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Author Topic: Rare breed growth rates  (Read 1515 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!



Voss Electric Fence


  • 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

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

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.

david c

  • Joined Jun 2013
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 04:46:56 pm »
Hi Sallyintnorth and Marches farmer,

Many thanks for your replies.  A lot of food for thought there!! Thank you. Mine are well behind yiurs Sally. Marches Farmer - what weights do you get at 22 and 24 weeks?

I'm upping feeds now to about 2.7kg a head. Trying to change housing to see if that will make a difference.

I've only ever fed sow rolls, so latest batch of newly weaned are now on growers. (I'd read that the rare breeds didn't need the increased protein, but will see if that makes a difference).

I think I will give a wormer a couple of months after the weaning dose,just incase, though I've never seen anything nor had any feedback from the abattoir.

Anyone else care to share their deadweights too - I'm sure that would be really helpful information, even if you have not raiised many.




  • Joined Jun 2016
  • Blairgowrie
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 07:24:02 pm »
I bought 2, 8 week-old saddleback weaners at the end of August.
I kind of followed the suggested feed rates but didn't weigh each feed just went by multiples of 'jugs' from the feed bags to the pail. I do not think they were fed more than they should have been.
They got veg scraps and apples when available but they much preferred the pellets.
Both went to the abattoir 2 weeks ago and were 76kg (castrated male) and 64kg for his sister dead weight at about 34/5 weeks.
They stayed outside throughout and apparently the boy had put down a lot of fat.
They absolutely hated the frozen ground and walked about like they were wearing stiletto heals - I imagine - no personal experience and were reluctant to come for their food some icy days.
That's all.


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2018, 09:47:50 pm »
Crossing Mangalitza in will slow the growth!!

Adding in what we do, grower food for all our growers, adlib or at least 1.5-2x the standard ration up to 4 months, then cut back to standard ration (1lb/month of age) till we need to slaughter them

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 07:18:48 pm »
I don't finish to a specific weight.  If the pig has been healthy and bad weather compensated for by a little extra feed then the pork will be top quality, not too fat and not too lean.   


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2018, 12:07:31 pm »
The younger the pig the best conversion rate of food so buying weaners that have had creep feed and are a good size at weaning and wormed will give you a good start.

People will tell you that traditional breeds will finish on sow nuts and don't need growers but I am not convinced on this. I also don't go with reducing feed in the last couple of weeks to keep the back fat down. Reducing feed is more likely to increase back fat as the pig thinks lean times are coming and it needs to store food (fat).

You need to monitor your pigs all the way through and that means a regular feel along the back.

Your pigs are definitely small for their age and I wouldn't say that is the mangalitza in there I would say they need more food and/or better food.  They should have been wormed at weaning and once possibly twice before they go in for slaughter.

Warm, draft free accommodation is a must too.

Lots of people aim to kill out around 24 months but there is nothing wrong with taking longer but I'd expect a nine month old pig to be killing out around 75 kilo's.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2018, 11:02:50 am »
Grower and finisher rations are generally formulated for fast-finishing commercial breeds.  I feed everything 16% sow & weaner nuts.


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Rare breed growth rates
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 11:23:53 am »
Grower and finisher rations are generally formulated for fast-finishing commercial breeds.  I feed everything 16% sow & weaner nuts.

My friend used to finish several saddlebacks for different butchers each week. He wanted to cut the back fat and had long discussions with his feed supplier on rations. He was told that it is harder to finish on a sow and weaner ration with reasonable fat levels because there isn't a high enough protein level so the pigs store fat for future use. Higher protein, finishing rations are designed to finish without the excess fat because the pig is getting enough protein and doesn't need to store excess fat. He changed ration and he cut the back fat.

Commercial units aim to finish pigs well in advance of the time we would. They wean far earlier and so the whole feeding regime isn't comparable when you are looking at a finished pig at 16 weeks, so I wouldn't be put off grower and finisher rations at all. In most cases the whole, commercial environment is highly controlled in terms of heat, space etc. which combined with exact rations, probably scientifically formulated for their units in doesn't in the slightest compare with how we rear our pigs.


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