October 5, 2011 at 3:05 am #16517Member: MD H H FarmParticipant
have any of you seasoned lbh breeders had problems with bad feet or broken down lower legs? compared to my herefords or yorks the large blacks, ( gilts and boar from different breeders ), have thinner lower legs. they have hooves that lay flatter on the ground than they should. my boar’s hooves lay pretty much flat on the ground. he is still young about 8 months old and weighs about 340 lbs. they were raised from weaners on hard dirt floor. they have not shown any signs of pain or discomfort with the condition but i think it will get worse with heavier weight. any advice or comments are appreciated.October 8, 2011 at 6:27 am #17591Member: MO chhogsParticipant
Without trying to be rude, 340lbs at 8 months means that you are probably overfeeding him. That is way too heavy for that age. We have personally seen this before, the LBs will develop leg problems if they put on weight too quickly. Yorks esp. will do well in confinement with lots of food. That’s what they have been bred for. LBs are a heritage breed that has a number of benefits. However, excessive feeding in a LB will cause more problems and not make for a good breeder or eater unless you like lots of fat. They also need exercise and are happier on pasture.
There are those (us included) that believe the LBs should take at least 12-14 months to get to butchering weight. A breeder should take 2-3 years or more to reach full size. The growth time is a lot longer, but if you build on the strengths of the breed (pasture raised, smaller amounts of grain, etc.) the cost is kept to a minimum.
If I were you I’d try to slim him down a bit and see if you can save his legs.
Just our 2c.
Richard & LizNovember 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm #18280RondaisakParticipant
This Easter my 2 year old gilt who is our family pet could hardly walk. The soft tissue on the bottom of Lilly’s feet was very rough and cracked. Her hooves were also cracked and in some spots there were holes, from missing hove tissue.
I did some checking and thought it could be a biotin deficiency. Not only did the symptoms match but one of the listed causes was eating raw egg whites. We also free range chickens and ducks and Lilly often ate raw eggs.
Because overcoming a biotin deficiency can take several months I decided to call the vet to make sure I was on the right track. The vet agreed. He gave her a shot of antibiotics and recommended that I treat her feet with KOPERTOX. I also stopped letting her eat raw eggs and starting giving her at least 6 boiled eggs a day.
About a month and a half later Lilly was “running” again. I try to give her 2-4 eggs every other day or so. She hates the KOPERTOX but if I notice any limp or signs of pain I put some on. So far so good.
RondaNovember 14, 2012 at 11:18 pm #18281Member: MO chhogsParticipant
It is well documented that raw eggs for pigs are bad for pigs – I have seen many discussions on another forum. Some folks say they feed raw eggs all the time but others are saying, like you, that a pig does not produce its own biotin. Now of course if you pick up a cracked egg & throw it over the fence for the pig it is not going to hurt it BUT if you are feeding several eggs on a regular basis you should always cook them first & they will get full use of the nutrients. When our girls (chickens) are laying well we boil up a pan each night, shells & all & then mash them with a potato masher in the morning. Cooked eggs are a complete protein & very good for pigs.
Hope your pigs gets better
Pigs love them 🙂
LizNovember 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm #18284Member: WI Harvey WorkParticipant
As I read the posts I can understand some of the dilemmas one faces having raised hogs conventionally, conventional breeds. I too have three breeds, Large Blacks, Tamworths,, and Chester Whites. My background is an ag educator and 25 years experience raising hogs based on growth performance, so of course I like to see pigs grow fast. But, the Large Blacks are a different breed in many ways and I appreciate their many fine attributes – personality traits, foraging, grazing, meat quality, to name a few. I have had to modify my feeding and expectations when raising them, which is okay.
But, even though they need to be raised differently, and the breed should retain its’ identity, I do think we have to develop a breeding program that addresses structural correctness, conformation, and performance. Do I want to see them fed and raised as is conventional, definitely not! But we do need to select for better animals which takes immense amounts of observation, consideration and some trial and error.
Large Blacks tend to have bigger feet (hooves) than some breeds,which is a good thing. We do need to select for proper structure of the hooves, set of the ankles, and strength of the legs. The bone structure of Large Blacks is much finer than most, which is okay if designed right. One thing that helps the design and strength of the rear legs is to have more ham.
Our breeding program is striving to find the happy medium, no extremes, and superior pasture mommas. Quite frankly, I look for correlations with premier grazing cattle for some answers to producing superior pasture pork. Granted, one is a ruminant, the other a monogastric, but there are many basic that are the same. I find my best doing pigs in all these areas are thicker, deeper bodied and big middles (big volume pigs can eat and utilize feed better), with more muscle in the hams. The other “research and observation” that needs to be done is where is the economic line for slower growth, but less feed fed per day? Even though we feed less feed per day, with ample nutrition coming from pasture, every day a pig is on the farm it has eat so much feed just to maintain himself, it all adds up.
Do I have all the answers? Nope, but these are my observations to this point, and I am on a mission to raise the best Large Blacks available. We all need a well thought out breeding program in an effort to make Large Blacks the best.