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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Keeping pigs
...Farrowing pigs
...Feeding pigs
...Pig breeds
>..Pig Selection
...Weaning piglets

The selection of breed depends partly on how you intend to rear them and also on what you intend to do with the produce.

If you are aiming for the home-freezer market, a good pork pig is necessary. Bacon pigs are generally produced on contract. We make our own bacon for home consumption. We make ours from mainly pork weight animals as that is what we produce most of.

Having chosen a breed, or a hybrid, look in the magazines Farmers Weekly and Pig Farmer. These provide advertisements of suppliers. You can also look through the pig farmers in Yellow Pages. Many producers of pork or bacon pigs buy in all their stock as weaners they never breed their own. Many breeders sell all the piglets they produce: they never grow any on except as replacement breeding stock. Some producers breed and rear we do.

One way to get in at the deep end is to buy in gilts. A gilt is a young female pig that is about to produce her first litter. You buy her, bring her home and then wait for the day. It should not be a case of 'buying a pig in a poke'. You can study the records of the gilt's parents and grandparents, the numbers of live births and so on. It is essential to go to a reputable breeder; here you will buy a good animal and get a lot of advice. If he sees you as a repeat buyer, you will get his full attention because top breeders make a lot of their income selling in pig gilts.