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Author Topic: Sows - how often to breed?  (Read 2363 times)

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Sows - how often to breed?
« on: August 04, 2017, 11:38:33 am »
How often do you breed from your sows? Should you give them a rest now and then between litters? The advice online seems to suggest breeding right after weaning to get the first heat post weaning. My girl has had 3 litters now following this back to back "rule".... However, I am going to give her a couple of months off now as she lost a bit of condition with this last litter, and I just feel it's a bit much! What do you guys do? So much conflicting advice in books and online... lots of comments about how if you leave it too long the sow then becomes less productive etc. Surely they cannot endure an endless cycle of pregnancy without a bit of a rest now and then? This girl is a hampshire x

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Sows - how often to breed?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 12:43:17 pm »
Generally speaking you run this risk of not getting a sow back into pig if you leave her between litters.  I have pedigree stock and I wouldn't run the risk of not getting them into pig if I could help it. Some people do leave a break and say they have one litter a year.


She surely rests between, actually having the piglets and feeding them must be the most "work" of having a litter.


Has she had a big litter this last time? Generally speaking by now she should hold her condition better a first time gilt. Do you creep feed your piglets?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 03:15:20 pm by harmony »

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Sows - how often to breed?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 04:54:51 pm »
Hello Harmony,

Yes, she had 10 piglets this time! The piglets are fed ad lib but she is very milky. The first two litters she didn't lose condition at all (only 6 and 7 piglets) which is why I was surprised to see her a bit thinner now.

Would you put your girls back in pig if they lost condition and just let them catch up over during their pregnancy? I have weaned two weeks ago and she is now much improved... maybe I will give her one more week, that would mean she had three weeks off. And perhaps I should wean at 6 weeks next time rather than 8!

Her daughter from first litter farrowed a month ago and is holding her own very well! Lovely litter of 7 piglets!  :pig:


harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Sows - how often to breed?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 05:59:00 pm »
Mine often have 14. They are big sows and very milky. I am surprised that if she has plenty of milk and the piglets are on ad lib that she has lost condition.


If I thought a gilt or sow was losing too much condition from a large litter I would wean earlier.


Yes, a poor sow should catch up again during pregnancy.


If you don't catch her at her next season, which should be coming just after another week, you will have to wait another 3 weeks, making it 6/7 weeks from weaning.


It used to be that you needed to rear 8 piglets to break even!

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Sows - how often to breed?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 06:12:10 pm »
Thank you very much for the insight! Really helpful!!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Sows - how often to breed?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2017, 06:54:49 am »
Like many, many smallholders, I really wanted to only have one litter a year.  But, as everyone said would happen, we struggled to get the sow back in pig.  I don't hear many - actually, any - stories of people being able to reliably have only one litter a year, sadly.  I think there would be more pig breeders if it worked.
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Sows - how often to breed?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2017, 05:34:31 pm »
Had 4 Tamworth sows for many years and only farrowed once per year in spring  weaned at 12wks , but they ran on a large area of hill ground and in plantations with minimal feed after weaning , had no problems getting in pig , litter sizes  6 to 13

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Sows - how often to breed?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2017, 11:43:32 am »
Had 4 Tamworth sows for many years and only farrowed once per year in spring  weaned at 12wks , but they ran on a large area of hill ground and in plantations with minimal feed after weaning , had no problems getting in pig , litter sizes  6 to 13


There are always exceptions to the rule. And I know people who do only litter once a year. Sally's point above is more often the case.


If a sow costs 10 per week to keep and your one litter (8 x 40) brings you 320 that is a 200 loss without costing feed for the litter etc.

 

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