Look for good confirmation and structure when buying an older pig.
Some people love pigs. They enjoy the quirky nature and unique appearance of the pig. They even find spending time with their pig quite restful. Another interesting possibility is showing your pig. You need to be seriously committed to this, though. Pigs are not always the most straightforward of farm animals. They can be prone to illness, and this can spread if you have more than one. They need regular and consistent care. If you decide to show your pig, this will take some extra time, so you can train it to perform to the judge's expectations.
Research pigs and shows, particularly if this is a new venture. Attend shows and learn about the different breeds. Develop an awareness of what the judges are looking for, and the way that the person showing the champions interact with them as they lead them before the judges. Speak to the old farmers and take as much advice as possible.
Choose your piglets according to their genetics, appearance and health. Consult your veterinarian about health care and vaccinations. Pigs are prone to disease. This disease may be caused by virus, bacteria or parasites. Your pigs will need vaccinating against a range of disease, including Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), Porcine Circovirues Type 2 (PVC2) and Swine Influenza Virus (SIV).
Observe your pigs carefully. The first few weeks are crucial. You should look for a good appetite, a temperature of 102.5 degrees, a sleek coat and a curly tail. If you see any deviation from this, consult your veterinarian. Feed your young starter pigs about 25 lbs of suitable pig feed every week. Ask your veterinarian's advice about supplementary feed and minerals. Ensure your pigs have access to plenty of clean water.
House your pigs in well-ventilated, clean pens. Protect them from adverse weather conditions with a roof. Clean the pens every day, and bed with either clean straw or wood shavings.
Spend time with your pig every day to train it. Work for short intense sessions, using a cane to steer the pig in the direction you want it to go. Tap the pig on the front half of its body: on the right if you want it to go left and vice versa. Never hit it and do not tap it on the top, loin or ham area.
- Look for good confirmation and structure when buying an older pig.
Noreen Wainwright has been writing since 1997. Her work has appeared in "The Daily Telegraph," "The Guardian," "The Countryman" and "The Lady." She has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Liverpool Polytechnic and a postgraduate law degree from Staffordshire University.