Sunday, November 26, 2006

Learning about pigs

We just discovered that one of the pigs has a hernia. Apparently this is rather common in pigs. I've never heard of a goat or a sheep having one, but the pig farmers on my Internet list say it's common in pigs. We haven't added a new species of animal to the farm in a few years, so it's unusual for me to be so unsure about how to handle a situation. I am back on-line, asking for advice from seasoned veterans. Having a problem with a pig is very interesting and probably very unnerving for most people -- since it is a food animal, there is no question about it's value. It doesn't make a lot of sense to run up a big vet bill when you're just going to eat the animal in a few months. In this case, it looks like he'll become dinner sooner rather than later.

I've also learned that hernias in pigs are hereditary, so I wouldn't want to breed him -- except that he is a barrow (castrated male). Makes me wonder though if the gilt is related to him. If so, it might not be a good idea to keep her for breeding. I wouldn't want to have a bunch of piglets with hernias.

I've also learned a lot about castrating. Apparently if you're going to butcher a pig at six months, you really don't need to castrate him. They'll grow faster if they're not castrated, and they don't reach sexual maturity by then, so it doesn't affect the taste of the meat. So, I've decided that whenever we do decide to start raising our own piglets, we won't be castrating them. Makes no sense to put them through the misery of castration if it's unnecessary.

With the unseasonable weather we've been having (temps in the 60s!!!), we're getting a lot of work done outside. The yard and the barn are looking nice. Looks like we'll have a few more nice days, then the temperatures will be back below freezing.

My Thanksgiving break from school is ending, so tomorrow, it's back to class. Only three weeks to go, then I'll have a month off. Seed catalogs start to arrive after Christmas, and I can't wait to start planning the garden for next spring!

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