Saturday, May 14, 2011
Follow me, kids...
Our mama pig leads the family out to graze every day. The little ones are eating clover and the corn/soy mix we have ground at the Baldwin elevator. Alternating mud baths and sun bathing round out their day. Occasionally I catch piglets making forays in through the chicken door to clean up the dropped chicken feed, too.
Weaning at 8 weeks is standard practice with hogs, but I'm tempted to leave them all together for a while longer. Part of the humane practice of raising animals is to decrease the stress of young weaning and let the generations bond longer. On the other hand, Trudy won't begin cycling again until after she is weaned from the litter. With 4 months gestation and 2 months nursing a litter, we can have spring and fall litters at the same time each year. Longer nursing would mean either a sporadic farrowing (birthing) schedule, or housing the boar separately for much of the year and having one litter. Most likely, I should wean early, breed Trudy back, and then reunite the family.