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#1 2015-11-22 00:47:44

CathyJK
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Near Invermere, BC
Registered: 2012-12-02
Posts: 1199

Managing Boars

For those of you with boars:

1. Do they stay in with the sow once they have bred her (or in with sows)? I have read that boars should be near the girls all the time so as to encourage appropriate mating behaviours. Boars would have to come out close to farrowing.

2. Do you bring the sow to the boar? Do they need to be introduced through a fence first?

3. Have you found that the heritage breeds (tamworths, berkshires, large blacks) are more docile and therefore ok to have with the girls

We have had weaner pigs for the  past 4 years, but this is the first year I have a boar. I am never sure if the things I am reading online are for commerical set ups and perhaps don't apply the same way pasture raised pigs are (i.e., lots of room and perhaps the non-confinement makes them easier to manage??)


Any advice about managing the boar is greatly appreciated.

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#2 2015-11-22 19:21:07

mountainharvest
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Creston
Registered: 2012-01-30
Posts: 1308

Re: Managing Boars

We did both...when we started, we kept separate and only when it was breeding time, he went to visit, then we decided to try the communal approach and let him live with our gals.  that worked just fine.  Our boar was a very gentle guy, both with the girls, us and baby pigs.  And, he was happier and warmer to have company on cold nights, as we were an outdoor operation and only brought girls in to farrow in large stalls.  The last year, we did it, we let the gals build nests outdoors...our sows were so great!  Huge litters, great moms and minimal losses-most losses stillborn.   At the end, we stopped castrating our boar pigs, and all our boars lived together.  No issues...(unless mounting each other once in a while is an issue??!! ;) )   I sincerely think that pigs are happier with company, they are, after all herd animals.  Given lots of space in a large pasture or paddock, so that if scuffles do occur, there is room for each to go their own way and quiet down.  But, with our pigs, we did not have issues.  They were all happy!!


Small flock of mixed heritage chickens for glorious eggs, bee keepers, team of Percherons & of course cats and dogs, pedigreed Champagne d'Argent rabbits.  Wife, cheesemaker, baker, organic gardener, & pooper-scooper extrordinaire, and mama to two beautiful, energetic babes and number 3 'in the oven' and due in June!!

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#3 2015-11-22 22:52:41

heda gobbler
I Love A.C.E.
From: Tatlayoko Lake, BC
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 6878
Website

Re: Managing Boars

I'd agree pigs are happier living communally, and outside as much as possible.  As mountainharvest says, lots of space is key.

I've had some lovely boars but I do keep them apart from the sows from farrowing (a very emotional time, for everyone involved!) and after so the sows CANNOT be rebred immediately.  I can sell all the piglets I have in April May - which means really early farrowing  - but then have trouble selling piglets other times of the year so must keep males and females separate after that time.  I must also castrate the young boars or they do breed the females (adults and litter mate) at surprisingly early age.    For some reason I don't like sending bred females to the butcher, whatever their age; the butcher says most young sows he butchers are bred, some quite far along.

I aim to have the fewest number of pigs over the winter when the drive to town for feed is the most unpleasant.  They do eat noticeably more in winter, they are colder and there is less foraging.

I have farrowed inside with sows separate as some will fight over newborn piglet although I had two sows sisters who were inseparable - they farrowed together at the same time in the same pen and raise 24 piglets successfully, I never knew how many each one actually gave birth to.  To have weaned piglets in April May it means farrowing in February March which is often the coldest, iciest time of year here, so have never risked it outside.

Non farrowing they all live in a pile of straw (nothing better than straw, I keep adding to it so it keeps lofty and clean) outside on the pasture. 

I'm out of pigs now.  The 3 hour drive to town for feed was getting too much especially in winter.  I believe the secret to profitable pig raising is to have a cheap but good quality source of feed or at least supplemental feed - goat whey, cast off fruit,  whole grains.   I have none of that locally.

A boar kept separate must be in a really strong pen - pigs are determined diggers, chewers, pushers - I use metal panels with pounded posts.  Because he is on his own his straw pile is under shelter.  A male companion is  nice but means more feed.  As ever, be careful of any intact male animal.   There is quite a "celebration" when the boar goes in with the sows. 

Oh, every year get rid of the worst performing sow and keep the friendliest, biggest, best behaved sow piglet.  Over time your pig herd will improve dramatically.


Beltsville Small White Turkeys - White Chantecler chickens and Buckeye chickens
Highland Cattle, Shetland Sheep and Kerry cows.
www.tatlayokofold.com

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#4 2015-11-22 23:06:46

Visitor
I Love A.C.E.
From: Where the wind blows
Registered: 2010-05-13
Posts: 3251

Re: Managing Boars

When I had my wild pigs the boar was a constant , I was worried about scattered farrowing , but they seemed to be on a schedule ? always within two weeks ? and I had ten sows so ? I think if the boar is calm in nature then it would almost be a benefit ? but as was mentioned , always take care around one , nature over rides everything at times

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#5 2015-11-23 01:06:31

CathyJK
A.C.E. Addicted
From: Near Invermere, BC
Registered: 2012-12-02
Posts: 1199

Re: Managing Boars

YOU guys ROCK.. thank you for the information.
I am not very happy keeping Maurice (the large black boar) separate, I think there is a higher probabilty of poor behaviour on his part.

Completely understand moving him back to the bachelor suite once it is close to farrowing. Makes tons of the sense.

For the sow and the boar at the moment, they have about 4 acres to move about it if I put them together.

They also have a shelter with loads of straw.

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#6 2015-11-23 01:48:08

heda gobbler
I Love A.C.E.
From: Tatlayoko Lake, BC
Registered: 2009-01-26
Posts: 6878
Website

Re: Managing Boars

That sounds great. I did find that after about 5 years on the same field they did less rooting - I think they ran out of tasty things.


Beltsville Small White Turkeys - White Chantecler chickens and Buckeye chickens
Highland Cattle, Shetland Sheep and Kerry cows.
www.tatlayokofold.com

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