Chester White Litter 2.0

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November, the last litter of 2018.  Cold as heck outside.  Warmer next to your momma.

This gilt was featured in one of my farm videos last year.  She is one of the piglets in the video.  I made the video because I was excited for new genetics.  This gilt and her siblings, were sired by Chester White semen I purchased from a boar stud in Iowa.

I wanted to try the Chester White breed because it is know for mothering ability and meat quality, two of the traits most important in my swine herd.  Also, Chester White is an American Heritage breed.

I love eating “General Tso’s Chicken” at the Chinese restaurant in town.  And I’m sure “General Tso’s Chicken” is heritage food to someone, but its not my heritage.  Farmers, let’s make our own heritage!

Back to this Chester White experiment.  I kept all five of the gilts from that litter and bred them to my Duroc boar.  They have done well, good mothers.  Interestingly, they don’t have as many piglets born as my Landrace genetics.  They seem to be very similar to my Duroc genetics, as I always select for mothering ability and meat quality when I purchase Duroc semen as well.

What’s nice is that I was able to conduct this experiment in a relatively short amount of time as the generation interval in swine is about a year.  The generation interval is the amount of time it takes for any species to reproduce itself.  In cattle its about two years.

The generation interval is important to geneticists and animal breeders because it adds a time element to any “progress” that can be made in a species.  I put “progress” in quotes because geneticists and animal breeders are people like you and me.  And like you and me, its way easier to make change for change’s sake, than to stop and figure out where exactly you want to go and why, and if its going to be a good when you get there.

Okay, if you’ve made it this far, comment and let me know what you think about “heritage” and “progress”.  And check out my youtube channel if you want to see more of our farm.  Thanks!

6 Responses to Chester White Litter 2.0

  1. Amanda Morrison says:

    I would love to come visit your farm. Your reasoning for the breeds you pick is heartwarming. I love the love you have for the animals you raise

  2. Doug says:

    Hi Matt, we have the same issues in architecture. Questioning what progress is and determining which historical buildings to retain. In Darlington, there has been an effort to revitalize the Driver Opera House, which is a piece of the town’s architectural heritage along with the entire main street. Sometimes progress is recognizing the value of the past as in your heritage breeds.I hope the piglets and new breed do well!!!!

  3. Thank you, Doug! You know the vernacular!

  4. Dave Perozzi says:

    Your food reference is a good choice. A couple years ago I watched The Search for General Tso, created by a filmmaker who also made the King Corn documentary. I believe it is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. The chicken dish is not a true Chinese heritage food, but rather a hybrid that has standardized over time to become an American heritage food. In livestock terms, it is now its own breed with its own mythology, not unlike like some of the origin myths that Angus or Berkshire breeders tell.

    • Thanks Dave! So funny I picked General Tso’s chicken and I happened to pick wrong, but you’re right in a way its becoming its own heritage. Think of all the chefs and cooks who are making General Tso’s chicken every day in America.

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