How do I register a pig with the GOSPBU if it is already registered with GOSA?
Actually this is very easy to do. Just scan or take a photo of the GOSA registration and email or upload it to the GOSPBU Registrar. Fill out the membership application if you are not already a member. Your new GOSPBU registration paper will be mailed to you.
Why should I register with the GOSPBU if I am already a member of the GOSA?
We are not against registration with the GOSA. We realize it could add to confusion for a brief time, but are dedicated to providing today’s GOS breeders with the best service and satisfaction with our tools for streamlining the registration process. We also offer a CI calculator which is exclusive to GOSPBU members only. We are also dedicated to the advancement of the GOS breed.
Why don’t you require photo’s of registered pigs?
Many of the breeders in the past were quite bogged down with pictures of pigs for registration. It is not much to do if you only have a few pigs to photograph, but can become cumbersome with several litters at one time. The registrar position has also complained about the photo process. We realize that the spot pattern on a GOS is unique, and often can help with identification, but this is not practical. It is the pig owners’ responsibility to know which pigs are which; whether it is from notches, tags, or tattoos. Keep pictures of your pigs to help with identification.
Some people say that photographs are important, and that they are afraid that people will register impure GOS hogs. How can this be prevented?
This is a problem in all breeds, not just swine. We at the GOSPBU adhere to the code of ethics, and require all members to do so as well. Any breeder found registering impure pigs as pure GOS, will be ejected from the club, and all pigs registered by them will become void until a hearing process and possible DNA verification prove the lineage.
There are many GOS crossed pigs that appear to look like pure GOS. The point being, the photo means nothing; it is the integrity of the breeder that is the backbone of a registry.
How old should a pig be before I decide if it is quality or not?
Ideally the pig should be as old as possible, but this is not practical. A pig that looks great at 8 weeks might not mature to the standards of the breed. It is up to you, the breeder, to breed GOS pigs that will help the health of the herd. If you determine a pig is not helping the genetics of the herd, please retire that animal.
Will the Livestock Conservancy (formerly ALBC) recognize the GOSPBU as a legitimate GOS association and registry?
The Livestock Conservancy will work with us as a recognized GOS pig breed association and registry. How lucky we are to have The Livestock Conservancy! We strongly support all the work they do with heritage breeds, and we are grateful to them for being such a valuable resource.
What if I have a pig with health issues? Do I report it? I do not want my farm to be negatively affected if word gets out on an issue my animal has.
This is a concern. We are fortunate to have a world renowned swine vet to assist us with health issues, Dr. John Carr. If a certain GOS pig you own has health issues, please report it to Jenny Blaney. She is working with Dr. Carr to form a searchable, relational health database. We owe it to the breed, and breeders to report issues that may have a genetic cause.
Can I expect my sows to farrow in huts, in winter without heat?
Yes, talk to breeders that have success with winter farrowing. It is not hard, as the pigs do most of the work. Try to develop a base of hay a few weeks prior to farrowing. Let the sow in a week or so before she is due, and limit the access she has to a source of hay; they will often over pack a hut with hay while building a nest. Keep the drafts and moisture at a minimum, and the results will amaze the skeptic.
What do I do if my pig goes off feed?
Look for signs of stress, difficulty breathing, high temperature etc. Contact your vet if you think it is an emergency. Sometimes a pig in heat will not have a huge appetite. Try to rule out a serious health issue before calling the vet.
When should I call a vet?
The best thing to do is form a relationship with your vet. Invite the vet out to see your operation, and walk the farm with you; ask for suggestions. Then, when something does happen, and it likely will, the vet will understand your farm and livestock issues.
How many litters will a sow have in a year?
The gestation period of a GOS sow is 3 months 3 weeks and 3 days. They will typically have 2 litters per year.
How many piglets are typical per litter?
This is a variable number. Sow and Boar fertility, survival, disease, and general health can affect this number. On average, most GOS sows have 6-8 piglets per litter.
How old will a sow be when she reaches reproductive age?
Gilts can become reproductive at 6-7 moths. They will typically have their first litter on or about their first birthday; if allowed to run with the boar.
Should the sow be kept separate from the boar?
They do not need to be kept apart. Pigs are very social animals, and do well together. Some breeders like to separate the sow two weeks prior to farrowing, but then allow them to return to the herd after a week or two. Remember to notch their ears before they have a chance to mix with piglets from other litters.
Should we castrate our boar piglets?
This is up to you and your customers. Some processors have refused to take intact boars for slaughter. If you know the pigs are going to be for the table, then castration should be performed at three days old. If you are Animal Welfare Approved, you will need to follow their protocol.
I have never raised pigs before. Where may I find more information?
Find a copy of “Small Scale Pig Raising” by Dirk VanLoon. It is out of print, but still available on ebay or amazon. Check out our blog, and look at the Yahoo Groups pages such as Homestead Hogs. Information is out there, you just need to look for it.
What should I do with my registration paper if my pig dies?
Please inform the registrar of any pig that is no longer alive. We need to keep an accurate population census.
Can I vaccinate my pig for rabies?
A swine vaccine is not available, at this time.
How many pigs can I keep in one pasture?
This has too many variables. Weather, soil type, and the age of pigs all determine the length on pasture. Generally, you can keep them on a pasture until they graze the forage down to a few inches tall. If there is more attractive food underground, such as worms and grubs, than the choice of forage offered to them, they will root.
Should I ring their noses?
That is up to you and your philosophy. Most people that are into pastured animals are against this as a practice.
How old will a GOS pig live or be reproductive?
This is a difficult question to answer. Old spots have been reproductive to 9 years or so. Many will not reach that age, or be able to reproduce that long. More data needs to be collected on this topic. Many farms cull at a younger age if the sow becomes too large etc.