Growth of Large Black
October 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm #16318
Darren and I were commenting last night at the growth rate of our Large Black gilts born in mid June. We also have a Tamworth barrow and gilt born in April. The LB are catching up quickly with their Tam cousins.
I was speaking with the previous owner of the Tams and asking what her target weight was for butcher and what age they generally are at that time. She mentioned 275-ish and around 9-10 months for finish. What are your opinions for weight and age to finish for LB?
Our thoughts were to shoot for 225-250 for weight. We would like to get them before they being to turn fatty.
On a side note, one of our family members graciously dropped off a box full of dropped apples. There was only one problem. It was right next to the pig’s fence. Our housing system in the barn (they have free access to pasture and shelter in the barn at all times) are collapsible pens. This way they can be easily moved and the barn cleaned as needed or the pens can be enlarged or made smaller as needed. At any rate, the box of apples was right next to the corridor panel. The Tam sow and LB boar were working in concerted effort to raise the wooden panel together to get to the box of apples. Unfortunately, the LB boar was a bit too greedy and their efforts never paid off. The Tam sow just pouted at me when I moved the box away.
Have a glorious day!October 30, 2010 at 10:03 pm #17078
Just curious, about how much do your June born LBs weigh? Do you have them on full feed or not? Pasture? I have 3 born 6-22, have them on grass and was feeding them 2x a day. They don’t seem to be growing as fast as I THINK I remember the last ones growing. I’m not sure but would guess their weights around 80# or maybe a little more. Just looking for something to compare them to besides Yorkshires or Durocs! LOL!October 31, 2010 at 5:49 am #17079
Darren believes ours are about the same weight, about 80#. They are on pasture and not quite full feed. They seem to be growing at a faster rate than the Tamworth cousins. They definitely aren’t as toned yet, but working on it. They seem to be happy and are much more social than when the first got here.October 31, 2010 at 8:29 pm #17080
Depends on whether or not you want bacon/belly. We have taken them in at 225-250 and had almost no belly on them. We try to hit 275lbs or more before taking them to process.
We have the fat packaged into 2-3 lbs packages for rendering into lard. If you have not done this yourself, you are missing out on what this animal can provide. The lard is much better for you than any lard you can purchase in a grocery store and is wonderful in almost everything. It is still fat, so use in moderation.
When I render the lard I pour it into a deep dish baking pan to cool, then cut into bars and freeze. For smaller portions you can pour the cooled lard into cupcake tins lined with paper or foil and then cool in the refrigerator until solid. Remove and put into ziplock bags or plastic wrap and freeze.
Point is, fat is not such a bad thing. Also, if you take them in at 225 lbs your pork chops will be very small. Larger does not have to mean fattier, if they have plenty of access to walk and run. Also you can cut back on the fat content by cutting back on the supplemental grains. As an observation, free feeders are bad for the LB’s because they need more grass than grain and if you allow free access they will eat too much grain and get very fatty.November 1, 2010 at 1:57 am #17081
Excellent break down. That helps a lot! We are looking forward to the lard as well. We have several customers interested in the lard portion and sausage and BACON!! Everyone is interested in the bacon quality. We won’t have pure LB to butcher for a while yet, but I am thrilled to pieces with the progress thus far. Our crosses are almost all spoken for… we are trying to make sure we have at least one for ourselves!November 1, 2010 at 10:47 am #17082
Thanks for the info!November 2, 2010 at 6:18 am #17083Member: MO
The ones we butchered this past May were 250-275lbs – 10mths old. The meat was delicious! We do not FREE feed here either & sometimes I get concerned that our pigs are not growing as fast as they should but then I have to remind myself that that is the whole point. We are not working to create “FAT” pigs, we are working to create a mostly grass fed (grain or whatever else you may feed supplemented) hog.
Will start a new post on rendering lard to share how we do it.
Liz – MissouriDecember 13, 2010 at 4:57 am #17152
Wondering approximately the quantity of grain we should be feeding the breeding pair of LBH we have. We are feeding them mostly commercial grain this time of year. They are foraging around a bit in the pasture.
Were in Massachusetts. In the past we only raise the pigs until we butcher them at around 250 pounds.
The Boar is about 700 and the sow around 350.December 14, 2010 at 10:05 pm #17156Member: MO
Everyone has a different opinion on how much grain should be fed a LB but here’s our opinion. Our LB’s, of all sizes, get fed about a 3 qt scoop once a day. We leave them out on pasture ALL year round no matter how sparse the grass but do supplement this time of year with good quality alfalfa hay.
You need to be VERY careful that you do NOT raise FAT breeders. This seems to be one of the most prolific problems in the breed. FAT pigs do not breed well – in fact if too fat they will not breed at all OR have small litters. Now obviously you do not want them looking like skeletons either so please do not misunderstand me.
LB’s are a heritage breed designed to be raised on pasture. They will forage for food & really do not need a huge amount of grain to look “healthy.”
Hope this helps,
LizDecember 15, 2010 at 6:04 am #17157
Ours get 5#’s each one time a day of Organic non GMO grains made by Hiland Feeds based out of Ohio. They ship anywhere. They have no animal byproducts of GMO grains which is one of our main concerns. Since our hogs are Animal Welfare Approved this is also one of their bylaws. Our hogs are not fat. They also run on pasture. We bought a sow that was extremely overweight..600#’s and a year and a half old. Our thinking was that once she became the correct weight, she’d breed. Once she lost weight we realized that she is just a cull animal due to her hind end issues(which we blamed on her weight too). We had faith in the breeder selling her and our ability of helping her. We helped her but you can’t fix heredity problems. Best of luck to you!!
~DeannaDecember 15, 2010 at 7:40 pm #17162
Thank you for your feedback, right now we’re feeding them about 8# each we’ll cut back a bit and keep an eye on them.
Corrine and DonFebruary 3, 2011 at 12:47 am #17260
For those of you finishing large blacks farther north on pasture. How much alfalfa are they eating and are you feeding it free choice or limit feeding? Has anyone actually figured their cost of gain? I understand that being on pasture can reduce the need for supplements, but what are people doing during the dormant season. Taking ten months to finish with grain prices they way they are seems very costly.Does anyone have figures for feed conversion for the large blacks? Sorry for so many questions-wind chills way below zero and the roads are all blowing closed here in northwest Mo. Leaves me with plenty of time for thinking of questions.February 3, 2011 at 1:38 am #17262
My hogs have been eating alfalfa/mixed grass hay since mid-October. Each mature hog eats about a fourth of a square bale each day. In addition to hay I supplement the showing / farrowing sows with about eight pounds of pig and sow per hundred weight each day. I also spill a lot for the piglets. My boars and other sows get supplemental when they seem thin.
My feed cost for this winter (mid-October thru March including hay and feed) will be around $12K for 52 mature hogs and around a hundred piglets. That’s around $230 per hog including the amount the piglets consume. (I have LBs, GOS and Hamps).
My figures will be considerably different than a feeder hog system; all my mature hogs are breeders. I keep my hogs in body score condition 3 which is fine for breeders but skinny for feeders.
I know these aren’t the exact figures you are looking for but thought they might be helpful since my hogs are practically on full feed (hay and feed) for the winter. Cost during the growing months would probably be about one third of this since they will be eating pasture instead of hay and getting much better nutrition from the pasture.
The costs for this year should be at least thirty percent higher (than last year) depending on the price of pig and sow. I paid an average of $7 for 50 lbs of feed last year; this year I expect the average to be $11 or $12. I’ll also be making my own hay this year for the winter. Alfalfa hay will be more expensive this fall since so many farmers are switching to corn and soybeans this year.
ADDED: My costs probably seem pretty high, I know, but realize that I am buying expensive feed to keep my breeding herd healthy. If you are raising a feeder pig you can get by with much less expensive feed such as old bakery products, grocery store and restaurant excess, waste barley from breweries, dairy whey and waste milk, bruised fruit from orchards, etc.February 3, 2011 at 2:42 am #17263Member: TX
Very interesting figures and information. Now that we’re in this discussion, what percentage protein is your feed? Do you alter it depending on their size/weight? My 14% protein feed label says it’s for hogs between 45 and 110 lbs., but it’s the only feed available in my area. Alfalfa? Not a chance. No one here carries it, so the LBH’s are stuck with good quality coastal bermuda, which most of the time they prefer to lie in rather than eat. I’m still in the $7.15/50 lb. bag, since I have a mill close by. Is there a different ration that I should be feeding? I have a second mill nearby that can mix custom batches for me, as long as it is a minimum of a ton at a time.
Any information and/or comments would be greatly appreciated.
RossFebruary 3, 2011 at 3:26 am #17264Member: TX
Another question… The feed we now use is sorghum based and is very dusty. Yes, it’s loose feed, not pelletized. I was thinking about using our hay for the base and getting it ground up, adding the supplements for sows, both gestating and lactating, adding corn, soybean meal, etc… to get the protein content high enough 14% or so, and then some molasses to help keep the dust down. That way, I’m replacing the sorghum grind with hay. What do you think? No one raises many hogs around here, so the guy had never heard of someone using hay instead of sorghum. Your thoughts?