If you adore pigs, you’re not alone. Many people love pigs as pets and even take pride in showing their pigs. Raising a winning show pig takes careful planning and commitment. While pigs can be cute and quirky, they are also prone to illness and require consistent care. If you want to raise a champion, here are five tips that will put you on the path to success.
Picking the Best Pig
Raising a champion pig is much more than just nurturing it — genetics are also involved. If you want to show pigs, start attending some shows to learn about the different breeds. Speak to the contestants to get an idea of their experience as well as any issues that they might have with their pigs. When you shop for a pig, ask the breeder about their vaccination program. Also, ask some detailed questions about the health of the herd, such as weight and show the results of past siblings.
Feeding and Nutrition
Nutrition is an essential element of your pig’s growth and development plan. Pigs are prone to disease, so it’s important to do as much as possible to build up their immune system early. If you buy a pig at a pig sale, you may wish to give them medicated feed for the first two weeks. A young starter pig should receive about 25 lbs of quality pig feed each week. Water should be clean and plentiful at all times as it promotes healthy eating and is crucial to the animal’s growth.
Training Your Pig
To get your pig ready for a show, you’ll need to both train and exercise it. Walk your pig each day to build up their stamina. You can also begin working with your pig using a pig whip to steer them in different directions. Tap the pig on the front half of its body as a signal to turn one way or another.
Grooming and Appearance
You’ll need to pay particular attention to your pig’s appearance if you hope to have success in shows. This needs to begin well before a show day arrives with a standard grooming routine. Give your pig clean, dry bedding so that they maintain healthy skin. Daily brushings will make clippings more manageable. When you do clip your pig, schedule it as close to your show date as possible and make your goal to achieve a natural look as opposed to a groomed one. Also, if you have a dark-colored hog, it’s important that it gets sunlight each day.
Showing Your Animal
Before your pig reaches 150 lbs, you will just be feeding, training, and grooming it for potential shows in the future. Once it hits this milestone, however, it’s time to begin thinking about weight management for the show that you would like to enter. Most pigs must be at least six months old and 230 lbs at show time. For example, if you have a 210 lb pig that you want to enter into a show in 30 days, you should be managing their weight to get them to the optimum point by show date
When you show your pig for the first time, hopefully, you’ve done a fair amount of observation to understand the process. Always keep the pig between yourself and the judge and follow the judge’s instructions or prompts. Judges appreciate owners that handle their pigs gently, so this is where your hours of training will begin to pay off.
Raising and showing pigs might be a challenge, but it’s also supposed to be fun! Taking your pigs to shows is an excellent way to meet new people and show off the best of your stock. If you’re new to showing pigs, make sure to ask others for additional tips that can help you find long-term success.
Do you have the right handling tools?
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