NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Rare breed growth rates  (Read 127 times)

david c

  • Joined Jun 2013
Rare breed growth rates
« on: February 12, 2018, 07:50:18 pm »
After some info / other's experiences please!

I know there is the growth rate chart for fast growing hybrid pigs on the internet, but am unable to find any approximate guide for rare breed pigs or cross rare breed pigs.

I've taken a few in from 25kg dead weight up to 54kg dead weight, but they are taking an age to get to any sort of weight. I had 9-10mm back fat on my previous batches which I thought pretty reasonable and presumed I was feeding them sufficiently. Jan batch were 2 at 39.6 kg dw nearly 10 months old and 2 at about 35kg dw nearly 9 month old. 3 weeks later I'd upped their feed as an experiment as I began to wonder if they were only getting sufficient food with the cold and wet (outdoor pigs) and the  next batch were 1 at 54kg (same litter as 39.6kg - always slightly bigger than her sisters)  and 2 about 44kg dw (same litter as previous 35kg ones). Back fats around 18mm.

My question is can you provide information on what average dead weights you are getting at say 16 weeks, 20 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks 32 weeks, 36 weeks etc for rare breed crosses?

Anyone know what live weight they are getting at 8wk weaning age?

The majority of mine are Saddleback/ Middlewhites crossed Mangalitsa or Saddleback /middle whites cross Saddleback/ welsh. Surprisingly there does not seem to be much difference in weights when comparing the half Mangalitsa ones.

Any dead weights/ ages of rarebreeds / crosses gratefully accepted!




  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 07:18:31 am »
I’ve only got a tiny amount of experience, but your weights sound low for Saddleback crosses.

My rule of thumb was one pound of food per day per month of age, up to four pounds, then stick at four pounds. Sow rolls from four months on, grower pellets until three months ish, introducing sow rolls gradually.  As much fresh veg and fruit as I could get for them.

Backfats higher than yours but not excessive. Butcher impressed with 5 month old Saddleback x OSB deadweight 54 kgs backfat 12mm, said he’d buy them off me if I could keep the back fat at that level but get them a bit bigger. (That pig slaughtered a month earlier than I’d otherwise have done as I took half the carcase on a butchery course :)).

My slowest growers were the Large Blacks, took over 8 months to get to 60kgs dw, but backfat resonable (15mmish I think) and flavour amazing. 

On my very limited experience and knowledge, I’d expect Saddleback cross MW or Welsh to get to 60kgs dw by 6-7 months no bother - but with more backfat than yours, so probably been fed more per day.

Oh, and I did reduce rations for a week or two before sending off, to reduce backfat.  I managed weight by eye and feel, really - I like to be able to see where the ribs are, but not actual ribs.

If they’re outdoor all year and you’re rearing through winter too, making sure they have plenty of dry bedding will also have an effect. I was horrified to discover how wet the straw in the ark got through them coming in wet and muddy, so took to lobbing in a few flaps of straw to the back of the ark every day, and forking out wetter stuff to in front of the ark, which gradually built up to a pad of less muddy ground that helped keep them drier on entry too.

If they’re wet and cold, it will keep the back fat down but also keep the growth rate down.

Again, I’m saying all this on not much experience at all, but maybe there’s something useful in there for you.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018, 02:26:27 pm »
Feeding livestock is an art as well as a science but pigs sometimes appear on a whole different level.  I've only finished Saddlebacks, OSB and GOS (many, many GOS) but would take in the boars around 22 weeks and the gilts a fortnight or so later.  On hot days I give them a little less feed, on cold days a little more but they finish up on around 1.1 kg 16% sow & weaner nuts twice a day, plus soaked wheat and barley up to 100g per feed for the last month if you want good crackling and a couple of handfuls of apples, bolted lettuces or any other vegetable garden or orchard surplus.  Mangalitsas are reputed to take much longer to finish.  At this time of year well bedded, draught-free housing is paramount and watch for drinkers getting frozen - lack of water will depress appetite.


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