Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Suisun Valley Farm Photos

I got some photos taken by the breeder who delivered the Mangalitsas to Suisun Valley Farm.

I figure it had to be an odd day for Shane; 50 or so 70-day old pigs show up all at once and they each have their idea of what they'd like to do - dig, eat, wallow, fight, etc. You go from having nothing to suddenly having 50 pigs, each with its own personality.

It can be overwhelming, especially if the farm isn't ready.

In this one you can see the pigs making a wallow. The pigs in the back on the left look to be fighting.

I should mention: it takes a lot of skill to turn out a uniform batch of pigs. Basically, the breeder has to plan out what boar to breed to what sow, to try to get something "in between". If she's got long legs, he ought to have short ones, and vice versa. The goal is that all your sows in a group all farrow on the same day, so that you get a uniform batch of pigs, all the same age. Then you try to help out the smaller pigs, so that they can catch up (as much as possible) to the bigger pigs.

It takes a lot of skill and attention to make this happen. If the farmer does a good job, it is because he's able to effect "unnaturally good" results of all pigs thriving. The "natural" result (observed in nature or on farms without attentive management) is for the weak to remain weak, because the stronger pigs dominate them and hoard all important resources like food, shelter and water. So you'll see weak sows producing weak pigs - some of which die.

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