Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pig pregnancy tests

Pregnancy tested the herd today using the pregtone. It's a hand-held ultrasound that works by detecting the amniotic fluid in a pregnant pig.

In order to pregnancy test a pig you've got to get a good contact between the pig and the instrument, and it helps a lot if the sow sits still, which can be a problem with a 400lb animal.

We use vegetable oil for the contact oil -- if they eat it they'll be fine, and its relatively cheap. Although I'm not sure what people might think of us chasing the pigs through the pasture with a bottle of lubricant and a blue plastic thing.

I tested 6 pigs, and 5 turned out pregnant. Since this is a relatively new device for us that proof is in the pudding. We'll watch the sows that tested pregnant and see if they actually produce a littler in less than 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days, which is the normal gestation for a sow.

you apply the gadget to the sows belly a few inches in front of the rear leg, "aiming" for the area below the spine on the other side of the pig. After a couple of tries you can test a sow in 3 or 4 seconds. It works pretty well if they're at the feeder.

I pregnancy test the pigs to make sure they're doing what they should be. It's expensive to feed a full-grown sow,so if they're not coming up pregnant on a regular basis, it's time to go.

Not every sow works for my operation. I want a sow with a good attitude towards me, good mother instincts towards her piglets, and fertile.

In my pasture, a good mother will find a spot in the long grass and spend hours moving mouthfuls of grass into an alligator nest. She'll then dig a furrow down the center, and lay in that groove to have her babies.

A good mother will get up very very slowly, and lay down very very slowly, so as not to smother a piglet. She'll be protective of her brood, but allow me to handle them and inspect them provided that I do so in a way that doesn't cause them to squeal.

She'll spend appropriate amounts of time with her litter, and raise happy, fat piglets.


Mike said...

Wow, technology these days. Always getting better

Anonymous said...

It's official, you my friend have too much money to burn.


Anonymous said...

I really want a picture of you chasing pigs with a bottle of lubricant and a blue plastic thing! Great post!

Elizabeth Greene said...

It's been a while.. Was it accurate?


Bruce King said...

Yes. All sows that tested pregnant were.