Monday, August 9, 2010

Debate with Walter Jefferies

I offered Walter Jeffries $10,000 to raise 4 pigs following his own guidelines.  He declined.  You can see the offer and the comments here.  

Walter Jefferies over at Sugar Mountain farm has talked a lot on the net about pastured pigs, and the majority of his writing is good stuff.  He's an interesting fellow with strong views on a number of topics.  He's even on TV doing interviews.   In this interview, he claims to have been raising pigs for 12 generations.  In his blog, in this entry, he claims to have started raising pigs in 2002 or 2003.  2010-2003 = 7 years.

UPDATE 8-15-2010:  Concensus opinion is that it takes 1 year per generation.  Sorry Walter.  See the comments, below
Unless Walter is doing something magical, you're going to get at best 7 generations out of 7 years.  So I asked him about it.

You'll find the discussion in the order it happened on homestead hogs in the comments below.  You can find the original here.

Why am I posting this here?  Walter and I were asked to take the discussion off board, and Walter has complained that the other place he posted stuff to,, has a bias against him.

Well Walter - and everyone else  -- I won't delete anything you say.  I'll post it all.   Enjoy.


Bruce King said...

Re: [homesteadhogs] Re: breeding age

On Aug 12, 2010, at 5:11 PM, JADDarnall@... wrote:
> raised Duroc.. meaner than junkyard dogs ... I know now, they were
> psychotic from their environment, back then, that was the way it
> was done.

Temple Grandin talks about how temperament was not considered for a
long time during the breeding of commercial pigs and the result was,
as you say, mean animals. After reading her notes on that I went back
over our herd records and it popped right out at me - the bad
tempered ones were all related in a clear line back to one sow. I
culled her and all of her descendants. The rest of the herd are far
better tempered animals.

There is another temperament trait we have identified - hesitant
pigs. They balk and run too easily making them hard to herd and work
with. We're working on culling those genes out now.

Rectal prolapse was another gene we have worked to cull out. We never
had a lot of them but by tracing the lineages and culling we've cut
that to virtually zero.

> Genetics is pigs is pretty straight forward... depends on the trait
> and
> whether or not it's dominant or recessive.

Here are some good articles on color:

From 1982:

From 1998:

Also of interest:


Ours are predominantly Yorkshire with some Berkshire, Large Black,
Glouster Old Spot, Tamworth and Hampshire. Good Old American Pigs
(GOAPs). :) Most of them are white, sometimes speckles and black
spots. Some red ones, black and belted on occasion. Color is not my
primary concern when breeding although it is fun.

As Jerry noted, length, 8 legs, lots of bacon and super long loins
are key. Breed for minimum head, feet and tail. These sound more like
spiders than swine! We actually have one line in our herd of
naturally short tailed pigs. It is a recessive trait. Marbling,
muscling, taste, lard/lean, mothering and pasture-ability are key
traits. Keep records and remember: always breed the best of the best
and eat the rest. With each generation your herd improves.

On Aug 12, 2010, at 5:30 PM, Kevin Lamse wrote:
> It never accord to me that young boars may need a "helping hand",
> but now I see that it's just part job description.

Actually, we've never done that. They figure it out and if they're
not that coordinated by the time their old enough they go out to
dinner. I don't want to keep animals I have to coddle.


Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC
Orange, Vermont

Save 30% off Pastured Pork:
Butcher shop story:

Bruce King said...

Re: breeding age

Walter, you're a wealth of information!

Do you recall what publication you saw Temple Grandin talking about pig
temperament in? I've seen a bunch of her stuff on cows and animal handling,
stuff like flight zones and so on, but never anything about temprament. Maybe I
missed it.

You mention in another post that your first two pig generations were a few sows;
I'm assuming that was in 2003. How long did you wait before breeding them?
Most folks wait at least 12 months, but that means that you'll only get a
generation a year... 2010-2003 means 7 generations. Maybe I'm doing the math
wrong, but appreciate any clarification. If you waited 18 months it'd be, what?
5 generations.

I'd love to see an example of what information you keep in your breeding
program. What do you track? Could you post a sample of the information you
keep on one sow, for instance? You talk a lot about breeding and culling -- I'm
sure that there are many folks here who'd like to see what you're tracking to
help them in their breeding programs.

Bruce /

Bruce King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce King said...

Had some problems with blogger comment thing. I'll get it right soon.

Bruce King said...

[walter jeffries replies]
Re: [homesteadhogs] Re: breeding age

On Aug 13, 2010, at 12:20 AM, on HomesteadHogs Bruce King of ebeyfarm
> You mention in another post that your first two pig generations
> were a few sows; I'm assuming that was in 2003. How long did you
> wait before breeding them? Most folks wait at least 12 months,

Wrong, Bruce. Why do you persist in spreading lies? You try to be
subtle and crafty about it but keep doing it. Saying it over and over
again won't make it true.

> but that means that you'll only get a generation a year...
> 2010-2003 means 7 generations. Maybe I'm doing the math wrong,

Your math is wrong. Your formulas are wrong. Your numbers are wrong.
Your quotes are wrong. Your basic information is wrong.

Example: You claim it is impossible to have as many generations as we
have had but 1) you don't actually know what we have for time or
animals and have admitted that and 2) You fail to consider the effect
on generational count if there is more than one breeding herd running
in parallel. This completely throws off your formulas. Running
multiple herds and then later doing cross over is a long held
breeding technique that allows for closed herds and the development
of new breeds as well as faster generations. You are simply wrong but
you go around various forums spreading lies.

You did this last year where you changed my words from percent of
_diet_ to percent _calories_ and then proceeded to make nasty
statements and lies about me on your blog and elsewhere. Something is
dramatically wrong with you Bruce King.

Then there are all the comments you have left on various blogs saying
things like "Farm blogs are filled with lies" or "Farm blogs only
publish the positive results". You claim that you're just trying to
correct facts but instead what you do is change what people say and
tell lies. Does this make you feel better about yourself? Perhaps you
should try counseling, off list. It would be nice if moderators would
ban you - you are toxic.

> but appreciate any clarification.

Bruce King said...

[walter Jefferies reply continued]
We are on our 12th generation of pigs. Since you're so unpleasant I
won't explain everything else to you. You have lots of errors. You'll
just keep twisting the truth around into more lies for your own
contorted reasons. You're just going to have to learn the hard way.
Start with being nice. I helped you out a lot back when you were
getting started. I answered your emails and questions on my blog.
Then you turned vicious on me and attacked me, spreading lies
claiming you had the one and only truth. Wrong.

You farm one way. I farm another way. I know that my way works
because it pays my bills, my mortgage and puts food on my family
table. I hope that your way works for you. You don't have to be so
nasty. I doubt at this point you are capable of changing.

> If you waited 18 months it'd be, what? 5 generations.

Facts From Our Farm:
Our pig generations are a year or less. I'm not sure what breed
you're raising where a generation takes 18 months. That is extremely
long. I've never heard of pigs taking that long. You might want to
consider sending those to the butcher and starting with new stock.

Boars can breed at 6 months and hit their stride at 10 months.

Gilts breed at 8 months which is typically after they've had two
cycles. If they are taking 18 months at your farm then ask your self
what you're doing wrong.

Look at the piglets that come out of those unions to decide which
tested boars and gilts go into the longer term breeding groups. This
is a rapidly overlapping process that quickly selects traits. Pigs
are wonderfully genetically plastic - that is they are easy to breed
for the desired traits. Part of this is because their generations are
so short and part of it is because they have so many young per litter
that we can get a good sampling of traits.

The gestating gilts farrow by about 12 months the first time and
become a sow. One generation took one year. Each generation is a year
or less or the animal goes to market. If your gilts can't do that
then check to see if you aren't feeding them enough. Perhaps your
protein levels are low and they're not able to grow to their
potential and get to the necessary condition. Is the diet unbalanced.
What about minerals? Genetics and diet may be holding you up.

Some superior sows like our sow Blackie rebreed immediately after
farrowing and short gestate producing three large litters a year.
With sixteen teats and delicious fast growing, long, mabled offspring
she's a sow to aim for in any breeding program. Her daughters also do
an excellent job and are over in the north herd.

Bruce King said...

[Walter Jeffries reply continued (part 3)]
But lets talk about you...

You just got done attacking me in two different threads on You destroyed one of those threads. The
moderators at HomesteadingToday don't seem to care what you do and it
is destroying their site. Now you are doing it here on HomesteadHogs
discussion list. You keep posting nasty messages to my blogs and
occasionally directly email me nasty messages. What is your problem

You are a very nasty person. I've watched you attack other people
online. What you are doing is stalking. There are real world laws
against that. If you keep doing it someday someone will take you to
court and settle you down. You could learn so much from other people
but instead you attack them in forums, discussion lists and on your
web site.

Perhaps this is part of why you have so much trouble with your
neighbors, local government and farming, maybe even life in general -
you wrote about that on your blog in the past although I've not read
recently since you've been so nasty. I suspect that part of this
stems from your failures and jealousy of other people who are
succeeding. You appear to have serious an inferiority complex and try
to boost your ego by putting other people down. You feel a need to
defend you way as being the only way to do things and to do that you
attack people who does things differently. The reality is you are
intolerant and bigoted.

I would suggest you be nicer to people. You could learn a lot from
them if you would drop your snide attitude and attacks. I hope that
you don't bring your nastiness to this list and if you do I hope the
moderators nip it in the bud.

> Do you recall what publication you saw Temple Grandin talking
> about pig temperament in? I've seen a bunch of her stuff on cows
> and animal handling, stuff like flight zones and so on, but never
> anything about temprament. Maybe I missed it.

Dig it up yourself. Since you've been so nasty to me for the past
year I won't help you. If you want things from people then try being
nice instead.

> You talk a lot about breeding and culling -- I'm sure that there
> are many folks here who'd like to see what you're tracking to help
> them in their breeding programs.

I've written about it many times and helped many other people with
this. Go read my blog and other places. Again, I'm not about to help
_you_ because you've insisted on being so nasty, distorting what I
say and actually lying. Until you started your nasty smear campaign
against me last year I had helped you a lot. Now after all of your of
nastiness I am not going to help you. You owe me a huge apology on
all of the forums you have done this and a take down of the lies you
have posted. Get a clue.


Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC
Orange, Vermont

Save 30% off Pastured Pork:
Butcher shop story:

Bruce King said...

[My reply to Walter Jeffries]
Re: breeding age

If your farm generations are a year or so and you've been in the pig business
since 2003, that gives you 7 generations at most, less if you use more time to
evaluate the pigs. That's the math that I came up with too. I think we agree.

2003 is from a date you mentioned in an interview with a local tv station, and
from a posting on your blog titled "traveling pig farmer", where you compare
your operation to another pig farmer.
You also talked about the first two generations of your pigs HERE in a post
YESTERDAY. I'll post the links to your blog and television interview if you'd

Jerry Darnell, in another posting, talked about the rationale behind
generational timing. Take a look at that and see what you think.

With respect to breeding records -- I am curious about the records you keep. if
you've written about it, I don't know where.

as far as the rest of the stuff, you seem to want to have some sort of personal
thing with me. Let's keep it about hogs.

Bruce King said...

[Steve Elliots reply to this discussion]
Re: [homesteadhogs] Re: breeding age

My quick take on this is that it is a question of what is a generation. You can't really measure it the same way we think about human generations (mere increments of time based on approx. average child rearing age) because we generally don't have 12 year olds breeding with 80 year olds which is not uncommon (controlling for age) with livestock. That lack of consistent definition present a problem.

If a 5th "generation" pig from one breeding group is breed to the starter (1st Gen) pig from the other side. What gen is the offspring? There probably isn't a clear answer. Arguably it's a six cycle of improvement but it probably didn't take six years to get there and it is clearly half-siblings with some 2nd gen animals.

While I think Bruce was trying to pose some questions that are relevant to the rest of us - mostly how you track and recordkeep because damn it isn't easy trying to explain it to an outsider - I'm not privy to any of the issues from before and would just as soon prefer not to be.

Bruce King said...

[Walter Jeffries]
Bruce, you are stalking me. There are laws against that. I keep track of your various attacks. Stay away from me. Leave me alone. It is really a pity because you can learn so much from other people but instead you choose to attack people.

Bruce King said...

[from bruce king]
Mind if I post this message to the forum? It seems an odd, paranoid response.

Bruce King said...

[from walter jefferies]
I'll do it for you. The fact that you say this is an example of your
stalking and antagonism. People need to know how nasty you are,
Bruce. You keep attacking people on various web sites, discussion
lists and forums. You're a sick man

Bruce King said...

And at this point a moderator steps in.

Bruce King said...

Still with me? Ok. Here's the facts

Walter jefferies start date is documented in his blog, I've provided the link to the google cache at the top of this post.

it's been seven years since that start.

he says a pig generation takes 12 months in his response.

Why do I care? One thing that Walter consistently does, in my opinion, is to fluff his results. I get tired of it, and when you call him on it he does the whole personal attack thing.

I'm sorry, but questioning a statement made in an interview or about your results, or being skeptical about result claims is pretty much fair in my book. Walter doesn't think so.

OK Walter -- you can tell me what sort of bad person I am for calling you on your claims, but how about you correct me on where I went wrong. Did you misquote yourself? Forget when you started?

Bruce King said...

Specific points from Walters response:
1) having multiple lines you're breeding in different herds doesn't produce generations any faster.
2) You're breeding gilts at 8 months, 4 months gestation, means that from birth of gilt to birth of next gilt is a minimum of 12 months. 7 years = 7 generations, if everything goes well. Things don't always go well.
3) all sows go into heat soon after giving birth; blackie isn't exceptional in that regard. What is fairly commonly held in industry is rushing a sow through more than 2 litters a year will result in a shorter average breeding life for that sow. I'll provide references for this on request.
4) I do have issues with my local goverment. you have issues with the federal government. So what? what does any of that have to do with hogs? Should I criticize you for you seem to think that this is a meaningful point. Don't we both hate various regulations, either existing or proposed?
5) I don't think that temple grandin has written about the heritability of behavior in pigs ANYWHERE. I think you're making this part up. Prove me wrong, please.
6) As angry as you are here, recognize that this is a discussion about an opinion, and not about walter jefferies, the person. I think you mistake my interest in the subject with an interest in you. the world doesn't revolve around Walter Jefferies. I can disagree with some statement you made without it being a comment about you as a person. and I have.

Anonymous said...

There is no debate here. This is merely Bruce King a liar and selectively posting things when he given me a written promise in email yesterday that he was going to keep a conversation private. In other words he lies and can't be trusted to keep his word.

Bruce is making up numbers and his changing words which he has been doing since last year with the time he miss-quoted me about diet vs calories. Bruce is a liar and not to be trusted. What he writes here and elsewhere is lies. He cleverly shrouds them in bits of truth to confuse readers.

When Bruce was getting started I helped him a lot with his questions. Then one day he turned vicious for no reason known to me. Because of Bruce's nasty behavior over the past year I will not help him any further. If he wants to learn about Grandin's comments on temperament or how to add 1+1 he'll just have to figure it out himself.

Funder said...

I don't have a copy of either book to check, but I do kind of remember the Temple Grandin pig discussion. I think it was Animals in Translation, but it might've been the other "mass market" book, Animals Make Us Human. There was something about mean pigs in one of those books. Sorry I can't be more help / more specific.

Anonymous said...

You say you won't delete anything I say yet you change this post date to hide it and you delete my comments. You are continuing your dishonest behavior. You're a liar.

Bruce King said...

Walter - the basic facts here are quotes from your blog and interview. Please refrain from making this personal by making accusations that really don't have anything to do with the topic at hand.

Anonymous said...

No, Bruce. You have selectively quoted and distorted things. You leave out stuff and fail to mention the lies you told. This is a very selective and partial accounting. You even changed the date after posting it one day and moving it to another day to try and make it look like you had done it earlier. More lies from the fingers of Bruce King.

Bruce King said...

Please provide a link to any content related to this discussion. I checked again but maybe I missed something.

Same goes for incomplete posts or misquotes. I'm all for accuracy.

Carolyn said...

Wow. This is all very weird. And sad.

Bruce: I'm not sure how to count generations. Let me just say that last year I bought a young sow in May 2009(Wilma).Had piglets in September. Kept one of the gilts from the September litter for breeding. Wilma just had her third litter two nights ago. Her daughter just had her first litter five nights ago. So I think that means I am on my third generation in 18 months, given that I think of Wilma as my 1st generation(even if I didn't breed her myself)?

Also, I would just like to add that I have followed your blog, learned a lot, and enjoyed it. I have also noted your farrowing numbers, and wondered what could be leading to your smaller survival rates, which continues to perplex me, given how much effort you have put into managing your sows.

We have had 42 live piglets in 4 farrowings, all out on woodland pasture with really minimal support (ie only a lean-to shed of pallets w/hay for the February farrowing in central Vermont). I think we have been lucky, and our time for problems might still come. But still...I have seen you question this methodology, and yet have found it to be pretty easy and healthy for the animals. So I continue to be curious about your farm, enjoy reading about your management trials and tribulations, and pondering the things that have given you problems.
I just wish it didn't lead to so much acrimony.

Bruce King said...

Thanks for the compliment Carolyn. Regarding farrowing and survival I'll write something about it soon but here's where I'm at now: I have had sows, mostly small first litter sows, wean every pig they gave birth to. It does happen.

Bit as my herd has grown and I include sows of varying ages and experience levels the survival percentage is lower than I've liked.

So one thing I did is to include a more prolific breed of pigs into my mostly Berkshire hers and by doing so I upped my litter size from 6-8 to 10-12 and I started
Abating the nutrition of the sows more closely to flush them, and that got my average litter size to production is good now. Happy with it. Next step is to get mortality down. Asi am doing four different things to see what works best and it is both frustrati g and rewarding.

Bruce King said...

There are two different conversation threads in the two forums that this started in. The next few messages are from

Bruce King said...

[highlands, walter jefferies]
On Aug 14, 2010, at 12:53 AM, ebeyfarm wrote:
Per request, I'm moving this discussion to my blog. You can find the comments that he and I have made in the comments section and you are welcome to read and comment yourself.

In other words I can't trust you to keep your word. You said you would keep this to email between the two of us. You specifically wrote me in an email yesterday:

Per the request on homestead hogs I'll reply privately to your message. If you're concerned I'll ask you before I post any part of this conversation as I did before. Ok?

So you lied again. I have not given you permission to publish any debate or our correspondence to your blog or anywhere else. You take my words and twist them. You make up numbers out of thin air. Your publicizing is a direct violation of trust and your way of continuing to spread your lies. Why do you do this Bruce?
__________________ -- Protect Traditional Farms -- Transfer Toners --

Bruce King said...

On the issue of stalking..... As a professional blogger... and that's what is the nearest definition to describe both bruce and walter.... the two of your are both in a race to the be the "web geru" for small pig raising. It's a tool both of you use to market you products and politics. It's more plotical than farming. In the united states, political speech is never protected from rebutal...It is what makes the US different from almost any other nation. It is bruce's right to call walter a liar, It's walter's right to do the same.

If either of you don't like it, pull your websites down and crawl up in a ball.

The two websites are both pushing differing political takes on farming, both are suggesting only one is right.

I for one, feel that walter has denounced professional farmers as evil, his website suggest that my use and support of NAIS is the mark of the beast or "666", I feel that this is political and offensive and needs to be debated.

I also fail to understand walter's numbers, he should be clearing a million dollars a year.

If bruce's methods, which also like mine, are said to be evil or unholy and by using them are dooming our eternal souls to the firery pit. If that is published on the web as being Big "T" truth. Then bruce has the right to call him on it.

If it were simpty a farming arguement.... then it would getting out of hand. It's not....It's political...It's class structure debate..... It's a social debate.....It's not about farming.

One of you is going to be the leading pro blogger on pig raising....It's king of the mountain time.

Walter has been on top.... his position is in danger and he is calling timeout so he ask for rules in a knife fight. ( where were the rules when I was getting crank calls at my office for debating walter)

Man up, somebody win and move on.

People should bear in mind the winner of this fight will have a $$$$ boost to be on top....

God bless America, and may the best man win.

Bruce King said...

[allen w]
I hadn't looked at it that way. Some bloggers make decent money if they get enough hits.

Bruce King said...

[highlands, walter jefferies]
No, Redhogs. You're completely wrong. I am not selling any political agenda and am not a 'professional blogger'. I don't do speaking engagements. I don't do tours. I don't sell books. I sell pigs and I sell them locally. I simply write on my blog about what I do as a way of sharing with other people. You are welcome to ignore my blog and not read it. You're confusing me with someone like Joel Saladin or Mikael Pollan - they are names. I'm just a farmer sharing what I've learned.

I also had nothing to do with any of your crank calls. Don't accuse me of that. I don't even know who you really are. For all I know you and BruceKi are really the same person. You certainly act the same. You have probably angered a lot of people here and elsewhere and made enemies. That is your problem.

Why do you continue this? If you really want to drop it then drop it rather than keeping posting lies.
__________________ -- Protect Traditional Farms -- Transfer Toners --

Last edited by highlands; Today at 09:52 AM.

Bruce King said...

Any time two people have a viewpoint different from yours, you assume it must be one person. Is it that hard for you to believe there is more than one person that has beliefs differing from you?
You claim not to have a political agenda on the same posting that sports your political agenda, "Protect Traditional Farms" Just because you believe something and spend a good amount of time campaigning for it, doesn't make differing opinions wrong.

I was reading this thread with average interest, then, WHAM, you started arguing with Bruce. I have debated a couple topics with you over the years, but had no idea the blood fued you two had going. Suddenly that poor injured piggy isn't the topic here.

Sometimes it gets frustrating when you have several people countering everything you say. That's how I feel when I try to dispel myths about NAIS and wild claims start coming from several directions.

Few things in life are completely right or completely wrong. Having a web site promotes both your business and your political agenda.

If I made my living marketing free range chicken eggs and had a web site that promoted my business and my viewpoint that free range chicken eggs were somehow better for you, every time someone tried to expose the fact that my hens seldom went outside (even when the door was open to them) and that I fed basicly the same diet as commercial operations, I'd be plenty steamed. I do understand, highlands, I really do. But once the light has exposed this magic show, its over.

Any time you can't support claims, creditability suffers. Thankfully for you, most of us that can see this truth are not your customers. So, I expect it'll be business as usual, no harm done, the magic remains, for now.

Just as states implimeted RFID in cattle without the disasters you predicted, truth finds a way of exposing lies. The myth of pastured pork will soon be known to all, eventually.

Many folks would jump all over me if I told the OP to pack the wound in tobacco and use a witching stick to pull the infection from the wound. That kind of help runs counter to known facts. To promote free range farrowing while blasting farrowing crates, is to ignore time tested practices that often make the difference between success and failure.

Stop with the "completely wrong". If you'd freely admit, " Pigs are exposed to more hazards in a free range/forested environment than confinement and losses run higher, I overcome all this through careful marketing that includes a web site promotion of me and my farming methods" you'd have some creditability.

Or, we can agree to disagree.

Bruce King said...

Well, haypoint, I disagree with you. I see bruceki as the agitator, not highlands. And if the moderator had any cajones, he'd stop this crap.

Bruce King said...

Rogo, I respect... and you may be right.

Whose numbers do you believe???? That's the issue here.... It is alright that 2+2= 39

Bruce King said...

"One proponent of pastured pigs posted a picture showing a litter of pigs, and then another picture two weeks later of the same litter. in picture 1 there were 10"


"Bruce you are liar, can't count and don't take into account that there is more to the world than you can see."

Rogo, unless there is something I'm missing, the second comment sounds angrier. IMHO.
In fact, you sound a bit cranked up, yourself, “And if the moderator had any cajones, he'd stop this crap."

Since the OP suggested a stick got shoved into little free range piggy, plus clearly stated that there were four live pigs (I read that to say only four survived) I think it is fair to post an opinion that there are often higher rates of loss when hogs farrow in the woods (again I'm reading sticks to be associated with trees, not much of an assumption).

I did not read Bruceki's post as singling out anyone. But I don't read those other blogs. His post was about the economy of calling a Vet, the down side of pasture farrowing and the difficulty an injured pig may have getting to the nipple. That's all.

"On the issue of stalking..... As a professional blogger... and that's what is the nearest definition to describe both bruce and walter.... the two of your are both in a race to the be the "web geru" for small pig raising. It's a tool both of you use to market you products and politics. It's more plotical than farming. In the united states, political speech is never protected from rebutal...It is what makes the US different from almost any other nation. It is bruce's right to call walter a liar, It's walter's right to do the same.
If either of you don't like it, pull your websites down and crawl up in a ball.
The two websites are both pushing differing political takes on farming, both are suggesting only one is right."


"No, Redhogs. You're completely wrong"

I saw Redhog's post as an attempt to say that there are two sides to all this. I saw the other post as argumentative, uncompromising.

Bruce King said...

Over on the homestead hogs yahoo group, this discussion is going on

Bruce King said...

Hi Bruce...

We're going to have to define "generation" to work this through.

For direct lineage descendants, 1 pig bred from each subsequent litter to produce the next breeder "generation" will take years, as I described previously.

However, if I take 5 number of gilts from 1st or 2nd litter and breed those to 5 different boars, as explained previously, I just split that original litter in to 5 more "generation" lines, each with some differing genetics. Now, if we just counting "generations" created, how do I account for those 5 new lines? They are each separate generations... again depending on definition of the term "generation" chosen.

And, since I have created those 5 new lines, I won't just be gestating a single line descendant in those 5 litters, one after the other... all 5 will be gestating at the same time, huge time saver in creating quality pigs, and breeding for traits. From those new 5 litters, I might breed back the 3 best gilts from each litter, so now I have 15 gilts with different genetics "in the oven". See how quickly this can explode? .. it's because we get "litters" vs single births, like cattle or horses.

The number of boars doesn't have an effect on "A" generation of pig.. agreed. You have to have maturity time, but the number of boars can greatly affect the number of generations, if you breed like above. And with modern technology, artificial insemination & next day air ... any gilt in the Western world can be inseminated with champion quality semen within days.



In a message dated 8/14/2010 9:15:26 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, ebeyfarm@... writes:
I don't think that the number of boars has any bearing on the speed of production of a generation of pigs. It takes time for an animal to reach maturity no matter who the sire(s) are.

You can have different maternal or paternal lines, but to combine two lines you'll still need to let the progeny mature at a minimum the length of time Jerry describes before you can then breed them to produce the next generation.

Bruce King said...

[walter jefferies]
Re: [homesteadhogs] Generational timeframe

On Aug 14, 2010, at 12:46 PM, JADDarnall@... wrote:
> We're going to have to define "generation" to work this through.

That is rather easy. The dictionary definition of a generation is:
"2. the term of years, roughly 30 among human beings, accepted as the
average period between the birth of parents and the birth of their

Likewise Birth to production of first piglets:
1 Pig Generation
= about 8 months growing + about 4 months gestation
= about 1 Year

It can be less but that is fairly typical.

The number of boars matters unless you like breeding all of the
daughters, granddaughters, etc back to the original boar. If you're
limited in your ability to keep boars then AI is a great way to
expand the genetics which enhances this effect even more.

Running two herds in parallel and selecting for the desired traits
with careful cross overs can speed up the generations further.

There is some interesting mathematical analysis of this sort of thing.

Bruce King said...

[bruce king]
Littermates are members of the same generation. Applying this definition to
humans would mean that each twin is a different generation, and that's clearly
not true.

What you're describing is genetic lines or strains, each of which may have
differing heritable traits (Mendelian expression) but all are a single age
group. The next generation in created when you breed this age group.

If I can consider the each pig of each litter a different generation then I have
produced over 1,000 generations this year myself. If I reduce that to each
litter sired by a different boar I've produced 200 different generations myself
this year.

I believe that at best I've produced 1 generation this year and that is about as
fast as generations go.

Having a wide choice of gene expressions to select from means change can happen
quickly but that's a different topic

Bruce King said...

[bruce king]
Re: Generational timeframe

Using Walters' supplied definition, I think that you get 1 generation per year,
as per your the workout that Jerry Darnell did a few messages back.

That's assuming that everyone breeds pretty much as fast as possible and there
are no hitches. 5 years means 5 generations.

12 generations would take 12 years.

Bruce King said...

Re: [homesteadhogs] Re: Generational timeframe

If you get right down to the nitty gritty, if females are mated @ 8 months
( I have heard of a few breeds being mature in 6 months ), you could have
6-7 generations in 5 years.

Greg H.

Bruce King said...

[dirk loren]
My calculations get the same

Now if I really pushed my good sows they would have 3 farrowings every other year which would increase the generations by 2 additional farrowings for 5 years
Yielding a whopping total of 9. I wouldn't push any sow especially my great ones that hard.


Macaw Ranch
Dawson Texas
Dexter Cattle, Red Wattle Hogs, Kiko and Spanish Goats

Bruce King said...

[bruce king]
Re: [homesteadhogs] Re: Generational timeframe

Don't forget gestation time. Mate at 8 + gestation pretty close to 12. Jerrys'
workup was based on boars, sows take a couple of months more.

Mike said...

Wow! What a read. That took forever! Interesting though. It seems that his blog is now private. I was going to give it a read. No such luck though.

Bruce King said...

His blog is still there and still public, but he blocks anyone who disagrees with him, and takes special pains to block anyone who's ever won an argument with him. As you can see from the comments he wants to make it very personal, which I don't appreciate as a tactic, but it appears to be the one he chooses.

I'd rather argue the facts or the opinion. You might not change their mind, but you'll sure flesh out the issue and give folks both sides with a lively discussion. That's what I'm after.