So our sow, Girl, gave birth Dec 2009 to 5 piglets. This was her first litter. One died the first week due to getting wedged in between a space in their A-frame hut. The rest (two boars, two gilts) made it to slaughtering time. We weaned them at 2 months, gave them 3 lbs of feed each per day for 5 months. At 5 months, we separated the boars from everyone else and gave them 4 lbs of feed each for 1 month right before slaughter. We rotationally grazed them every 2 weeks during their life. They were about 200 lbs hanging weight. Total time: 8 months
For the gilts, at 5 months old, we gave them 4 lbs of feed each per day for 2 months. They were 235 lbs hanging weight and 200 lbs hanging weight. Total time: 9 months
I kept the boar in with Girl from December 2009 until March 2010, but he didn’t breed her. I separated them for 4 months and brought them together in July. In Sept 2010, Girl gave birth to 7 piglets. She slept on one and killed it the first night. She stepped on another one and killed it the first week. The runt died two weeks later. She had 3 boars and 3 gilts.
Do these litter sizes sound right? I thought they should have between 8-10. Is this the same amount of time it takes you to get your pigs to market weight? 225-250 lbs? What do you feed per day? Does it take you a longer or shorter amount of time than me?
The last ones we raised to market weight (250lbs) were barrows & they were 10 mths old. That was in Montana where we fed Rolled Barley. They got a 3qt scoop (approx) each per day. They were a good size & the meat was excellent. We are no longer castrating so am thinking that we will need to slaughter the culled boars a little earlier the next time round to avoid taint.
Is anyone else on here raising pure bred LB’s for meat?
Litter sizes? Gosh there are SO many factors involved in this & I am certainly no expert. Dave Dalan recently had a litter of 15! Yep, pure bred LB – I think he has set the record. We have seen 9 & 10 here this year. Yesterday one of our gilts had 7 which I think is good for a gilt – it’s a huge learning curve for them anyways. The sow who gave us 11 & 12 is not producing right now – not quite sure what is going on. I’m going to move her in with a different boar in the New Year if she has not farrowed. Of course it’s not just the sow to consider, maybe the boar has a low sperm count?
Boy do I wish I had all the answers. Genetics have got to be a major part of this too. One of our other gilts (not LB but heritage rare breed) had 13 the first time round. I was totally amazed.
SO in short, yes, the LB’s can have larger litters. When you buy new stock, check the litter sizes & buy from a larger litter even if it means you have to pay more. And yes I think the LB’s take longer to feed out BUT it’s worth it for the quality of the meat. Less grain, more grass/hay produces a much healthier product IMO.
Hope this helps & hope others join in the discussion too.