wires 40″ high or so instead of two wires 24″ high or so that pigs need. Another related issue is that we normally get very deep snows and even four foot fence posts vanish in the winter.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

  4. Anonymous says:

    I luv the pics of piglets. Please keep osting them! More more were still not satisfied!

  5. Eddie says:

    Hi Walter,

    My name is Eddie. I am from Ontario, Canada. Farming was always a passion to me since I was a teen. I hope that one day, I can raise some farm animals like you do.

    I have come across your website accidentally by searching Google “pastured pigs� a month ago. Since then, I have read all your blogs. I especially enjoyed the stories of Pigs and Livestock Guard Dogs.

    Congratulations on the new litter of piglets. On your previous blog, you said you will always let you boars run with your sows in order to reduce management work. So how can you be sure which is the sire of your sows? How can you avoid inbreeding of the pigs?
    Keep up the good work and pictures on your pigs and LGD stories.

    Happy farming to you and your family,
    Eddie

  6. Anonymous says:

    Out of curiosity, what do you feed them? Do you use hormones or anything or is it all natural?

    Kara from Kentucky

  7. Eddie,

    There are four boars with the herd of 44 sows so I know it is one of several. Each has phenotype characteristics that are someone different although Archimedes (oldest) and Big’un (his son via Australia) look almost identical. Using that I can tell in many cases who is the father.

    At this point we actually have two separate herds and can cross back and forth between them for the breeding.

    However, inbreeding isn’t really an issue. 99% of the time a piglet is going to market and will not become a breeder themselves – They are terminal pigs.

    At first I wondered (worried?) about inbreeding. But I did a lot of reading and figured out the math behind it. Inbreeding is not the problem that people think it is.

    Inbreeding is a problem in humans for social reasons and because we’re not willing to cull the bad results.

    Inbreeding is a problem in dogs because people have purposefully done a bad job of it to maximize the number of puppies sold or to accent one trait without balancing the whole.

    In pigs it can be very useful. Pigs breed fast, grow fast, most are terminal and culling any problems would not be an issue. Theoretically, according to studies, there is a reduction fertility with inbreeding however we have not seen that. Through selective breeding we can pick the traits we want and quickly move the pigs toward those goals due to their rapid reproduction.

    Sometime I’ll write about the math and breeding goals.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

  8. Kara, we do not use or feed hormones, anti-biotics, use herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers or such on our farm. Our farm is Certified Naturally Grown. They’re all natural pigs.

    On the other hand, I would not withhold medical treatment from a sick animal. The only time we use anti-biotics is for treating infections under the supervision of a vet. There have been two incidences, both with the same sow – Mouse. She recovered nicely from both infections but she won’t be going to market.

    We feed our pigs pasture during the warm months and hay in the winter as well as organic goats and cows milk whey from a local cheese producer, cheese trim from another cheese dairy, milk, spent barley from a local micro-brewery, veggies we grow in the fall and winter and the occasional treat of bread. We don’t feed commercial feed to our pigs.

    Cheers,

    -WalterJ

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