Raising hogs for breeding or show is probably one of the most common 4-H livestock projects. It doesn't require a large amount of money or expensive buildings and equipment and it can be completed in about four months.
Eight major breeds of hogs are commonly used for breeding in the United States. In general, the five dark breeds--Berkshire, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China, and Spot are known and used for their siring ability and potential to pass along their durability, leanness, and meatiness to offspring. The three white breeds-- Chester White, Landrance, and Yorkshire are sought after for their reproductive and mothering abilities. * Yorkshire: The most sought after breed, Yorks are good mothers and produce large litters. They exhibit a long, big frame and are white with erect ears. * Chester White: Solid white, these pigs have medium sized, droopy ears. They usually have large litters and sought for their mothering ability. Boars of this breed are usually aggressive. * Berkshire: Black with six white points (nose, tail, and legs), these hogs have erect ears and a short, dished snout. They work well in sed facilities and are noted for their siring ability. * Duroc: These hogs, noted for their fast growth and good feed efficiency, are a reddish color with droopy ears. On the average, this breed needs less feed to make a pound of muscle than the other breeds. * Hampshire: These hogs are black with a white belt that extends from one front leg, over the shoulder, and down the other front leg. They have erect ears and are popular for their lean, meaty carcasses. * Poland China: Like the Berkshire, this breed has six white points on a black body. They have medium sized droopy ears and produce meaty carcasses with large loin eyes. * Spot: White with black spot, this breed has the same type of ears as the Poland China. These hogs are known for producing pigs with a high growth rate. * Landrance: Like the other white hogs, this breed is known for the sow's mothering ability. They have very large, floppy ears, are long-bodied, and have the highest weaned average of any breed, as well as the highest average post-weaning survival rate. No breed of swine is superior to the others. You should select pig based on its physical characteristics and the performance of its relatives (if you can get that information). Good quality feeder pigs should appear healthy, thrifty, vigorous, and alert. It is important to maintain the health of your pig. The first 2 or 3 weeks are critical, so you should check your pigs several times each day during this period. Strong appetites, body temperatures of 102.5° F, sleek haircoats, and tightly curled tails are all signs of a healthy pig. Healthy pigs are active and alert with bright looks in their eyes. -------------------------------------------------
A pig will give you many clues when it isn't feeling well. some of the clues are poor appetite, guantness, rough hair coat, a dull look in the eyes, excessive coughing, diarrhea, inactivity and lameness.
If you think a pig is sick, take its rectal temperature. If it is 2 degrees or more above normal, call a veterinarian immediately.
A common problem with pig is stress. Hauling, vaccinating, introducing it to strange surroundings and strange pigs can scare or stress a pig. When a pig is stressed, it will be more susceptible to sickness. It may eat less feed and grow slower. It is important to minimize stress, especially when you first get your pig home. Some common diseases are pneumonia, pseudo rabies (mad itch), and swine dysentery. Swine can also have external parasites, such as lice and mange mites, and internal parasites which live inside the pig's body. If your pig looks or acts sick, call a veterinarian immediately. There are many medications that are very effective in treating swine ailments, but you have to start early in the illness. You will want a pig that has the proper amount of finish (fat...
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