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Size does matter....

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1 Size does matter.... on Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:57 pm

islandgal99

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An Ossabaw boar and a Berkshire sow....can you tell which is which?

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http://www.matadorfarm.ca

2 Re: Size does matter.... on Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:16 pm

Farmer Bob

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Holy Moly! That is quite the difference! Some day I wouldn't mind having pigs...I"m trying to talk my wife into European Wild Boars...so far without much luck.

3 Re: Size does matter.... on Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:24 pm

Grandma Art

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I was just going to ask you for a pic of a full grown Ossabaw .... now I have seen one... thanks. :-) Mr P. Spot is doing very well. Cant believe how gentle he is... way better then the pot bellies for sure!!!... going to be a super cross...

http://www.sheltiesalberta.com

4 Re: Size does matter.... on Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:11 pm

islandgal99

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I would expect your boy to be a little bit bigger than this boy, but not by much as mom was quite small, dad is a bit larger than this boy in the picture. The biggest thing will be to watch his weight as he grows - don't let him get chubby like the potbellies - you will have a better breeder if he is a lean, mean, breeding machine. The boy in the pic is at another farm nearby...just found him! Super excited I did, as the more Ossabaws the better. Great owners - we have already been making future plans for intermingling select piggies to share the genes.

http://www.matadorfarm.ca

5 Re: Size does matter.... on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:18 am

bckev

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HOw do you find the ossabaws for meat quality, flavour and fat proportion? How are they for feed conversions? What does a dressed carcass weigh out at, and at what age do you butcher? I have been doing some reading but it is always nice to talk to someone raising the critters for their experience in the real world.

6 Re: Size does matter.... on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:14 am

islandgal99

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I have not been able to eat one yet... Sad I have been fortunate that most of the offspring are headed for breeding homes. I had one slated for eating, but have someone interested in him for breeding also...they are so rare, I would prefer at this point to get as many out into the world and have other people interested in preserving them also. I am going to be getting a side of a 1/2 berk 1/2 Ossabaw from the breeder above in a short while, I can report the differences of the 1/2 breed then. It's looking like it will be a while till I have my own forest/pasture version to report on.

My first ones for eating I will be growing out to 8 months, though I've read some farms grow them to 16 months. They should dress out to 100 lbs at 8 months. I will likely try both ages and see which has the best flavour and what the costs are of doing both. The fat apparently liquid at room temperature, and the meat is supposed to be more red than white, making it quite unique. I find they eat surprisingly little feed, and they are very industrious when it comes to finding feed after feeding time. I have mine in a forest/pasture setting, and when the feeding is done, they head out to the woods/field to find more to eat - they spend much less time sleeping than other pigs I've had. When my pasture was quite lush and I only had the two 1 year old guilts, they were maintaining nice weight just eating pasture with no supplements. Then the boar came and that nice pasture was gone in days! And they also eat lots of hay, which they had during the colder months here. If I get get a good source of hay next year, in combination with the milk I will have I hope to feed mostly hay through the winter. I got them initially hoping to do intensive pasture rotation, that seems a long ways away right now but they are doing a great job of preparing my market garden area!

I think the biggest challenge is maintaining a healthy weight on these guys as they gain very quickly - they are experts in storing fat, so if you free feed them and don't keep on top of the weight, you will have a very fat little pig. My two youngest mommas were slimmed down by weaning time, and I kept them on the rations they were on with the babies - they gained back to pre-birthing condition within a month and are definitely already preggers again. The two older sows were very overweight when I got them (long story why I got them) and were not conceiving because of the weight combined with the poor diet. Once I got some weight off them and better nutrition into them, they conceived and had nice healthy babies.

http://www.matadorfarm.ca

7 Re: Size does matter.... on Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:07 am

Omega Blue Farms

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Since this is a discussion portion of the forum and not a personal "for sale" thread, I'm going to say something that while it won't be popular with some, it needs to be said.

"I have not been able to eat one yet... Sad I have been fortunate that most of the offspring are headed for breeding homes. I had one slated for eating, but have someone interested in him for breeding also...they are so rare, I would prefer at this point to get as many out into the world and have other people interested in preserving them also. "


This approach is an an excellent way to kill a line, and has killed the genetic integrity of countless breeds over history. It always ends the same way, a market flooded with poor quality animals.

Even when building the genetic base, and market, slow and cautious is a far better approach. This would require nothing less than 50% selection, whereby at least half of every litter ends up in the freezer. I find it safer and more effective to lean towards 10-20% selection. For instance, I might look for the best male and best female from each litter and leave the breeder selections at that.

http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

8 Re: Size does matter.... on Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:16 am

islandgal99

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With such a small pool of animals, and although a small pig still a large size to feed, I think I am very fortunate to have found a small group of people also interested in preserving this breed. Breeding pigs isn't like chickens where I will have 100-200 chicks from one parent to choose from. Working with others, towards preservation, I think makes a lot more sense than trying to do this and hoard all the work to myself. I don't see the purpose in keeping a gene pool all to myself - unfortunately that's what already happened here with the Ossabaws - there were two herds with individual people working on them, and for two different reasons at about the same time, those herds were dispersed quickly - most of them eaten - and all that remain are some scattered animals. I don't want that to happen again to this very interesting breed. If I'm the only one with the animals, then if something happens to me they are gone. I don't see the benefit of working alone, none whatsoever. I think that for the breeds sake, I am very fortunate to have found people seriously interested both in Alberta and in the Kooteneys in preserving this breed.

I'm not talking 100's of animals, I've only placed two litters so far, the other two litters are just ready to go now. I only had 5 boys in the first two litters, 3 boys did go for meat elsewhere. And the two nicest boys - best one from each litter - went to non-ossabaw breeding homes where they will be used for cross breeding to larger sows - I can't use these boys right now in my breeding until I expand the gene pool, but it gives me options down the road when the gene pool is bigger and the owners understand this importance, and I will have the option of assessing their importance as a full grown boy - this opportunity was more important to me than eating them, and I am very thrilled to have this option. Of the girls, there was little variation between the girls other than spots. The growth rate was even, the size and shape similar, no runts in any of the litters, and excellent health. The babies were robust and didn't need interventions even in our cold wet winter. These are all ideal traits I wanted. And these girls that did go to breeding homes are from what I consider my best two sows. I will continue working with these new owners, both of which are a day's drive or more from here, to help select and ensure this breed. These are not back yard breeders, but people who are interested in the breed and preserving the breed. I have also kept back a girl from each litter, as security policy and have future breeding plans that include a different line male.

This next group just turning 6 weeks, 2 boys and 6 girls. One boy looks amazing and I will be keeping him for future breeding options, one boy will be going for meat. There are two girls that stand out above the rest that I will keep, 2 girls are going as pets to a well informed owner who has already done research on them, and I only have 2 girls left to decide what to do, but I may grow them out since summer is coming. I'm pretty sure I'm not flooding the market with Ossabaws!

I'm curious Omega, what happens to your line of turkeys when you go? Are you working with others to keep it going, or is it all yours and yours alone? There are lots of turkey options, and it doesn't seem the turkey market is flooded by any means on the island - farm grown turkey sell out in days, and most need pre-orders. But when you can't carry on breeding anymore, then what happens with your turkey line that you worked hard on to develop the disease resistance that you did?

I have wondered why it is of late that this forum has seemed a little dead - and I think now I know why. Try to post a fun post, and end up feeling like you have to defend your actions.

http://www.matadorfarm.ca

9 Re: Size does matter.... on Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:48 am

auntieevil

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You do what a few of us did here with our Bourbon Red turkeys, share the stock. If one of us sufferers an attack, one of the three others likely will still have animals left to work with. The farms are separated by huge distances, so it is unlikely one negative event will happen simultaneously to all of them. We don't buy and sell from each other, but trade. In the end, it is for the health and welfare of the animals.
Even doing this, only 2 of us have breeding stock left. Raising animals can be quite a crap shoot!
Your Ossabaws are darling. The Berkie is quite the girl too!

10 Re: Size does matter.... on Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:02 pm

Omega Blue Farms

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I realize that this probably initially feels like I'm picking on one person, I don't mean to. I'm just using the individual's experience as an excuse to climb on my soapbox and attempt some community awareness. Nothing personal intended against any individual.

It is easy to find reasons to not put an animal into the freezer, it's human nature. Pretty much all of us can easily make excuses for not culling properly. However, it doesn't matter how compelling of an argument we make to ourselves, we cannot overcome the science and biology that governs these things. The results of inadequate selection always ends up the same way; The breed deteriorates to the point where a sustainable market cannot be maintained. The situation I questioned here is not the first example of such a conservation approach. This won't be the last. The approach is endemic, this is the reason we have so many heritage breeds in disrepair.

Due to the difference in reproductive rates, the importance of diligent culling is even more important for livestock such as swine and cattle. Due to the reduced reproductive rates, it's actually much harder to correct mistakes caused by breeding from the wrong animals.

If we want to effectively conserve a breed, we must make putting them onto the dinner table as priority number one. This means a community wide change in perspective.  I personally would like to see the community evolve to where sellers of heritage breeds are expected to be able to sell meat of their breeds. I personally would like to see buyers who want to eat the breed before choosing which they want to invest in. Make sure we enjoy eating them BEFORE buying and selling them.


As for the questions pertaining to my turkeys, make a new thread about them and I'll be happy to answer any questions.

http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

11 Re: Size does matter.... on Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:40 pm

islandgal99

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Omega Blue Farms wrote:I realize that this probably initially feels like I'm picking on one person, I don't mean to. I'm just using the individual's experience as an excuse to climb on my soapbox and attempt some community awareness. Nothing personal intended against any individual.
Certainly seems like an attack, and this has been happening for quite some time, so nothing new.  It's been very clear you don't like me, even though you don't know me.  Your intent is pretty clear.  

Omega Blue Farms wrote:It is easy to find reasons to not put an animal into the freezer, it's human nature. Pretty much all of us can easily make excuses for not culling properly. However, it doesn't matter how compelling of an argument we make to ourselves, we cannot overcome the science and biology that governs these things. The results of inadequate selection always ends up the same way; The breed deteriorates to the point where a sustainable market cannot be maintained. The situation I questioned here is not the first example of such a conservation approach. This won't be the last. The approach is endemic, this is the reason we have so many heritage breeds in disrepair.
If there were hundreds of these, eat em.  Even if there were 50 of these.  Eat some.  There's not.  There are very few left.  When the two very large herds were dispersed, most were eaten and hardly any were left.  I want to preserve what is left, find any pockets of new blood in Canada I can, and import if I have to. The only one that I would have had an opportunity to eat prior to getting my girls was someone's pet - not really the right thing to do in my mind.  You don't know what I'm looking for, selecting for, working on but yet you feel you can waltz on in an start attacking.

Omega Blue Farms wrote:If we want to effectively conserve a breed, we must make putting them onto the dinner table as priority number one. This means a community wide change in perspective.  I personally would like to see the community evolve to where sellers of heritage breeds are expected to be able to sell meat of their breeds. I personally would like to see buyers who want to eat the breed before choosing which they want to invest in. Make sure we enjoy eating them BEFORE buying and selling them.
 If there were actually enough to eat a whole bunch, awesome.  There are not. When there is only very limited pocket, i think it best to grow out many and then make a decision as to whether it continues in the program after it grows fully and you see what potential/contribution to the gene pool may exist.

I am so sick and tired of being attacked and bullied on this forum.  I wanted to post a fun picture of an Ossabaw boar beside a Berkshire sow, and in come the bullies.  Just because I do things different than you, doesn't make it wrong, but yet you feel the need to publicly call out people when their methods don't agree with what you do.  Maybe you should climb off that self proclaimed soapbox you climbed up on in the first place and learn to be nice to others.  I'm not flooding any market with anything.  I'm finding people interested in working together to preserve a very rare breed, and working very hard at preserving it myself.  There are only 5 sows and 2 boars that I have found so far, and I am still hopeful that there are more of these gems hidden away somewhere as over 50 were originally brought to Canada.  I have spoke with the original importers.  I have been tracking down every lead.  And I'm willing to import if needed. And you say I should eat them?

What happened to people being nice to each other?  I don't know what horse you rode in on where you feel you can just walk around and insult people you don't know...in Canada we don't do that.   I think this is the third time you have attacked me on public forum?  It's definitely personal, and it would be nice if you just laid off.

http://www.matadorfarm.ca

12 Re: Size does matter.... on Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:02 am

Omega Blue Farms

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Part of being in any group environment includes interacting with people who disagree with your perspective. This is part of ALL free cultures, even Canada's!

It does not do any community any favours if everyone agrees simply for the sake of agreeing. Society's learn, develop, and grow by challenging the notions and perspectives put before them. A person resistant to ideas that conflict with their own is a person who feels they are finished learning. Have you finished learning?

"When there is only very limited pocket, i think it best "
And this is based upon what research, education, or experience? Simply wishing something to be true won't change the truth.

Regardless of your motives and intentions (which I believe are good) with your breed, the simple truth is that you are putting a product on the market that you have not tested. The majority you sell to will do the same, as will their customers, and so on, and so on. Your approach is not unique to you. The end result of this pattern is always the same, another breed in disrepair that is unable to thrive in an unsustainable market.

You may hate my perspective now, but if you stick with the breed, you will (within a decade) look back and regret this initial approach. Your customers and their customers will have followed your lead and flooded the market with improperly selected animals of deteriorating genetic integrity.







http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

13 Re: Size does matter.... on Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:43 am

islandgal99

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I don't know what bee you gave in you bonnet for me, but you definitely have one. As stated before, this thread was intended to be fun, not to attract bullies.

Your antics online, where you waltz in to any old thread you please and start attacking people is deplorable. It is exactly people like you who
drive people out of heritage breeds, and you somehow think that's a good thing. And people like you destroy forums.

I've said it before... You don't know me, you don't know my intentions, my plans, my future. So again, how about getting off your self proclaimed soap box and quit telling others what to do. I don't need bullies in my life and as far as I a concerned that is exactly what's you are doing - using the forum to bully people. I'm not interested in what you have to say, if I was, I would have asked.


http://www.matadorfarm.ca

14 Re: Size does matter.... on Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:04 am

Omega Blue Farms

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"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"

Do you always respond with such hostility when being given sound advice?

Just because the advice is inconvenient to your current perspective does not make it bad, nor inappropriate. Throwing insults will not make the advice any less accurate nor beneficial.

If you don't agree with the perspective, you have two valid options:

1) present opposing points of view by addressing the points raised, or

2) simply agreeing to disagree.

However, ignoring the points raised and simply responding with personal insults does nothing to elevate the quality of discussion on this forum. It also does nothing to invalidate my concerns raised, nor validate your's. If you are as concerned about the quality of this forum, you may be well served to look in the mirror!

http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

15 Re: Size does matter.... on Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:57 am

islandgal99

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Omega Blue Farms wrote:

Do you always respond with such hostility when being given sound advice?

I have experienced your form of un-solicited advice, from you, before - you consider yourself right and don't really care what others have to say, what they have learned, what they are doing or what their plan is.  So really, any discussion beyond this is only for the purpose of other readers, because I already have learned from past experience with you that what ever I (or really anyone for that matter) have to say doesn't really matter to you.  And I feel by the tone you are enjoying this.

I have already sought out many mentors for this preservation effort, and it started before I purchased my first pig. I spoke with many people including a pig expert from UofS, the Ossabaw registry at the American Livestock Concervancy, tracked down (after many dead ends) the original importer of the Ossabaw to Canada and have spoken to length with him, spoke with Ossabaw breeders from the USA, other general pig farmers both in the area and raising pork in a manner similar to what I want to raise and have a pig-guru that I turn to when I want/need advice.  I know of Ossabaws being imported, I know of breeders who meet all the certifications to export, I have been in contact with the authorities regarding importing and am waiting to see if the current animals are successful in being imported with the new pig-flu in North America which may impact their arrival.  I have collected extensive data on the Ossabaw, it's history and other preservation efforts.  I also spent 15 years on a large scale - non-conventional - hog farm (2000 farrow to finish), where we pastured our hogs most of the time except for the birthing period where they came to indoor paddocks for birthing.  I'm no stranger myself to pigs. I still actively look for other pockets of these pigs, knowing there must be a few more left from the lost herds around somewhere.  I have already made contact with other Ossabaw owners. I work hard every day, in many aspects, to preserve this breed, learn about this breed, and now apparently - defending this breed.

Omega Blue Farms wrote:Just because the advice is inconvenient to your current perspective does not make it bad, nor inappropriate. Throwing insults will not make the advice any less accurate nor beneficial.

You started right off the get go with your comment about your soapbox, and how you would be unpopular, and then proceeded to say:

Omega Blue Farms wrote:The results of inadequate selection always ends up the same way; The breed deteriorates to the point where a sustainable market cannot be maintained. The situation I questioned here is not the first example of such a conservation approach. This won't be the last. The approach is endemic, this is the reason we have so many heritage breeds in disrepair.
 

To paraphrase, you basically said that I am inadequately selecting and that I will destroy my chosen breed because of the choices I have made. I think that's a pretty big insult.  Just because I don't do things your way doesn't make it wrong.

I prefer to work with others, because I have seen the demise of lines and breeds when someone falls ill or comes on hard times.  I prefer to have a few back-up plans - with governments making decisions for us about what lives and what doesn't, it is important to me to have a group of people working on preservation so that there are pockets of these pigs around.  And because people were eating these pigs without thinking of preservation, an Ossabaw boar was/is one of the rarest things to find in Canada, and took me months to find an intact boy suitable for my girls.  I have done my market research, and have a market - the only thing holding me back is quantity while keeping the quality.  I could be selfish and have kept the breeding girls to myself, and full-filled my own needs to satisfy that demand - instead I looked at the longevity of the breed, the long term needs of the breed, and ultimately it was preservation first, and preservation to me means finding others to work on the breed.  It means waiting one generation before selling to my market, and my market is willing to wait.  These people I'm working with also have a plan, not just a 'willy nilly, hey those are cute' .  They are also developing a market, and they are not close to me and when considering disease and such, I think this is good.  A one man show is not only a lonely world, but is a dead end. Working with others, inspiring others, is what makes heritage breeds flourish.  I had to sell some of the meat pigs to others for meat instead of keeping them, mostly because somewhere along the line I need to pay for the feed for the rest of the pigs - infastructure and initial purchase in the first year is not easy, and until I am supplying my planned market I will need to sell some instead of growing them out.  It was a hard decision to let the meat pigs be raised elsewhere, for other people's freezers - we don't all have pockets lined with gold to pay for feed - but the pigs that were not breeding quality did go for meat.  And I am able to get some meat back when they are processed, so it's not all a losing situation.  And I have some now that I will be keeping for eating...

I didn't ask you for advice, and honestly I don't care about your advice.  Last I looked, I didn't see "pig expert" in your list of accolades. I seek out experts when I want/need/desire expert advice, not people on the internet who have apparently nothing better do to than to hijack peoples threads for their own purpose.  The people I seek out are people who often don't say things I want to hear, but I listen, take note and make changes as needed - they are people I consider experts.

I'll say it again, this thread was intended to be a fun picture post of two breeds side by side, to make people giggle - there was nothing about the original post that  suggested a debate over how to breed pigs. When I want to know about the next step in breeding, when I want help in planning the future of the pig breed I'm working with, I will seek out experts in the breed, in Ossabaws or in hogs in general.  And Omega, you're not on that list.

I know I will make mistakes, I am a life-long learner and will never be an expert in any one topic.  What I hope is that one day people will say that I helped to preserve some really good heritage animals, but I will leave it to others to determine what to be said, not decide that for them. I will let them decide based on my contributions, enthusiasm, actions and results.  And then there will always be people, such as yourself, that see no good in what anyone else is doing, and will take any opportunity to criticize their decisions.

http://www.matadorfarm.ca

16 Re: Size does matter.... on Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:27 pm

lady leghorn


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I think this thread needs to get back to the fun part. Nobody can really say much, until they have walked a mile in their shoes. This forum will be lost to us all

if it is full of nothing but bickering. Let's all enjoy, not argue, PLEASE.

17 Re: Size does matter.... on Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:28 am

Omega Blue Farms

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To paraphrase, you basically said that I am inadequately selecting and that I will destroy my chosen breed because of the choices I have made. I think that's a pretty big insult. Just because I don't do things your way doesn't make it wrong.

It's not me saying you are not doing adequate selection. What I mean is that is not just my personal opinion. I'm sharing the science and biology of how these things work. It doesn't matter whether we like it or not, this is how these things work. Not a judgement call, just fact. I was simply sharing with you the cold hard facts of life.

Fun or not, you are putting a product on the market. Fun or not, part of your motives for this thread are tied to your marketing of said product. You are selling these pigs right? Well that activity comes with responsibilities. Canadian society demands that when a product is put on the market, the seller has done their due diligence. When it comes to conservation marketing, part of that responsibility entails learning the basic facts that I've shared.

What I have done in this thread is give you some basic advice that you need if you wish to market your breed responsibly. Zero selection (your approach to date) will not result in a sustainable market and as such, it will not contribute positively to the conservation of your breed. Again, not a personal opinion, not a personal attack, just basic biological facts.

http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

18 Re: Size does matter.... on Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:16 pm

BriarwoodPoultry

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I'm with Lady Leghorn.

And think it's great that someone is working on these super rare pigs! There is more then one way to approach breeding, I'm no pig expert so I simply won't give any advice, but rather will sit back and enjoy the photos.

Keep them coming!

http://briarwoodpoultry.weebly.com

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