Fenced Farrowing Space
This Tamworth cross sow chose to farrow right next to the north field pigs’s wallow which would be a bit too much mud for little piglets. Will put a fence around her nest to both keep piglets from wandering into the wallow and keep other sows from lying down next to the farrowing sow. We had just gotten rain which had made the situation worse so Will added some wood shavings to dry up the mud in the nest.
Her farrowing fence gives her privacy but has an opening at one side so she can exit to get food and water or go graze if she likes. The small opening is easily defensible.
The sow above is a cross of the Tamworth and our LargeBlack#2 lines. A year ago last winter we got some purebred Tamworth sows and boar along with Large Black. I’ve not been terribly impressed with the Tamworth – the Large Black are better but still not up to our Blackie line. Perhaps they are showing us just how far we have advanced our own pigs’s genetics through a decade of hard selective breeding. The Tam’s mothering skills, nest building skills, rate of gain on pasture and other traits are not as good as our main herd. Perhaps with time I can select them up.
What the Tams do give us is more sows with 16 to 18 teats. In our herd 14 is the norm although we had some of the 16 teat genetics in our Blackie and Mainline herds. Generally pigs only have 10 to 12 teats – this is something I’ve been breeding upward for years. Getting higher teat counts is worth some work in the crossing. So what I am doing is maintaining both the separate Tamworth genetics and selecting those hard plus I’m crossing them over with our other genetics. In time I will hopefully boost both lines. It is a long term process.
One other oddity in this litter: reddish the piglet in the lower right was born with a large lesion. Examining it closely we discovered that it had had and healed several other lesions in utero which were now scarred over. I’ve never seen this before. The sow has had many litters without that showing up so I don’t think it is a genetic problem. None of the other piglets in this litter show any problem so I don’t think it was an exposure problem during gestation. A rather odd congenital defect. The piglet is thriving and healing – it’s a robust young animal and very vigorous eater.
Outdoors: 64°F/48°F Rain, Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/62°F
Daily Spark: Luck takes careful planning.