Charley Piglets

Charley with 13 Piglets

Piglets have begun popping out. We had arranged with the sows and boars to give us a break in the fall as we pushed hard to finish construction on the structural shell of the butcher shop building. Now that the building is closed in and we have bedded down the farm for the winter it is time for what will become the spring pigs to start being born and they are arriving right on schedule.

These pigs represent some of the first real test of our new Berkshire boar crossing with our Tamworth lines, Large Black lines and our main herd genetics. Our goal with the Berkshire addition is to improve the marbling, the inter-muscular fat that adds flavor and tenderness to the meat. We already have some Berkshire in our lines but I identified a few years ago that I would like to expand that. Over the coming six months we will get a chance to see how he performs. It takes a lot of time to bring in new genetics, test them and find out what we really have on our hands.

Charlie, pictured above, is one of our mainline sows with the dominant Yorkshire genetics. She was mated with Spitz, the new Berkshire boar, back in the fall. The resulting piglets look like her. It will be ver interesting to see how they grow out.

Roughly 50 sows will follow Charley over the next two months. Most of these piglets will be raised here on our farm but we also sell some as feeder weaner piglets to other people who want to raise a pig. Spring time is the time to buy piglets to raise over the easy warm months of summer and fall. The catch is the demand is very high in the spring. If you are interested in piglets then see the Piglet Page and get a deposit in as soon as possible. Even if you’re to far away to buy from us, now is the time to think about finding a breeder and putting a deposit down on piglets. Each spring I get calls from people who have waited until the last minute and then can’t get piglets until mid-summer. Plan ahead and reserve now.

Outdoors: 31°F/14°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/65°F

Daily Spark: Democracy is the worst approach to decision-making, except for all the rest. ~Winston Churchill

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Charley Piglets

  1. Bonnita Hill says:

    Desperate for info re ‘homing instinct’ in pigs. Because my husband banished my pet pig (18mnths) from our farm, she was returned to the breeder for safekeeping until he wished to ‘retire’ her . We agreed that she would return to our farm (and perhaps a husband more amenable to the idea then). After a year the breeder decided she was too naughty and her destiny became the abattoir. I was torn apart and brought her back to our farm on Friday evening prior to taking her to a piggy sanctuary on Sunday (3 hrs away). But she took to the road (through neighbouring farm which has a cattle gate at its end), 3 times on Sat. I lured her back with food. But have not seen her since her interim feed at 4pm. Have personally been scouring the farm, 73 hectares (around 180 acres) with 5 ravines and a river far down at the bottom, whole of yday. No sign of her. She was still suckling her piglets & my feeling is that she still needs those babies as her teats are very swollen. Please help with advice. Am beside myself!!!! thank you so much. Bonnita Hill, Khoeklip Farm, Riversdale, South africa.

    • I would not be surprised if they have some homing instinct. Many animals do. Our pigs walk to grazing up to two miles away and return in the evening. As a general rule I would suggest teaching animals to come to a call and reward them with food. Do this daily to create a strong impression. Then you can use this to call the animals in, lead them to new pastures, etc.

      That said, if she is nesting with piglets she may just hunker down and ignore you. She has other things on her mind that are more important to her. Typically this goes on for about four days and then the sows leave the piglets in the nest and come in to the farm center to get food and water, go graze, etc. After a week to ten days they generally join the herd with the piglets or join other cohorts of sows with piglets in tow.

  2. Bonnita Hill says:

    Pse see earlier comment this morning about a query regarding the ‘homing instinct’ in pigs. Neglected to tick your ‘Notify …’ box. Thank you Bonnita Hill, Khoeklip Farm, Riversdale, South Africa.

  3. Eric Hagen says:

    How have the Berkshire genetics proven out? Is the marbling up in all of the progeny and were there any unexpected traits that came with the new genetics?

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