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Breeding Quality Hogs

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by luckygeorgefarm luckygeorgefarm 3 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #16935 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    Hello all,

    After reading many posts on this forum, studying several members’ websites, and emailing with and calling Large Black breeders, I am concerned with the state of this breed. There seem to be a very few breeders out there with a serious breeding program that is actually intent on improving the breed. There are, however, many “hobby” breeders who buy a few sows and a boar and start selling every piglet they get as “breeding stock”. This is not the way to improve a breed. It is, however, a way to rapidly increase the numbers of animals on the ground. I can see that as an acceptable short term goal for endangered species, but it is dangerous to continue down that road for too long. Keeping any and all piglets as breeding stock will create a gene pool where anything goes. You can see how quickly the desirable traits for which the LBH was historically lauded could disappear under such a regime. We have already seen a drastic and disappointing reduction in litter size for a breed that was once known for large litters.

    How do we fix this? Education. Both potential buyers and breeders need to be educated on how to decide which animals to keep and which to cull. As a starting point, consider the list below. The overriding theme is “cull hard”. If you’re not willing to cull most of your animals, only keeping the very best as breeding stock, then you should probably not be in the seed stock business.

    1. Let nature sort your animals for you. Do not prop your animals up with vaccines, antibiotics, wormers, etc. If you do, you will never see the full genetic expression of your livestock. It is important for susceptible animals to be allowed to falter so that you can cull them out of your breeding program. The point here is to select for hogs that are naturally resistant. If you’re forever medicating, you’ll never know which ones to cull.
    2. No excuses. The minute you start making excuses for your sows, you invite her unadapted genetics to stay in your gene pool for another generation. If a sow doesn’t farrow, cull her. No excuses – even if it’s her first litter. If she doesn’t have enough teats, cull her. If the litter size is too small, cull her. If her disposition is questionable, cull her. If she gets sick, cull her. If she loses pigs during farrowing, cull her. If she doesn’t fatten easily on pasture, cull her. If she gets too fat, cull her. Essentially, you need to know what makes hogs profitable and cull for even a single instance when those goals are not met.
    3. Minimize inputs. This will help put selection pressure on your hogs. If you continually pamper them, you will breed hogs that need to be pampered to thrive. Your customers want easy-keeping pigs, not pets. To be clear, I am not advocating neglecting your hogs. Humane husbandry is an absolute requirement for anyone working with livestock. However, there is a long road between humane care and pampering.

    If these principles seem difficult to follow, you’re right. They are. But that is what it takes to be a reputable seed stock producer. If you’re unwilling to do these things, think long and hard before you sell your pigs as breeding stock. Are you really improving the breed? Or do you want to get “breeding quality” price for your “feeder quality” pigs? We need to be culling and eating a whole lot more Large Blacks. Without that, Large Blacks will never be more than a hobby breed – and it will soon loose its appeal for even that if quality is not maintained. There is another thread that makes a great point – we need a whole lot more folks growing Large Blacks out for meat production and a whole lot fewer selling breeding stock. What business should you be in?

    #18544 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    I couldn’t agree more! But I might add that selling inferior piglets as “unregistered large blacks” kills the market as well as lessening the quality that the large black meat should be know for. We need more responsible breeders raising these hogs naturally without chemicals and free ranging them in pastures and woods. I know several breeders raising them in dirt paddocks with no browse and feeding them like a commercial hog. This is unacceptable in my opinion. Be responsible breeders. They don’t need to be crossed. You don’t need to sell every piglet as a breeder. The majority of your litter should be sold for pork not breeders.

    #18562 Reply
    Member: IA luckygeorgefarm
    luckygeorgefarm
    Participant

    Agree whole heartedly. I would love to connect with you and learn about your herd. We have the same philosophy. Only the best get to move to breeder status and that means all around demeanor, conformation to the British standard, and fitness. Lots of folks love pork in Iowa and ugly tastes good!

    Angela Johnson
    Lucky George Farm
    Derby, IA
    515-779-4526

    #18563 Reply
    Member: IA luckygeorgefarm
    luckygeorgefarm
    Participant

    Agree whole heartedly. I would love to connect with you and learn about your herd. We have the same philosophy. Only the best get to move to breeder status and that means all around demeanor, conformation to the British standard, and fitness. Lots of folks love pork in Iowa and ugly tastes good!

    Angela Johnson
    Lucky George Farm
    Derby, IA
    515-779-4526

    #18564 Reply
    Member: IA luckygeorgefarm
    luckygeorgefarm
    Participant

    Agree whole heartedly. I would love to connect with you and learn about your herd. We have the same philosophy. Only the best get to move to breeder status and that means all around demeanor, conformation to the British standard, and fitness. Lots of folks love pork in Iowa and ugly tastes good!

    Angela Johnson
    Lucky George Farm
    Derby, IA
    515-779-4526

    #18565 Reply
    Member: IA luckygeorgefarm
    luckygeorgefarm
    Participant

    Agree whole heartedly. I would love to connect with you and learn about your herd. We have the same philosophy. Only the best get to move to breeder status and that means all around demeanor, conformation to the British standard, and fitness. Lots of folks love pork in Iowa and ugly tastes good!

    Angela Johnson
    Lucky George Farm
    Derby, IA
    515-779-4526

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