Shepherd, washing his showpigs. After we washed them, we took them to the fair where they were weighed and ultrasounded for backfat and loin-muscle-area. These three measurements are used in a formula to determine percent lean, which is how the pigs are ranked in the carcass show, pictured below.
The next day was the show. Shepherd practiced walking them everyday, and the practice paid off, as the pigs followed his direction. The judge was less impressed, however, and awarded Shepherd a white and a pink ribbon. Winning showpigs today are extremely wide-made, with bulging muscles. All of this muscle can cause structural problems, though, and the result is pigs which don’t handle stress well.
Shepherd’s pigs were very functional and problem-free, which are traits that are difficult to recognize, as the absence of a problem is more conceptual in nature. Shepherd’s black and white pig was in the top half of the carcass show, though, and received a red ribbon. This helps me know we have the muscle, it’s just in a more functional package.
Shepherd’s black and white pig weighed 242 lbs. and his white one weighed 283 lbs. They gained 371 lbs. in 102 days for a rate of gain of 1.8 lbs. each. They ate 1574 lbs. of feed, for an average of 7.5 lbs. per day for each of them. They ate 4.2 lbs. of feed for every lb. they gained.
It was a very rewarding experience for Shepherd and the whole family. I really appreciate all the people who help make the fair.