Shepherd’s Showpig Project: Conclusion

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.

4 Responses to Shepherd’s Showpig Project: Conclusion

  1. DL says:

    Our kids showed sheep years ago and we saw the same thing – where the winning show traits are not the same as good flock traits. Most of them are simply cosmetic. For example, the tails of show sheep are docked ultra short so it looks like there’s no tail at all. Doing so makes the back look straight and the rump look muscular but in reality, the sheep are more susceptible to rectal prolapse.

    It’s a shame the show ring doesn’t encourage good animal management. If anything, there should be two different show standards: farm and cosmetic. This would better teach kids the realities of raising animals.

  2. DL says:

    PS. Congratulations to Shepherd on a successful fair project. Congrats to the whole family!

  3. matthew Solverson says:

    have you ever researched the vegetarian argument of how wasteful feeding grain to animals is to produce meet vs eating all vegetables? 4:1 ratio isn’t bad plus you get protein, economy, manure and you do not deal with mold and spoilage of vegetables.

  4. matthew Solverson says:

    I spelled meat wrong

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