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Country Talk Discussion Board

A lot of pig questions

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Posted by SnowBear on May 23, 2003 at 11:33:22 from (

This is my first time posting here.

Here's our situation:
We've acquired a 1 1/2 yr. old sow who's never been bred. She is originally from a hog farm that raises breeding stock and 4-H hogs but ended up being owned by a young girl who made a pet of her instead. The sow is in very good health and is neither over nor underweight. We've raised many pigs for butcher but have never kept a sow and raised our own weaners and would like to give it a try.

Is this sow too old to breed? There are a few boars available locally for boar service but I'm concerned about risk of disease. Where would a person check into finding an AI tech? (Extension office?) Is learning to AI a hog yourself all that difficult? (We do have a fair amount of general livestock knowledge and experience.)

At present we have her contained in livestock panels with a small temporary house for shelter. What is the best housing arrangment for a brood sow? Would a 16x16 box stall plus a large outdoor paddock be suitable? Or we can build a house and pen from scratch if that isn't satisfactory. Is it truly necessary to have a farrowing crate? We'd rather not go that route but have been told they'd crush the newborn piglets if we didn't. If that's true, how did pigs survive back in the old days without crates? Do pigs born in spring/summer/early fall need heat lamps? We have electricity to the existing stall, but hate using heat lamps due to fire risk.

Any and all suggestions appreciated.

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