Pig check point – 15 weeks old

I hope they enjoy the view

I hope they enjoy the view

The two Tamworth weaners arrived on 20 July so they’ve only been here for just over 4 weeks now but to me it seems longer. The twice daily feeds are hugely entertaining and they look to be having a wonderful time in the woods.

One thing I’ve certainly been surprised by is their impressive turn of speed on the rare occasions that I manage to quietly sneak up on them before  rattling the food bucket. Maybe I should start running regular piglet racing events in the North Pennines?

They were born around 1 May so they are around 15 weeks old or if all goes well just over half way there according to the information I’ve read.

They will be going off to slaughter at about 26 weeks of age but this is only a rough guide and working out the weight helps clarify this as I’m aiming for around 60-65kg if all goes to plan.

The first weigh-in

Engrossed in their breakfast

Engrossed in their breakfast

According to a range of sources the calculation for weight from measurements using metric units goes something like this:

Heart Girth ²  x Length x 69.3

Now that they are more comfortable around humans it is possible to think about measuring them to gauge their progress. Distracting them with their breakfast also helps to keep them occupied and there were none of the problems I’d expected.

The “Heart Girth” (measuring around the body just behind the front legs) was about 71 cm  which is 0.71 metres (because this calculation uses metres).

The length was roughly 85 cm (measured from between the ears to the base of the tail) which is 0.85 metres

So using the approximate measurements I’ve taken on the larger of the two pigs I get this:

Heart Girth = 0.71 x 0.71 = 0.5041

Girth Result * Length = 0.5041 * 0.85  = 0.428485

Approximate weight = 0.428485 * 69.3 = 29.69 kg

However I noticed in the Haynes Pig Manual (by Liz Shankland – http://www.biggingerpigs.com/) that a small deduction should be made for Tamworths because “they don’t have much of a rear end”.

According to this calculation the larger pig weighs somewhere between 25-30kg so perhaps a little behind schedule for their age. However I’m aware that the slower growing rare breeds like Tamworths can easily put on a little fat if you’re not careful so I’m happy with the general progress and will only increase their feed a bit at a time.

The plan is to take them off to the abattoir around the beginning of November which is about 11 – 12 weeks from now and by then they will be 26 weeks or just a little over. A second weigh-in at the end of September will give a better idea of how they are doing though.

Their handiwork

All the predictions about the rooting capabilities are proving right so it’s lucky that they are in some well-established woodland which can take the beating…

Great for clearing willowherb

Great for clearing willowherb

They were particularly fond of something which was growing among a patch of nettles but I can’t name that plant because they ate it all very quickly! Luckily the dry stone wall is very solidly built and has probably stood for many years so they’ll have to work hard to knock it down!

Even nettles don't stand a chance

Even nettles don’t stand a chance

 

3 Comments

  1. Reading this reminds me of when we got our first weaners 🙂 We found it easiest to measure them when they were eating too. Then an old guy at the abattoir said “If you could balance a tea tray on their backs, they’re ready to go” – we stuck to measuring though. Hope you enjoy having them as much as we do!

  2. Pingback: Pig check point – 19 weeks old | Small Plot, Big Ideas

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