Thursday, April 16, 2009
There's a nice photo of a Mangalitsa sow on this Hungarian-language web page.
I was struck by how short the fence is and how small her feet are. Those little feet have to hold up all that fat.
Pigs are judged on their feet - particularly sows. If a sow doesn't have good feet, she can't take the weight of a boar (assuming you are doing natural service). Also, her own weight will lead to joint troubles. If she can't get up and move, she can't eat - and that's it for her.
For comparison, here's a female wild boar. Her feet look a lot like the Mangalitsa. She's able to support her weight and move around on challenging ground:
Here's an old farm manual on good feet. Here's another. Now we've got great pictures to guide people: like this modern one (PDF).
In addition to getting judged on their feet, sows get judged on their underline (e.g. nipples) and their vulvas - as animals whose job is to reproduce, they are judged on their reproductive abilities (PDF).
Posted by Heath Putnam at 12:05 AM