We’ve located a Tamworth boar we could buy to knock up Wilma and Betty (don’t worry, we haven’t eaten Blossom… yet), but there’s no option to rent, so to speak. Are we ready for a boar or should we just go with artificial insemination?
On the pro-boar side, we’d have a limitless (okay, so at least for a couple of years) supply of piglet potion – no need to buy pig semen, pay a vet to do the deed, or have to learn to perform the procedure ourselves (and buy the necessary gear).
On the pro-AI side, we simply don’t have that much land, which means we don’t have enough space to keep the mister separated from the gals. Translation: we’ll be all piglets, all the time… which runs us back against the space issue. We can’t sustain more than 20 pigs on this farm (even that’s an optimistic guess), and Tamworths average 8 piglets per litter but can pop out as many as 12. Compounding the issue, pigs raised for bacon are kept 2 or more months longer than “porkers” (8-10 months vs. 6-8 months), so with a gestation of 3 month+, our gals will likely pop out the next batch before the first piglets are ready for processing. (And we’d have to worry about papa knocking up his now of age female progeny.) It already smells enough like pig here with 3. And we simply don’t need that much bacon.
The other downside is that, unlike all our other animals, we can’t just change our mind on a boar and send him to the abattoir. Meat from an uncastrated male pig has a funky flavor referred to as boar taint. So if he doesn’t work out, I just bought some really expensive future dog food.
However. Instead of raising all our piglets for consumption, we could sell them as weaners to other farmers (just like how we procured our gals in the first place as 8 week olds). At $125 a weaner, that may have a nicer profit margin than raising the pig as a “bacon-er” when you calc in all that feed. So now we’re back to considering the boar, assuming we can drum up enough potential buyers.