Your Meishan piglets are settled in, you're enamored with your Meishans....loving how cute they are and how they snuggle into their bedding at night...... and how easy they are to work with.......then....BAM!!
Your boar and gilt are together and your gilt is only 4 months old. ARGHH!!!! WHAT - THE - HECK - HAPPENED?!
You're not alone. It happens to most people when they bring home their first Meishans, myself included.
One of the many ways that the Meishan is unique is that they can breed as early as 10-12 weeks. (The cut off time at my farm to separate boars & gilts is 8 weeks.....just to be sure.)
Yes, littermates will breed each other even though the gilts (young female pig) body is not mature enough to carry them without effecting their own growth.
How do you manage this up front? Several ways.
Here's my top 5 choices:
1. Keep breeding stock separated by a driveway width, if not more.
2. Don't allow boars and sows to share a fence line.
3. If #2 is unavoidable, install a hot wire (electric fence) inside and out of the fence line to keep both the boars and gilts 'honest.'
4. Triple check all fence lines and space underneath gates that a pig could shimmy through. If their head can fit, the rest of them can too.
5. Take a hard look at your set up and ask yourself if it can hold in or out something determined to be on the other side of the fence. If not, reinforce.
What do you do if it happens to your stock? 2 things
1. Talk to your vet about options
2. Keep your gilt well fed and hope for the best.
I often see this challenge with the Meishan as one of the biggest obstacles for new breeders. But, with a little planning, an extra hard look at your set up, it can be managed and overcome.
Look at it from the bright side.....once the gilt is at a breeding age, it's definitely easy to put the 2 together at breeding time!