Livestock First Ranch Breeding Herd

All pigs raised at Livestock First are born on-site. It is common practice for small producers to purchase mature animals from other farms/ranches and raise them as their own. At LFR all pigs are sired by 800-pound resident Berkshire boar, Cromwell. Cromwell was purchased as a baby pig from an Oklahoma breeder, along with LFR's first two sows (gilts at the time) P.I.T.A. and Ms. Kreuger. Each pig carries a pedigree, produced from herds with heritage. The herd has grown with new sows, Hill, Michelle, Badu, and Panchalita among others. Each sow breeds twice yearly with Berkshire litters typically smaller than those of commodity breeds. Litter sizes range from 6-12 baby pigs on average, though three litters of 15 were birthed in 2010. Baby pigs are kept with their mother for a period of 6-10 weeks dependent upon litter size and size of the mother at birth. Sows perform better than gilts and their babies grow faster and larger. Upon weaning the baby pigs are transported from their birthing huts to pasture where they will mature with contemporaries from other litters. After being separated from her young, the sow is escorted back to pasture until she achieves sufficient weight gain before being re-introduced to her suitor. Sows lose a significant amount of weight while nursing, and if they are re-introduced to a boar too soon, complications are likely among their next litter. Neither Cromwell nor any of LFR's sows will be used for meat once they can no longer breed. Current herd size is sufficient to meet production needs, yet room is available for a larger family.