Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Moving on to breeding  (Read 7303 times)

Button End Beasts

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Harston, Cambridgeshire
Moving on to breeding
« on: July 24, 2012, 11:56:40 am »
Good morning!
Hope everyone is enjoying such splendid weather as we are finally having here I east anglia.


I'm looking for a bit of guidance on taking the step from keeping weaners for fattening, to breeding. For the past 2 years we have grown on weaners for pork and bacon. We fill up our freezer and sell the rest to family and friends, with demand usually outstripping supply! Our aim is to make the pigs pay for themselves, have a freezer full of good meat and a little bit of extra pocket money.


We have tried a variety of rare breeds and have settled on OSBs and currently have a 6 month old pedigree registered OSB gilt. We don't want to go into breeding on a huge scale, ideally keep our one girl and breed once or twice a year, selling pigs for weaners and for meat. Would this low production system work? Seems like fertility may be affected? Also, I don't want the pig to get lonely, so do I really need to keep 2 sows or can I just juggle it to make sure there's always a couple of her daughters around to keep her company?


Sorry for the long post, any words of wisdom will be most appreciated.
Beki

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2012, 12:14:38 pm »
no problem with just one sow accompanied with others they prefer a family anyway
if you are making money with the system you have  don't go changing it you have the sow to keep AI and will it squirt them out when you want them or others want them
every man and his dog are thinking the same way as yourself that is why there is a surplus of piglets that sell for a fiver or less     do the maths and come back to us  :farmer:

oaklandspigs

  • Joined Nov 2009
  • East Sussex
    • OaklandsPigs
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2012, 12:46:46 pm »
Presuming you're planning AI, then as robert quite rightly says a single sow but with company will be fine. 
 
You may need to look at weaning - choice is either to let the sow wean naturally, which she'll do around 12-16 weeks and then AI her, or if you want her mated earlier take the litter off, let her dry up, and then put some of her daughters back again after for company - really depends on what you want to do, and you can choose each times she litters which is best for you at that time.
 
We generally have a waiting list for weaners, but we breed all year round with 35 sows, have an on-line presence, and many regular customers.  As Robert warns selling occasionally can result in spare piglets, so factor this into your equations !
www.Oaklandspigs.co.uk
"Perfect Pigs" the complete guide to keeping pigs; One Day Pig Courses in South East;
Weaners for sale - Visit our site for details

Fowgill Farm

  • Joined Feb 2009
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2012, 12:48:21 pm »
What Robert means is that the system you currently have works so why change, there are a lot of surplus pigs in the market at present, if you breed you need to have a market for 10-12 piglets, what will you do with them all especially if you can't sell them on?
Go to GOS website and read the articles in Getting Started, the one which starts what on eartjh am i going to do with all these piglets (we had 16 in a litter!).
You can keep one sow and keep back a couple of her piglets to keep her company and with exceedingly good management have 2 litters every 18mths or so. You also have to think about the extra committment that keeping breeding stock entails 365 days of the year and as Robert points out the increased costs etc. You also need to know what the market is like in your area. So do your homework.
HTH
mandy :pig:

Button End Beasts

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Harston, Cambridgeshire
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2012, 01:04:35 pm »
Yes, I was definitely thinking of AI or borrowing a boar, there are a few within a half to an hour away from us.


As for costs, locally we have paid anything from 45 to 60 for rare breed weaners. Im not sure if keeping a sow will be more economical! We don't have any trouble shifting pork, bacon at the moment but then only kept 3-5 pigs at a time. I guess if we only breed once a year, this won't be a problem if we can't sell any weaners, then use boys for pork, then some girls for bacon and pork then girls for sausages.


We already have kept pigs and sheep (ducks, chicks ,etc) continuously for 2 years. Every time I hope for a break, we just decide we better get more! I would really quite like the permanency of a sow, rather than porkers that you just get to know and then suddenly they are gone again. With some pigs it's a relief but mostly always a little bit sad.




Tamsaddle

  • Joined May 2011
  • Hampshire, near Portsmouth
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012, 08:45:10 am »
We are also mini-smallholders with just two sows, and the unpredictability of litter size, from 2 to 15, as well as gender mix, can be quite a worry when trying to plan ahead.  We can usually sell our surplus weaners easily, but this year has been very slow for no obvious reason other than the atrocious weather, and then you can get left with one girl and several boys, or the other way round, and the problems of how to pen/house them - so do be prepared for anything.   We do just one litter a year, farrowing approx May, which is a good time for Christmas meat.   They don't seem to get infertile in between.   Nevertheless, the joy and pleasure of breeding has been immeasurable, watching your tiny piggies all the way through from birth to slaughter, and worth every bit of sleepless night anxiety as far as I am concerned.   Best of luck - Tamsaddle       

Button End Beasts

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Harston, Cambridgeshire
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 01:42:01 pm »
Tamsaddle thanks for the encourragement, the thought of seeing own piglets sounds very rewarding. Still worried about the rotation, ie what to do if we can't get rid of all the pigs in the time scale we would like. how much land do you have to keep your pigs on? :)

Tamsaddle

  • Joined May 2011
  • Hampshire, near Portsmouth
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 06:32:00 pm »
I have finally gone and measured my two small plots!   These are used as two "farrowing" plots each with an arc and about 12 x 14 metres each, right next to my house so that I can keep a regular check and stop the foxes nosing around.  These are only used for 8-9 weeks at a time, but get completely trashed by weaning time + a big litter, especially with weather as horrific as recently.  I poo pick throughout, then rotovate and re-seed the grass as soon as the pigs leave. There is a further bit of grass off these about 8 x 14 metres which I can let the two sows use intermittently.   Our main area is in woodland about 200 x 200 metres, plus a daytime grass paddock 50 x 50 metres - this is usually divided into 2 or 3 plots and we open them up as needed depending on rooting, destruction and weather.  They are in use from April to September then rested.   Finally I have September to April use of a further area of woodland, a different plot each time, also approx. 200 x 200 metres.   In the latter we would have the two sows, who are not serviced till approx. Jan, and up to 6 fatteners generally slaughtered at 6 to 7 months old.  How about you?   Tamsaddle

Button End Beasts

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Harston, Cambridgeshire
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2012, 09:44:38 pm »
Wow, that's masses of space compared to us. We have 4 areas, each about 30 x 30 m. We put weaners onto a fresh piece of land and also pick up the poo, then when they go off we also rotovate and re seed. The field they are in is opposite our house so nice and close. Worried there might not be enough space to properly rotate a sow and her weaners. It's such a shame cos there are loads of empty fields nearby but people don't want to rent to us because a) there are so many travellers around here that people are paranoid, b) people don't want pigs "ruining the land" c) they would rather rent to horsey types who will pay 5 times as much money.

P6te

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • South Derbyshire
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 10:05:49 pm »
Its interesting reading this post as we are on the same scale, time wise we are somewhere between the Button End Beast and Tamsaddle.

We currently have 3 runs close to the house (ideal for water & electrics), each has an 8' x 8' ark and the runs are 2 @ 10m x 15m and 1 @ 9m x 18m.  In addition I am in the process of constructing a twin ark area each with a 10' x 10' ark plus a 10' x 10' hardstanding area plus 12' x 20' 'shared' grass area essentially for farrowing / bringing in when weather is dire!

Their will also be an area of about 67m x 30m that will probably be divided into 3 strips, each with an ark that can be used as needed.

We have 1 sow (currently elsewhere running with a boar), 1 gilt with our 1 boar.  All are OSB's plus some weaners that we bought in.

Pete
Live for today
Plan for tomorrow

Tamsaddle

  • Joined May 2011
  • Hampshire, near Portsmouth
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 12:42:36 am »
With litters arriving in spring/early summer BEB, it is usually not too difficult to sell your surplus weaners if you had a large litter, then just keep on whatever number of weaners + 1 sow that works for your particular plot size/ground.    Ideally females only, so you don't have to have separate plots for the sow and males from 4 months old.   If you sell weaners at 8 to 9 weeks, it is only a fairly short time that there would be a large number of pigs on the land, and very young piglets do minimal digging anyway.  Farming Ads has always come up trumps for finding buyers, more so than the breed specific noticeboards, but as I said before, it can be risky and a huge worry.  Also remember that at weaning the sow and piglets have to be completely separated for 2 weeks to make the milk dry up, ie 2 plots, ideally not adjacent to each other.   Tamsaddle     

Button End Beasts

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Harston, Cambridgeshire
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 09:37:40 am »
Thanks Tamsaddle, that's encouraging.  I do think it can be done here but will take a bit of juggling.I swing between " yes go for it" to " "no, haven't got the ideal set up". One of our plot areas is quite separate from the others so could put boys down there if necessary. It floods in winter occasionally but never normally floods in summer, until this year! See our Facebook page ButtonEndBeasts for pics!


Pete that's LOADS of arks! Are you planning to expand? We need to build more as we usually move them around from enclosure to enclosure but with a few flooded plots, they are firmly wedged into the mud.

Tamsaddle

  • Joined May 2011
  • Hampshire, near Portsmouth
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 10:12:06 am »
One other thing to bear in mind - if you have two sows you can get away with once a year litters as they always have a companion, each other, but it is expensive in feed having 6 months dry time x 2 pigs.   If you have only one sow you would need more than 1 litter a year so that the companion pig, her daughter, doesn't get too old for slaughter before the next litter arrives.  Tamsaddle

P6te

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • South Derbyshire
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2012, 10:26:11 am »
BEB - It is a lot of Arks but our thinking is that better too many than too few.  Other than the first one which we bought (an additional one to those mentioned) which is a lot smaller, I made them all myself.  The idea is that any pig can go in any enclosure if needed.  With weaners we block off part with bales.

Up to this point in time selling pork has not been any problem and we always have people waiting. So, whilst attempting to build up slowly, yes we would like to expand.

Tamsaddle - one question, when you have a much younger and smaller companion pig, do you feed them separately?  We currently have a 13 month gilt with our much smaller 7 month old boar and I feed him separately otherwise the gilt gets the majority of the food!

Pete
Live for today
Plan for tomorrow

Tamsaddle

  • Joined May 2011
  • Hampshire, near Portsmouth
Re: Moving on to breeding
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2012, 10:49:38 am »
I would normally feed pigs of that age together, but usually try to feed them separately up to about 4 months old, as they just can't wolf it down quick enough when they are still that young.   But it all depends - if one pig is really not getting enough and the other too fat after a few weeks of sharing the feed then I would go back to separating them again, reluctantly, as it such a nuisance.   Tamsaddle

 

moving my pig pen

Started by dysie39 (6.06)

Replies: 5
Views: 2641
Last post November 26, 2009, 06:49:51 am
by Hilarysmum
Moving Pigs

Started by Farmer Giles (6)

Replies: 4
Views: 8243
Last post December 13, 2007, 08:26:55 pm
by Rosemary
Moving Pigs

Started by MrsJ (6)

Replies: 10
Views: 5831
Last post February 03, 2009, 09:18:52 am
by VSS
Moving piglets outside.

Started by dixie (6)

Replies: 7
Views: 3793
Last post April 16, 2009, 04:38:40 pm
by sabrina
moving sow with pigglets

Started by happytrotters (6)

Replies: 6
Views: 3046
Last post April 02, 2012, 04:04:54 pm
by JulieS

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2023. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS