We bought three 50 lb gilts last year in Semptember. They're littermates and Landrace/Hampshire crosses- We plan on breeding two (One looks like a Hamp, one looks like a Landrace with some spots) of them, and sending the last, who's smaller, more destructive, and more aggressive, to slaughter. (We would have done so already, but we have a very sentimental family member who won't let it go until it basically has the "perfect day" outside, i.e on pasture, sunny, not too hot or too cold, ect. ect. Ack.)

Anyways, buying a boar is out of the question, as we don't intend to grow or maintain a large commercial herd. So, we're using AI. We have a neighbor that maintains about 5 sows, and he uses this place: http://www.omnitelcom.com/~nibs/ which is what we plan to use. It seems reasonable- But if it isn't (Or there are other options in the area!) please tell me so. We're used to AI with horses, where it isn't uncommon to pay $1000- $2000 in a stud fee to a decent horse, so $8 - $35/dose seems like nothing.

So, the ultimate question is what breed we should be targeting. Originally I wanted to cross them to a Duroc, because of the increase in offspring feed efficiency, growth rate, and leanness. But then I would have piglets that are 25% Hampshire, 25% Landrace, and 50% Duroc. Is there a point where there's too much crossing? Should I try to breed to a Hampshire boar (None of the piglets would be retained intentionally for re-breeding, but for slaughter, although I suspect we'll end up with at least one gilt sticking around because of that family member) to bring the resulting piglets closer to "pure"? Which would be more detrimental to hybrid vigor? In hindsight, I'd rather have just purchased some pure maternal breed stock, but this isn't meant to be a long-term project- Only a few years. :lol: