Monday, 9 September 2013

Our New Addition - Large Black Boar

This weekend I did what you would call, killing two birds with one stone. Going to visit my girlfriends in Ottawa and picking up a Registered Large Black boar (weird combo)!

Steve and I have been debating the idea of getting a boar for awhile now and we made the decision to do so. Our decision was based on a number of different reasons. First off, the trouble we would have to go through each time we wanted a girl bred is too much. Our options are:

1. Renting a Boar
- Could be one of the better options since you get to see what goes on. Ensure that your sow is being treated properly and watch that she actually gets bred. The downfall to this is that boar are big big animals and you are now going to be dealing with one that you haven't had the luxury of growing up and getting to know. He could easily demolish your fencing, barn...etc. Nevermind he could be aggressive towards your sow. Now, you would hope you could eliminate some of this risk by doing good research into where you are getting a boar from but you really never know. You are also risking the carrying of disease into your farm.

2. Sending your sow out for service
- This is what we did last time. Not necessarily by choice, the farmer we got our pigs from screwed up and owed us a breeding. After doing this I would never do it again. I know that my sow wasn't being treated the same as she would have been at my farm and it really turned our relationship upside down for awhile. She didn't trust me as much at all, it took me probably a good month for her to be back to normal. You never know how your animal is going to be treated off property and if you don't send your own food then you also have their change in diet affecting them. All of this stress can actually make it harder for your sow to get pregnant. As well as bringing a boar to your farm you are risking disease by sending your sow out for breeding.

3. Doing AI (artificial insemination)
- Now I don't necessarily think this is a bad idea, nor do I write it off in the future. It gives you much more variation and choice on bloodlines which can be a problem in heritage pigs. I'm just not confident enough as a new pig farmer to try this out yet. You have to know when your sow is in heat for this to work and I have yet to figure that out.

         I picked him up on Sunday from a lady that lives in Perth and has a farm with Large Blacks, Dexters and meat goats. All of which seemed very well tempered animals. Seeing the whole of someones farm when you are purchasing an animal is always great as it gives you a good overview of the animal you are purchasing. Getting him on the trailer wasn't easy but since he is only 9 months old and around 180-200lbs, it was manageable. Getting him off the trailer wasn't as easy as opening the door either, he was so scared and unsure of his new home. I had to let a few of my pigs out and feed them in the paddock to encourage him to come out. Then I put him into his own stall to settle in for the night and today. When I got home today I let him out of the stall and out with my two castrated males and he's spent the better half of the last 4 hours trying to mount them both (eager beaver????). At least he knows the basics. I definitely know now that I have to keep Little Girl (my large black sow) away from him for a bit. Do the math.....nobody wants piglets born on New Years Day. That would be a badly planned pregnancy!

Introduction to some of the herd

We have named him RJ - anybody get it???