BigUn’s Bed Head

BigUn Boar

BigUn forgot to take off his nite cap when he got up this morning. It is very common and comical in the winter for the pigs to get up and walk around with a bit of hay on their backs as if they still have their bed cloths on.

BigUn Muscle Man Pose

He’s not a cute piglet like so many for the photos however BigUn is quite hansom in his piggy way. Broad shoulders, huge thick neck, biceps to die for and what a butt. He is a bit on the hairy side and has split ends. Those help him stay warm in the winter.

That six inch or so long tusk you see has grown since last summer. In addition to the portion you can see outside his mouth there is more than that length inside his jaw behind the gum line as shown back on this post. What we’re seeing there represents about nine months growth of tusk. Eventually the tusks wear through at the base from rubbing on their shorter top tusks and then the longer bottom tusks break off falling into the grass out in the field. I just noticed yesterday that Archimedes has lost his left lower tusk. I wish I had a way of harvesting the tusks, while the boars were alive, but I hesitate to get that personal on their dental work. They’re nice guys but…

Outdoors: 34째F/22째F 4″ Wet Snow most of the day
Tiny Cottage: 67째F/61째F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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11 Responses to BigUn’s Bed Head

  1. Mary Ricksen says:

    So I guess you don't brush their teeth huh?
    Seriously, do they ever get bathed?
    Just curious.

  2. Aimee says:

    I am curious at what age – more or less – you butcher. As we only raise one hog a year and that provides us with all our pork, it is rather of some interest. We are op our fourth hog – the last three were all butchered somewhere around 250 pounds and we got back approximately 125 pounds of meat. The breed we raise is 3/4 Berkshire and 1/4 I can't remember what. Our hogs are pasture raised, fed with standard hog grower plus table scraps and whatever they can fend for themselves. What I am curious about is what you think is the break-even point, financially.

  3. Love the title~! Love the pics! As a purveyor of pigs, I can relate!

  4. No, we don't brush their teeth although I've never seen cavities. Their diet seems to keep them pretty clean.

    As to baths, the pigs take them all the time. In the summer they wallow daily in the mud puddles. Given the opportunity they'll do that any season. It cleans them, protects them from the sun, keeps insects at bay and is good or their skin. They also bath in the hay and snow. Their hair sheds dirt very easily.

    Age of slaughter is typically about six months or so. It really depends on what the customer wants. For standard orders it is around 250 lbs. Some people want larger or smaller pigs. 250 lbs live weight gives about 180 lbs (72%) hanging weight skin, feet, head on (scald & scrape). That yields about 120 lbs (67%) of standard commercial cuts. However, there are a lot of other good pieces of pork on a pig in that other non-commercial portion. Ask for the head, feet, hocks, tail, liver, kidneys, tongue, jowl, back fat, leaf lard, heart, etc. It is all good food. See this post for details.

    How fast a pig will reach market weight depends on genetics and feed. Pure pasture for example is typically low in lysine, a protein, so that becomes a limiting factor which slows growth. Given sufficient time most breeds of pigs will grow to a quarter ton or more. Bigger breeds like the Yorkshire, part of the basis for our pig herds, will typically hit half a ton and even approach a ton. Our bigger sows who are four years or so old are about 800 lbs and the boars are 1,000 to 1,400 lbs – based on the string method of weight estimating. I do not actually have a scale that will weight such large animals.

  5. Gail in Montana says:

    Good Morning, Walter, love your eccentric posts, lol. But you do tell very interesting facts about your pigs. BigUn is indeed huge!! I didn't know about those tusks as we didn't keep a boar on our farm when I was little. Hope you don't get more snow! I haven't seen today's national weather forecast yet. It will be on in the next hour as it's only 6:41 a.m. here and our local news is on. Have a safe and warm day in your cozy home!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just how big is Bigun? He looks huge but there is no point of reference except the hay and snow.

  7. Bev says:

    I never realized that pigs were so hairy. Is it your breed of pig or that they are out doors all the time or are all pigs hairy like this?

  8. Well, I think he's rather handsome!

  9. Erin says:

    Hello, love your blog, it has been a tremendous help in my first year raising pigs. I was wondering if you could tell me if it is normal for pigs to get harrier in the colder months? I posted a picture of my three pigs on Facebook and a friend from my youth said my pigs were hairy because their food wasn’t good enough. This was like a kick in the stomach, taking me back to high school rivalries. I worked very hard to feed my three boys right, including every kind of fruit and vegetable, hay and reasonable amounts of bread and sugary snacks. The picture was taken when the overnight temps were dipping below 30, and my classmate only raised pigs out in the Pacific NW. Did I mess up, or is that normal?

    • Yes, they put on a thicker coat during the winter. This is perfectly normal. Our pigs get a lot hairier in the winter. This is just like most mammals in the colder weather.

      There is a mineral deficiency that can cause a wavy thick coat. See Mineral Deficiencies. The coat is quite distinctive as shown in the pictures there. Feeding the minerals clears it up.

  10. Erin says:

    Thank you for the helpful information. I feel a lot more secure knowing I did right by my three boys.

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