Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Boar Decision

I would think the biggest thing that keeps coming back into play with owning pigs is the decision to own our own boar or to send our girls out for.....'service'. I can't begin to explain how much of a pain it is to get the pigs loaded and brought to another farm, since its very rare for somebody to loan their boar out to your farm. Getting somebody that is willing to have other pigs brought onto their land is rare too, and completely understandable as it can lead to increased risk of disease and also could cause damage to their boar.
Bringing your sows to somebody elses farm is a very nerve raking thing. First off you have the stress of trailering on both yourself and your animals, increased risk of disease, possible damage if their boar is aggressive. Then you add in other equations like, change in food (unless you provide a diet and assuming they follow it), change in environment, handling differences (are your sows being treated properly or how you would want them to be treated?).
So the question remains, does the cost and risk of owning a boar out weigh the stress and problems that go along with breeding your sows off site?

I am beginning to think that having a boar would be best. The last time I brought mumma pig back home there was a noticeable difference in our relationship and interactions. I had lost some of the trust that I had built over the winter. Also, I am unsure if she is even pregnant. I would assume that the stress of travel would also compromise the chance for her to get pregnant. Therefore I have now put us both through the stress of taking her off site and got nothing from it (we'll see).

Currently I have two strands of electric fencing that contain everybody and so far I have not had any problems (since the entire property has been electric fenced). One of my biggest concerns is separating the boar at any point in time and having these two strands be enough to contain him. I do know of some farms that have the boar with the girls at all times (even when the sows are farrowing) and have no issues. I would love to do things this way but I do see a lot of evidence on the internet suggesting it is a very bad idea to leave the boar with the sows while they are farrowing.

Another small part of the mix is whether or not to get a boar that is of age to breed, or if I should get a 8 week old weaner and really put the time into training him how I would want. I would think training him myself would be the best move but then you can never really be sure how he will serve as a boar at such a young age.

In the mean time I will keep up my due diligence of surfing kijiji and various sites until something clicks! Here's a little peak at how big one of these boys can get!

This is a lady and her boar from a farm called VoterVale Farm