Don’t forget the pigs

It’s been a little while since my last update on the progress of the 2 Tamworth gilts that we have kept for breeding. There has been much to learn particularly about feeding and land management because this is the first time we’ve taken on animals all year round.

Even though I’d expected the new pens in the woods to get a bit beaten up, I’d somehow not fully appreciated that they aren’t going to recover until next Spring (at the earliest). It looks like I left it a little too long before moving the pigs to some new ground.

Winter wet weather and a worn out pen
Winter wet weather and a worn out pen

These 2 gilts are the start of our breeding herd and as such will be almost pets because we hope they will be with us for quite some time. The permanent pens that were put up in the woods have been excellent but as noted above it didn’t take long for them to suffer too much wear and tear. As a result I had to subdivide the remaining much larger pen using electric fencing so that the pigs can be moved around a little to rest the ground through the winter.

After looking into the idea of sending the two pigs off to a boar, in the end it made more sense for this first time if we handled everything ourselves. Not least because it reduces the risks associated with mixing our 2 pigs with other pigs elsewhere although the same would have applied if we’d hosted a boar on our land.

Sissy and Esther enjoying breakfast
Sissy and Esther enjoying breakfast

Sissy was the first to suffer the indignity of A.I. and after waiting 3 weeks for the natural cycle it became clear that my efforts had been successful.With one of them now in-pig that meant I could turn my attention on Esther next. Following that was another interminable 3 week wait but that’s just finished with all signs indicating a second success.

Fingers crossed now for their farrowing around the end of February and also in March with planning already underway in case the weather is bad at that point and they need to farrow inside. If all goes well then we hope to have pedigree Tamworth weaners for sale around April or May 2016



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