Pigs of Many Colours

Big Pigs in mud

Pigs come in different styles, or breeds

Just like dogs, some are bigger, some are smaller, some are white, others are black. Some farms specialize in one breed of pig.  Purebred breeding farms then sell their high quality males and females to other farmers. Most pigs raised today are a combination of two or three different breeds for the best traits from each breed

Let’s start at the very beginning… Sows

Sows can be bred by natural mating with boars or by artificial insemination. Artificial insemination allows farmers to buy the best genetics in the world without having to bring a new animal into the barn. It’s easy to remember that a sow’s gestation (pregnancy) lasts for approximately three months, three weeks, and three days.

The average sow can have 8-12 piglets in a litter, and gives birth approximately twice a year. Sows are put in special pens called ‘farrowing pens’, just before giving birth and while they nurse their piglets. The farrowing pen is designed to provide the best environment for both the large sow and the small piglets.

The bars on the pen give the sow something to lean against when she lies down, and the piglets have a safe area to stay out of harm’s way.

The area where the piglets sleep can be kept warm with a heat lamp or heat pad. Sows nurse their piglets for two to four weeks, until the piglets are weaned from milk and eat solid food.

Read more next time…

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