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Archive for October, 2010

This past weekend we went to the Virginia State Fair with 9 show pigs from the farm. Bossman stayed home with his new baby and so Jake and I took the lead. Our drift of pigs included: 1 Spot, 1 Duroc, 2 Chesters, 1 Hampshire and 4 Yorkshire crosses.

I’d like to think of this past year as time spent rebuilding. We improved the genetics of our pigs by outsourcing with artificial insemination. And according to the show results it was a success! With 2 pigs placing 1st and a few others placing well against strong competition. We know where our weaknesses are and what to do to improve on our pigs for next year.

At the same time we did not keep our most “extreme” gilt because we still want to have safe breeders. The problem with breeding only for the show ring is that with the current trend this leads to pigs who break down physically (their bone structure does not hold up to the weight of the excess muscle mass! If anyone is familiar with the Halter bred Quarter Horses then you will know the type of unsoundness I am talking about) and sows who have trouble birthing.

We are also culling the other end of our show pigs. The Hampshire gilt who had started off looking decent has ended up not growing the way we thought she would. She ended up too tall and much too narrow. Narrow enough that she also would have problems breeding.

Overall, I have really enjoyed watching the improvement of our pigs from last year to this year. It is exciting to be a part of the births, raising the piglets, choosing the best ones and helping them mature. I was also very excited that the judge placed Olivia’s daughter, Olive, in her class. And by place, I don’t mean last place! With Spots being a breed that many judges have a biased against I was very happy to come in at the top-middle of the class (closer to 1st place than last! lol).

In all we had a pretty good weekend. I am still waiting on pictures to be posted by my friend, Claire, so keep checking back! She was a great help at the Fair and even showed a pig for us! And thanks for being so patient with my slow and relatively infrequent updates. It has been crazy-busy all year!

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