The Picture of Health

This farm was never set up for raising hogs. So we’ve created a makeshift home for them in 2 large horse stalls in the cattle shed, plus this outdoor area. It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s muddy. And these are incredibly healthy hogs. A hog bred for leanness and for being raised in confinement would take one look at these accomodations, catch pneumonia, flop over and die on the spot.

I like raising hogs and would like to raise more. I’ve looked at the different niche markets, contemplating expanding our 1-sow, 1-boar herd. Most of these niche markets prefer, or even require, partial or full Berkshire breeding. But on the drive home from the PFI Conference I came to the conclusion that we’re really doing something right here. These Large Black crosses have been amazing for us. So we’re not going to change. We’re going to play to our strengths and market what we have.

So we’ll stick with the Large Black boar. I’ve been doing a bit of research on other breeds that might cross well with the Large Black. We would like a bit larger frame on the cross. So I’m thinking Chester Whites. A large breed with good mothering ability, suitable to raising outdoors, good litter size. Perhaps a CW cross, though I’m not sure what cross. Duroc, maybe?

I’m a complete pig breeding novice. Any pig experts out there want to give me an opinion? Or know where I can buy bred gilts?

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5 Responses to The Picture of Health

  1. Rurality says:

    Well I have no idea, but just wanted to say what a great picture that was! :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    They sure do look healthy! I just can’t wait to have some of that bacon! I will have to get some eggs from you too when I pick up that porker! I can just about imagine (taste) the sausage I will be able to make too!!!-Larry Miller

  3. Glad to hear they’re doing so well. Keep selecting for sustainability!

  4. Farmer says:

    Yorkshire can be a way.I am a farmer from Denmark, where we also have quite hard climate conditions for outdoor raising of pigs.The yorkshire sows are in general good mothers and piglets are fast growing. They are good meetproducers. Duroc can be very agressive, but give a good welltasting meet.Duroc/yorkshire crosses can be good mothers as well, if you want dark-skinned pigs. White pigs are more sensicive to sunny conditions. White skinned pigs must always have the possibility to go to a muddy waterhole during full summer to keep the skin from direct sunlight.In Denmark we generaly use Youkshire/Large-danish-white crosses as sows, and then Duroc as boars. But this is for bacon and ham production, and I don’t think you can find the danish genetic in US.Danish sows are maybe the best mothers at all, but they are a little to slowly growing. That is way we croos with yorkshire.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just borrow a boer from a neighbor, preferably one that was gentally raised as they can be scarey. We had a pet sow for years and would breed her once a year to raise a pig for the freezer. Just don’t name them…. or they never make it in the freezer. Also we found taking a like pig to the butcher and getting back nicely rapped packages… home butchering is NOT fun.