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Pig Foaming At The Mouth

Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
OK next 'issue'...

We have two 18 month old boars, brothers - one has not been castrated, Max, and the other, Co, has (done before we got him).
They're on pasture in the same space.

The observation is with Max. He's foaming at the mouth and is pawing at the ground a fair bit and this has been going on for two weeks. I'm hoping that it's just male hormones but it's going on a bit.

Yes they were right next to our little 6 month old females for 3 days as we had an emergency escaping of the Big Boys and needed to safely pen them until the problem was fixed. But there was a mains voltage 3 wire fence between them - I realise that that doesn't stop those lovely female scents from wafting over and one of the girls was on heat. Males and females are now separated by 30m / 30yds, two electric fences and the wind has been in the east for 3 days (girls are to the west of the boys) but still he foams.

They're still eating exactly the same as they always have.

He isn't running about demented and attacking Co. He did get a wound (small surface one about 5cm/2in long) when the wild boar was hanging around last September.

He seems fine in all other ways.

I don't want to call the vet out (with his extortionate charges for a home visit) if it's just normal behaviour.

Reassurance? Worries?
Ken Peavey
steward

Joined: Dec 21, 2009
Posts: 2206
Location: FL
    
  58
I think it would be prudent to quarantine Max.

Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
http://farmwhisperer.com
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Max sounds like perfectly normal boar. He is horny and may not fine Co to be 'enough'. Being in with the females, provided they don't have piglets, would probably take care of the issue. We run our boars with the breeding herds. It keeps the horny-moans down by using up their energy where I want it - breeding the ladies. We want litters year round so this works for us. If you're trying to control the breeding then you might want to be separating them some but still, most of the time they could be together.

If you must keep them separate then it would be best to keep the boar upwind of the ladies, visually blocked and widely separated as well as very securely fenced. He's only 18 months old so he's not full size yet. Our big boars get to 1,000 or even 1,700 lbs. They simply hop over 4' high voltage electric fences if what they want is on the other side. Fencing the females is easier as the boars then stay with them.

The small wound I would expect to be healed up by now. The fact that it is not yet healed up is somewhat of a concern. How does it look? Puss? Redness? Abbess? Smell?

The wild boar is a concern. They can transmit disease to your herd. Improve your fencing to keep him out and consider if you want to kill wild boars. In these parts there are no native wild pigs so killing feral pigs is the rule. If I remember you're in France(?) so things may be different.

Breed for temperament. Do not keep any boars, or sows, who have bad tempers. If you have problem animals, eat them. It is not worth the risk to have dangerous tempered animals on the farmstead. Remember, someone has to go to butcher each cycle. Breed the best of the best and eat the rest.

Curiosity question: why do you have an 18 month old barrow? (Castrate male) I'm surprised you haven't eaten him by now. Is he for keeping Max company? If so what about keeping Max and the sows together - they they'll be company to each other and there is no need to support the expense of the barrow.

Cheers

-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/csa
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
Thank you Walter - that's what I had been hoping was the case. He's not visually blocked from them so maybe that's what's driving him nuts. I'd love to have them all together but we don't want anymore piglets just yet.

The wound - sorry I obviously didn't explain that well. No, it was healed within a week - no sign of it now.

We only wanted piglets so that we knew the provenance of our own meat not to be breeders. There are massive amounts of paperwork and red tape here if you want to breed animals for market and we just want a simple life.

So we got Max with the intention of him servicing Maybelline once a year and selling the excess piglets as weaners. He of course needed a friend so, as you so rightly guessed, we got Co also (named to be nameless, Max & Co, as he was destined for the freezer). Maybelline had 8 piglets by Max last June which was bad timing as folk here want to raise weaners throughout the summer and cull them Oct/Nov and our guys wouldn't have been big enough. We consequently have 5 of that litter still with us.

Then in stepped Monsieur Sanglier (the wild boar) and the plans went up the wall. He was shot by La Chasse in November but we'd taken your advice on whacking up the electric fence voltage anyway (it's now mains voltage not battery) to stop our piglets escaping so hopefully any further savages will now be deterred (we have fencing too). Maybelline has just had 10 piglets as a result of that foray so we're coming down with pigs and have enough stock to last us for 3 years even though 7 of this 10 are now spoken for in March as weaners.

Sadly therefore we don't need Max's services for quite some time so we think we'll despatch him and get another boar when we need one again. It is sad because Max has a lovely temperament and will roll over when it's not food time in the hope of getting a scratch. I understand completely about breeding for temperament - when we got Maybelline and her sister Rimmel, it was Maybelline that was initially destined for the freezer but Rimmel was a nasty bitey pig and I was glad when she got processed. Maybelline on the other hand is a sweetie and will let our boys ride around on her back. It seems that Co's fate has changed as he's now our least risk pig and will become Maybelline's companion.

Another question - how old generally should the piglets be before they can all be reunited in one pasture?
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Piglets can go out on the pasture as soon as you like. They'll stick to the sow. In the warm months our piglets are born out on pasture and stay there their whole lives. In the spring we'll put them out on pasture as soon as the pasture is ready.
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
Is it dangerous for them to sleep with the others? We have one pig house in each pasture area (9 areas of about 700m2/830yd2 each with between 2 and 5 pigs on each - only 3 being used at one time). They are currently on one pasture area with their Mum so they have a private condo for their own use but this means that 4 areas are curently being used so the recovery rate is hit.
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote:Is it dangerous for them to sleep with the others?


No. The issue is in winter they may cuddle too tight crushing smaller pigs. The solution is to provide wind break, roof if wet weather (rain), plenty of dry bedding and break up the pigs to small groups (say <30) as it gets colder. During the summer they naturally break apart into cohorts. It is during winter (in our cold climate) that they need encouragement and extra support. Of course, each climate is different so adjust as needed. Using creeps is useful.
 
 
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