Four Generations of Blackie

Three Generations

From one of our top sows we had three generations farrowing all at once recently. Blackie, her daughter Oreo with the white nose and granddaughter Double-Stuff with the black nose produced a fourth generation all within a three day span. All of them are excellent mothers and did a great job even though it was December, entering into our hardest season.

Big Bagged Blackie

Blackie just like her offspring, bags up immensely. This is an important trait in a sow as it allows her to produce a large amount of milk for hungry growing piglets. All three of these ladies would give a holstein cow a run for it’s money.

Blackie Gathering Hay for Nest

The day before Blackie farrowed, the first of the three to go, she began gathering and cutting hay, packing it into a dish shaped nest about seven feet across.

First Sow Hut Moved over Blackie

Once Blackie had built her nest we moved one of the sow huts over it to give her shelter.

Piglets in Sow Hut

The portability of these water tanks that we’ve sliced in half to make housing makes them easy to place over a sow that decides she wants to nest not here but there. This was important as this trio farrowed during one of the early snow storms of the year.

Blackie inside Sow Hut with Piglets

A sheltering hut in the storm.

Oreo & Double-Stuff with Piglets on Snow

Piglet at entrance to Sow Hut

Sunny days make winter quite pleasant.

Double-Stuff with Piglets

Double-Stuff is a very pretty sow and she’s thrown some beautiful piglets. More than the usual 5% of her litters are being kept back for future breeding stock. She’s above the curve.

Double-Stuff & Oreo Resting in Sun

See those trees in the background. They’re growing straight up. I have this funny thing about the camera that I often tilt to match the hill I’m standing on. Hill-billy level, that I am.

Three Generations of Mothers with Piglets

We’ve been selectively breeding for well over a dozen generations, gradually improving our herd, selecting for mothering, hardiness, conformation, growth rate, meat quality and other characteristics. The hard work of breeding is paying off. Out in the field we have a lot of very good looking sows, boars and feeders. The cream of the crop. With each generation they get better and better.

Outdoors: 72°F/43°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 75°F/65°F

Daily Spark: I fixed the Internet. Now it won’t breed.

This post originally appeared and then was lost in my old web server crash. I’m reposting it now to bring this new server up-to-date. Some comments may have been lost when the hard drive crashed and burned.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to Four Generations of Blackie

  1. Jeremy Tolk says:

    Wowza! Blackie is huge. I mean buxom! I take that is all natural too! :->

    I see two sow houses behind Blackie and perhaps another in the distance up the hill. I had only seen two in your previous posts. Are you making more? I know you talked about it.

    • We’re continuing to experiment with design features, getting feedback from the pigs and then later this year or perhaps next year we anticipate producing sow huts that we’ll be able to use out on pasture year round. They have performed very well through this winter – the first cold season for this design.

  2. Brian says:

    When you discuss your annual hay consumption by the hogs, how much do you figure is used strewn around for nests? Do the hogs eventually eat some of it?

  3. Julie Clifford says:

    What qualitys are you looking for when you keep stock for breeding?

    • I have about two dozen characteristics that I look for in breeders. I have a detailed post about this in the works but still needs polishing. Temperament, growth rate, pasture-ability, winter-ability, conformation, mothering, teat count, litter count, marbling and much more.

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