Rooster Pig Rabbits

Chickens on Sow

Apparently pigs make good roosts. This is reminiscent of the egg laying pigs I posted about a while back.

There are eight piglets in that litter. There were nine but one died at birth. Seven are white, one is brown with black spots and one was black.

Pigs follow the rabbit theory of reproduction: produce a lot of offspring in the hopes a few will survive. Given the numbers that they produce per year it means they only need to have about one in 125 survive to perpetuate their species. In other words, pigs breed like rabbits.

In the wild most pigs get eaten before they mature enough to breed. In the north country winter is very hard on them in the wild.

Winter’s hard on the farm too but we get a far higher survival rate which makes pigs, with their ability to eat almost anything, an excellent livestock to raise for meat. Pigs plus chickens forage well together out in our pastures making the bacon and eggs we all love so dearly.

Outdoors: 28°F/10°F Partially Sunny, Light Snow, Very Windy
Tiny Cottage: 63°F/59°F

Daily Spark: Either you love bacon, or you’re wrong. -Anon

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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9 Responses to Rooster Pig Rabbits

  1. Nance says:

    two of my uncles raised pigs back in the 1960s. I’m trying to remember (accurately). I am thinking they would have 13 – 20 piglets per litter in Iowa barns. What’s a good average?

    • That would be a high litter count. In the industry 8 to 12 is considered very good. I have seen some sows in the high teens and even 23 piglets. Most sows only have 12 teats, most of ours have 14 teats and a few of ours have 16 and 18 teats. To do such large litters would require very high milk production levels like the ever so well endowed Petra, Anna, Jill, Blackie, Octavia and such so as to produce enough milk for the rapidly growing piglets. Most gilts start out around six to ten piglets and then increase one piglet per parity (farrowing) as they age before precipitately dropping off near the end of their reproductive lifespan which is generally four to six years.

  2. Lynn Glazer says:

    hi Walter!, i’ve done it… i read your whole blog from first post to this one! I love the picture for this post it’s real cute!! your blog is a wealth of information which you give generously and freely… i love how you involve your kids in all aspects and give them chores! I admire your devotion and passion… it’s really inspiring! I also love that your wife is also a very important part of your business! I know a lot of farming things are trial and error but i would just like to have your input on something… here goes… i could not find pastured piglets anywhere near my town… do you think it’s safe to try and pasture piglets which come from confined parents… and do you have any tricks that might facilitate the transition… and how if it were you would you procede? I do remember reading something that mentioned non pastured piglets somewhere on your blog but i wanted direct and precise thoughts on the matter! thank you very much Walter for this wonderful blog!

    • Color me amazed! That’s 1,643 blog posts plus 41 pages (accessed through the menu bar below the cover photo at the top). I hope you enjoyed it all, found some amusing and some useful. I have enjoyed writing the articles. It is a way for me to relax in the late evening.

      As to the confinement pigs, my suggestion would be to try it. I have read that confinement pigs have evolved a shorter digestive tract than pastured pigs and probably through our many generations of our herds we have thus selected for longer digestive tracts and other good pasturing traits. The Confinement Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) pigs used to have pasturing ability but it was bred out of them. With generations of work you may be able to breed them back up. In the warm summer months on pasture with supplemental grain they should do well even if they don’t have great pasturing ability.

      So, if you can’t find good pasture genetics then I would suggest going ahead and working with what you have. Just keep in mind they’ll probably need more supplementing and haven’t had a chance to learn at their mother’s trotters to eat pasture so that will be a new experience for them. Feed the candy, the commercial hog feed and grain, in the second half of the day and that should encourage them to explore grazing.

      • Lynn Glazer says:

        Hi Walter, yes i did enjoy all my reading, some of the posts more than others… and some made me laugh out loud and some go awwwww…. etc… i ‘m sure i’ll come back often as it is easy to find posts with your search bar also… so what you are saying is i will probably need suplemental feed as well as pasture! so i’ll prepare for that… i found a couple of establisments who are willing to donate past due milk and cheese products as well as vegetables and fruit left overs and breads also… all pre consumer though as you had cited in a post that post consumer food can be dangerous… glass shards or bacteria etc… so i’ll do as you say and try it and see how that goes!! I had tried confined pigs before and did not like the experience at all… we have free range chickens and i always wondered if it could be possible to do it for the pigs as no one around here does it! and then i found your blog!! I was delighted to see i was not nuts and it was very possible!! i just wanted to be well prepared and as informed as i could be before making the plunge once again!! Now this time i’ll start slowly and try 3 piglets that will all be ready come fall… it’ll give me i think a good idea if it’ll work and how i’ll like it!! and I’ll also be testing my daughter’s ability to tame the piglets as your daughter does on your farm!! she loves the outdoors and the animals we allready have so it should be very fun to see her interact with the piglets!!

        Thanks again Walter for this blog as all this experience is not something you find in books…
        I especially enjoy the mystery photo posts!!

  3. Melissa says:

    Love love love bacon and eggs!!

  4. S. Todd Stewart says:

    Hi Walter,

    I have been enjoying your blog for about a year now as we have started our adventure of raising our own pastured pork in our woods. After reading your blog, we have decided to put our egg laying chickens in our pasture pen with our new pigs for waste dispersal and parasite control. We are inexperienced with chickens and electric fencing and we were wondering what happens if they come in contact with it. Their coop is in a corner of our pen so that we can collect eggs without having to go into the pen. We have also run electric fencing around the coop to keep the pigs from messing with it (and for giving the hens some “personal space”). Do you think this setup is safe for our hens? If not, any suggestions you might have would be very welcome. Thank you and keep up the great work!

    • Sounds like a good setup. In a pen situation the chickens just need a good way to get away from the pigs because pigs in a pen are more likely to chase chickens and consider them dinner. Putting a hot wire around the inside of the pig pen about walking nose height and out from the wall gives the chickens a save run. This will also train the pigs to electric incase you ever want to pasture them. Corners are particularly important as that is where a pig is most likely to catch a chicken so run the hot wire diagonally across the corner creating a reserve space the hens can go into without a pig being able to reach in and get them.

      Our chickens, ducks, geese and pigs freely mix out in the pastures. In the fields they have plenty of room so crowding doesn’t create the conditions where pigs turn to hunting poultry out of boredom and can’t easily corner the birds.

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