NEW BREEDER INFORMATION
Prospective member/breeder information
There are many questions you will have as you think about becoming a new Large Black pig owner and/or breeder. This will be a brief overview of what to expect. Check with the FAQ page to see if there is an answer for any questions you still have after reading this introduction. You can also visit our Forums and The Hog Holler for the latest news. Our website has all sorts of useful information, feel free to look through all of the menu items and pages. One important stop is the Code of Ethics we expect our members to follow, these should help give you some peace of mind when you buy your stock.
Bloodlines in the US
- Noble Sam
- Iowa Alrose
Thinking about buying Large Black breeding stock?
The Large Black Pig/Hog or English Black is truly a remarkable animal. The breed, as a general rule, has a very sane, calm temperament. They are excellent mothers and do very well in all types of climate situations. Take the time to read all you can about Large Blacks. Learn about the different family lines here in the US, and how the LBPBU can assist you in finding compatible breeding animals. You can look on the Forums on our website, call breeders that are listed on the Member List, or use a search engine to find stock. What works well for one farm, may not work well with yours. Getting many viewpoints and being able to visit many farms (even online) can help you figure out what will work best for your farm. Each conversation I have, I learn something and hope that I impart something useful.
When purchasing an animal from another state, please check into the state regulations for interstate travel. If you have questions and for the most up to date information, contact your local vet. Make sure you consider driving versus shipping costs into the price of your pigs. Air shipping might be possible with certain breeders, but not offered by everyone. Trucking is another consideration. Weather conditions are important in determining shipping feasibility. Too hot or too cold may affect transportation when possible.
Find out if the breeder you are buying pigs from has wormed your pigs. It is a common request by the buyer, to have the seller worm pigs before transport to their new farm. This practice could help prevent the spread of parasites from farm to farm. Some buyers may choose to do this on their own farms so that they can control the process used.
The stress of shipping can cause loose stools in pigs. Try to get a few pounds of feed from the breeder you acquired your pig from and mis this with the new feed that you will be giving. This will help reduce stress on your pig. You may ask the breeder to hold back feed for at least 12 hours before shipping your pigs. This will reduce the likelihood that your pigs will soil their crate, or stink up the cargo area of a plane, the back of a truck, or the front seat of your new minivan. Personally, I plan for this by bringing small garbage or pet bags and a kitty litter scoop. The first thing that animal will do is make his mark on the new area. The quicker it is removed or sealed in a bag, the better your journey will smell. I always bed with either wood chips or grass hay.
If your journey is by auto and is a relatively long one, stop every hour or two and water the little oinker. Chances are that they will not drink very much, but always give them the option. Larger CAFO operations may put supplements in the water prior to shipping that help prevent the dehydration of the animals. One such supplement is called Grazix.
My pigs are home!
The breeder is responsible for transferring your animal to you. We have a detailed hog transfer system. If you ever have any questions, please call 567-674-2542. Someday, when your pigs have a litter, you will need to register the litter or submit a birth notification. It will be your responsibility as breeder to only sell and register pigs that are of the breed standard. Pigs that do not meet the standard should not be registered or bred. The gene pool is very small for this breed. It is our duty to follow the code of ethics and standards of the breed.
When you bring your pigs home, you must settle them in. It is always a good idea to quarantine your new animals from the rest of your animals. This gives you an opportunity to catch any illnesses or hog lice, etc. prior to them entering the herd. Large Blacks are easy to train to electric fence. If they are trained to fencing already, then you can pen them in a contained area for a few days to let them get used to the sounds and smells of your farm. They will need to feel safe before you turn them loose.
Our quarantine policy is to keep them separate from everyone one else for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks. We will tend to everyone else in the barn, and then the newcomers. Ideally, they would be at least 100 yards or more away from the rest of the herd, but this is not a likely scenario for most small farms. Keep the feed buckets, waterers and tools used with the isolated pig separate from the rest of your animals and feed sources. It is a bit of work, but it can be done and is worth it for the health and safety of the new animal as well as the established herd.
After the quarantine period, you can let them venture out. They will invariably find the edge of their pen and walk the entire perimeter. Make sure there is a strand of electric at or near the high nose and low nose positions of your pigs. A few tests of the electric fencing will convince them to stay in the pen. They need to feel safe inside their fencings and quite afraid of anything on the other side of the fence. Electric fencing is a psychological barrier and need to be properly installed and maintained to make sure your pigs stay in. Electric as well as a perimeter field fence will help with keeping the animals at home.
Moving pigs around the farm is a common chore. Rotational grazing is common with Large Blacks and can be difficult with certain ones. Just remember to be fair and calm. Do not chase a pig, they will always outrun you. When all else fails, use your head. The use of a hog panel, a pig box, or bucket over the pig’s head, can all help get the pig to where it belongs. We spend time with our animals as I am sure you will. They are cute and so personable that it is difficult not to gravitate towards them. Some of the time I am with them is spent feeding and watering, typical chores, but I am also watching how they are moving, gauging their weight gain (or loss), inspecting how they are interacting with each other from afar. After this initial period of observation, I will then spend time petting and touching and using each of their names while doing so. This gets them used to both you and their names. By implementing this process, when it comes time to move them from pasture to pasture or pen to pen, I call the name of the animal I wish to move. Invariably, the animal called will be the animal who comes. It makes those rotating chores so much easier to manage.
Definitions and recommendations for breeding
Line breeding is the mating together of related animals. That is, the two animals mated have ancestors that are the same. The strength of linebreeding is that it makes animals more uniform, so they are more predictable as to looks and performance. Too much of it, though, can lead to depression of growth, immune function, deformities, and reproductive traits.
Inbreeding is also the mating together of related animals.
The question then becomes, what is the difference between line-breeding and inbreeding? In most cases, inbreeding can be considered to be the mating together of first degree relatives, such as parent to offspring or brother to sister. Line-breeding is more distant than this. In general, inbreeding comes with more risk of depression than does line-breeding but there is no absolute magical threshold.
Line-crossing is a mating between two unrelated lines of a single breed. The results counteract the depression of inbreeding or line-breeding, but likewise, produce animals that are a bit more difficult to predict as to productive ability.
Crossbreeding is the mating of animals of two different breeds.
Coefficient of inbreeding
The coefficient of inbreeding is a useful figure. It is the probability that any two genes in an animal are identical because they came from the same ancestors. So, automatically, all line-crossed animals have a coefficient of inbreeding of zero, because the ancestors are all different. In contrast, the coefficient of a closely inbred animal may be 25% or greater. Parent to offspring matings produce offspring with a coefficient of inbreeding of 25%. The higher the coefficient, the more likely depression will set in. Safe levels are usually in the 10-15% range, but individual animals and families very in their resistance to inbreeding depression so that absolute figures are difficult to pin down.
Definitions and breeding recommendations gleaned from – D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD
Professor, Pathology and Genetics