My interbreed champion sow has farrowed safely. Seven pigs is a tad disappointing, as she usually has more.
She was in prime farrowing condition at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, six weeks pre-farrowing, so she has been on a low ration – less than 2kg per day – since.
She is still on this ration, right through to weaning, to get her back to service condition. The piglets are growing fast, so she’s milking well.
My other aged sows all farrow 9-12 each time, so hopefully she will bounce back.
Litters line-bred to this sow are now coming through.
For a short time, I had a grandson of hers as the stock boar (he’s gone now as he didn’t grow very big; I had lots of boar problems a year or so ago).
These litters are showing great uniformity and include a trio of July-born show pigs from the mating of her daughter to her grandson, which was a different male line.
The sow herself was line-bred to the best ever boar in the Kilcot herd. It’s a fascinating topic.
I am keeping a stylish boar away from her to serve my younger gilts, as the stock boar has grown really heavy.
“The sow herself was line-bred to the best ever boar in the Kilcot herd. It’s a fascinating topic”
As I use all natural service in the field – unsupervised, but usually observed (even if it’s only the scratch marks on their sides) – he gets the same ration as the sows without doing much more than a day’s work per month. I move the sows out the day after they have been served in order to feed them separately, as required by their condition.
This is also the reason that I never mix the sows, as I can be sure of the amount they are getting if they are in separate pens.
A final note to anyone buying a trailer: sheep decks and sheep gates are not good for transporting pigs!
Due to bizarre circumstances, I was without a trailer for three months over the summer.
I borrowed a neighbour’s trailer, but it only has one full-sized gate and one below-deck sheep gate. The sheep gate is not enough to keep pigs apart, possibly due to a lack of weight on the top deck to hold it in place.
The September-born duo and the younger May-born duo had a big scrap when I stopped for fuel on the way to the last show. It rocked the trailer and I think the May boar won the fight.
The farmer’s essential tool – baler twine – came in very useful on the way home, and while they unhinged the gate, they didn’t get through to each other.