Foam Faced


Black Boar Walking

This is our youngest breeding boar, Guy Noire. He is one of the triangle nosed pigs. He is a cross of Blackie, one of our top sows, and Spot, who used to be our top boar.

In the photo above he is foaming at the mouth because he is courting a nubile young lady, a gilt pig who is in heat. This photo was taken this spring when the leaves were just starting to come out on the trees in May. The piglets from that union should be born soon. In our climate, now is the easy farrowing season, the warm months of summer.

Outdoors: 70°F/49°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/66°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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14 Responses to Foam Faced

  1. Foam faced. I love it. Going to sell it to college students as new party lingo. Will split profits with you

    • Great idea. T-shirt with his face on it. That would sell. You put in the effort (CafePress?) of clipping him out of the original image and putting it on the shirt with the text. Let me know and I’ll put the original high rez photo where you can get it. Could be fun. :)

  2. Anon says:

    Wow. How long of backs can you breed for until they start having problems?

    • Holly calls them Choo-Train pigs. They just go on, and on, and on. One of the butchers once commented a pig was unloading that the pig “went on forever”. It is something we’re breeding for. The negative is if they get too long then they do not winter as well. We need winter-ability too. The loin is the most valuable cut. Not I’m working on figuring out how to get eight legs so they’ll support that long loin and gives us more hams and Boston butt. Maybe if we cross them with spiders… :)

  3. Hil says:

    My WORD Walter I have never seen a pig so long. He is like a dockshound but huge as I can tell from the trees. He must produce fantastic bacon and chops. Your breeding program is quite the success. I know someone who got one of your boars and two sows from you and she is really happy with them. Your making a reputation for yourself among those of us looking for good pig genetics and a good reputation. I am trying to convince my husband to get one of your bred gilts for next year to add to our tiny herd. If we did would we be able to keep back one of the boars? We have another sow we could keep a boar from but I would rather have your pigs genetics going into her.

    • What I would do is select the very best boar from the litters of your existing sows and also the very best boar from the incoming sow. Cross them to the opposite females. Rebreed them a few times watching the outcome for the very best gilts and sows. From this foundation I would then select the very best for breeding and eat the rest. If you keep doing that with each generation you will improve your herd genetics over time. It takes patience but is well worth it. Hard selection is the key. Make a list of the criteria that are important to you and evaluate each pig against that.

  4. David Ellis says:

    Walter Iwould love to hear about the criteria you use to pick your animals I know part of it is temperamant as you have mentioned that. This could be a whole book.Breeding for pasture.

  5. Lisa Parker says:

    Walter, we have been raising pigs this last year in Oregon and currently have 3 sows and 1 gilt, all three sows have delivered nice babies and my son had a breeding gilt for 4H this year. I am wondering if you can tell me your thoughts on when they are ready to breed. Older then 1year? Over 300lb? Any info on helping to determine the right time would be great thanks!

  6. Brian says:

    Hi Walter,

    I am trying to put together a pastured pork business on our farm in South Africa. I have been reading your blog which has been such a valuable source of information, there are not too many folks around here I can learn from so your blog is a lifesaver. Most people I have spoken to around here tell me its impossible. Our climate is a lot more forgiving in terms of winter, we seldom get any frost.

    I have been trying to figure out what would be the minimum amount of paddocks/herds/separating/groups I could get away with to start off on a small scale. I am in the process of fencing a perimeter with 5 strands of high tensile electrified wire, giving me 3 ha (7 acres) to play with . So wandering how many permanent divisions (to be sub-divided on rotation) do you think are necessary for effective management considering our mild winters. I’m trying to get away with as few rotations as possible (savory style) to maximize use of space.

    I think I will probably start off with 3 or 4 duroc sows and a boar and build up from there.

    Do you separate your grower guilts from grower boars at a certain age to prevent pregnancy or for other reasons?

    Please keep up all the great work you doing.

    Many thanks,

    Brian.

    • You’re doing the right things. Secure an outside perimeter that is solid and animal tight. I would then suggest sub-dividing it into a nine-square or tic-tac-toe type grid where you can move the animals between paddocks and house them in the center. Imagine it in a circule and then I like to call that a wheel of life. This central area can be further sub-divided to shift where they fertilize heavily. Then just move them each year to a different part of the center, using the rest for plantings. Each week or so rotate them around the outer portion. This makes it easy to house and feed them while still being able to do managed rotational grazing. Plant fast growing crops behind them. If you get the grazing pattern down right they graze more than root. This also leaves parasites behind to die.

      Three or four sows and a boar would be the minimum I would suggest. More sows would make better use of the boar – he costs feed and space. Fortunately, the more you pasture the less he cost. I like having two boars or more in a field – One is the main boar and one is the upcoming replacement boar.

      We don’t separate our boars and gilts because the gilts don’t get pregnant that early. Once in a rare time we’ll get a Lolita that will take early but normally gilts don’t take until they’re eight months old and then farrow at a year. Since we slaughter at six months they don’t get that big unless I’m keeping them back because I want them to breed. Boars will start sex play at four months but aren’t really producers until after slaughter age. We slaughter boars for roasters younger and then finishers around six months. If I had groups large enough that I wanted to sub-divide then I probably would do it along sex lines as they get to finisher hog size.

  7. Gil Romero says:

    Hola Walter,
    What would you consider the minum ideal height of that “solid perimeter fence”?

    We are building our´s from on-site limestone which exists here in abundance so building materials for our 16 in thick, hand stacked rock walls is basically free. These walls usually come at 1.2-1.4 meters in heighth (4 feet) but we are cutting that in half to double the lineal meters we are building for the same price. As such our walls will be 2 feet in heighth which is plenty for our indigenous criollo mini-pigs but I am not so sure now about the full-sized Americano pigs which we will have until they reach 225-250lbs. My thought, since we live surrounded by forest far out into the wilds, has been to add at least one electrified wire and an additional 1 or two strands of barbed wire on top of that with five inch spacing. 24 + 1o-12 in would give us 3 feety of heighth mas o menos. An thoughts?

    Finally, you seemed unruffled by the last gentleman´s plans to enclose his paddocs with electric wire which I also thing should be fine. It is just that I have had a couple of electric fence people here tell me that “it won´t work with pigs”……. They say that ” the first time the pig gets shocked that it will freak out, run to the opposite side of the paddock, to get as far away as possible from the stimulous, only to get shocked again and then take off running again trying to escape, back and forth, until they get so stressed that they cardiac arrest and drop over dead”. And these were people you would have thought would want to sell me my electric fence system. Stranger than fiction?

    So are we good with electric fence systems and our pigs Walter or are there some issues we should in fact be watching out for? FYI, the distance between our fence cross sections will generally be from 50 – 100 meters so this isn´t exactly match-box sized.
    Thanks as always!

    • Electric fences work very well for pigs. We have miles of electric fencing. With all livestock you must train the animals to the electric. See Napoleon’s Finishers. Too small a space, such as a pen 8’x8′ will result in the ping-pong effect you describe – avoid that. I have never seen them ping-pong on paddocks – just doesn’t happen. I would not go narrower than 8′ on lanes of electric – so 8′ (~3 meters) between wires. We make our lanes 24′ wide (~8m) so that we can also drive trucks, tractors and skid logs on them. These can be subdivided in half to switch animal traffic back and forth. See A Beautiful Warm Spring. The paddocks we have for terracing tend to be 24′ to 100′ wide and 300′ to 1,000′ long. We find that pigs are willing to walk up to about two and a half miles between breakfast and lunch time so long paddocks work nicely radiating out from a central area or lanes.

      If you have sheep too then 4′ is good. For goats, higher. If pigs without sheep or goats then about 32″ suffices easily. Less could work if there is a nice solid wall outside of a single hot strand of electric, perhaps one high and one low. We have many stone walls that are only 1′ to 2′ tall which have just a single hot wire along them and the pigs obey those boundaries, sheep less so but pretty well. Without the electric the pigs will move stone walls. I do not worry about fencing in little animals like piglets and chickens. They stay central and close to the herds. If I lived in a place with more traffic or closer neighbors this would be an issue, perhaps. I do fence piglets and chickens out of gardens as needed and the fence along the road side is more significant than other fences.

      Do not use barbed wire. Very bad for pigs, horses and people. Never, ever, ever electrify barbed wire and don’t electrify near barbed wire.

      See Fencing in the tag cloud in the right column for more articles on this topic.

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