CurlyT Near Term
Tuesday we sorted sows so that they are in cohorts based on how close they are to farrowing. This morning we were greeted with new piglets. There is a large wave of farrowings just cresting.
This CurlyT who is in her last couple of weeks of pregnancy. I often get asked what sows look like when they’re ready to pig. She’s in one of the winter paddocks off of the South Field Shed bay five which is an open shelter.
The thing to notice in this photo is her teats are coned and that her back is flattening out. When she’s a few days away from farrowing she’ll start lactating – I’ll be able to get milk by pulling on a teat. Some super milkers like Petra, Anna and Blackie will actually drip milk in their last day. Soon she’ll start building a nest. Typically at the end of gestation they’ll stop eating as their body readies to give birth.
Soon to start a pastured pig farm. Any ideas on where or how to buy pregnant sows. I will be in MS. Been researching and you have the best site out there by far. I hope to learn a lot from your years of hard work.
If you were closer then you could get guaranteed bred gilts from us but Mississippi is a bit of a haul. You might want to try posting a message on this discussion group which I manage:
There may be some people close to you who could help you out with starting up with some pregnant gilts or sows. It also might be that someone reading my blog here is near to you and can help so watch this post for comments from people who have breeders available.
But lets backup a step… Perhaps you have already got this covered but if you have not had pigs before or not on pasture then I would suggest the first year that you raise up a group of four or so summer pigs. Get them as feeder weaners, raise them up over the easy warm months and sell the meat in the fall. This will let you get your feet wet.
Next raise a group of pigs over the winter. Keeping pigs in winter is a whole lot harder, perhaps five times harder, than the warm seasons. In your warmer climate this won’t be as bad but it will still be different than summer and worth gaining the full four seasons of experience.
Once you’ve got some infrastructure in place and some experience under your belt get a single bred sow or bred gilt in her last month of pregnancy in the spring (after the snows are gone if you’re in the north country.) This way she’ll be farrowing in the start of the easy season. Learning to farrow a pig is a whole new set of complications to master.
Your first sow will then be ready to re-breed in June for another batch of early fall piglets which is still a good time to farrow. Those piglets you can raise up over the winter and you’ll already have experience with that from the previous year.
If you have not already read it then check out the post about Keeping a Pig for Meat.
Take it slow and grow into it.
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Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F
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