We decided to breed her by artificially inseminating her. It seemed like a much easier choice than bringing a boar over.
So we began to keep track of her cycle which is every three weeks (21 days). The signs are not difficult to detect, but of course she was not going to let us have an easy time of it.
One of the reasons it was a bit difficult for us was becasue she is the only pig on site. This will make heat a little bit more difficult to detect at first.
|Snuggled in the Middle|
There is a small window of opportunity (2-3 days) with which you have to work with in order to actually inseminate.
Watching her behaviour and dates was key. This took us a few cycles to put all the pieces together. Granted not all pigs are as difficult as ours is. We have a friend who has a sow that practically tells you she's in heat and no boar is present. Easy peasy for them! Not so much for us!
What we needed to look for:
-loss of appetite
-chewing on things
-swollen and pink vulva
-vocal (oinking, grunting etc.)
-looking for attention
and the most important sign, is she standing!
This was the part that gave us trouble! She would not stand! In order to know if it is time to inseminate all of the other signs must be visible and we should have been able to sit on her back end and have her ears go up and forward, and have her hind legs lock up as if she is ready to receive the weight of the boar. This is when you know it's time!
Well, we could not get her to lock up. At all. She showed all the signs, but would not do this one last and very important step. This threw us off these last three months and caused us to miss that window of opportunity.
After three months of tracking her we decided to give it a shot anyway. We had all of the other signs in place, but no locking up. We would have to put her down and send her to the butchers if we couldn't make this work. We thought it was worth the try and don't really want to see her go.
We tried to time everything correctly based on the signs listed above. We were able to put food down for her to keep her distracted so we could A.I. her.
It went as well as it could go. She did move around a bit, which is why
"standing" is preferred! We A.I.'d her once in the morning the first day and then again the following morning.
It's definitely been a learning experience. Not everything goes as smoothly as expected. Animals all have different personalities and things don't always work textbook perfect.
|300+ lbs. Later|
We will see what happens next week with her cycle. If she shows no sign of going into heat we will know that it was successful and can expect piglets in 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days. Technically, 3 months, 3days since 3weeks have already passed.
If she is pregnant, then we have to pray for a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and that she's a good momma! Yikes!