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Infertility, Sterility

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:34 am
by Di
Andy Case has asked if I will put this on the website as he does not have a computer but thinks it could be of interest.

When some kunekune breeders have trouble getting a sow in pig they immediately assume it is her fault, when in all probability it could be the boar's. If the weather is extremely hot in summer, a rise of just three degrees of his teticles renders him infertile. This can be compounded by the fact that the testicles of the kunekune are oftern held very close to their bodies and do not protrude like other breed's testicles do; which helps to keep them cooler than their body temperature. Once overheated it will be 60 days before his sperm will be fertile again and he can serve a sow with success. It is not often realised that boars kept outside in arcs during the winter can also become infertile by excessive cold and they are unable to complete the act of coitus.

Injury to the genitals can be the reason why a boar becomes infertile. Diseases like Erysipelas, parvovirus and tubercullosis (TB) has become more likely. Eighteen months ago I took an Oxford Sandy and Black porker with four others to the abattoir. The meat inspector condemmed one complete carcass as unfit for human consumption. I learnt at College that pigs get TB but it was very rare, as most British pigs never go outside during their short lives.

Now I don't want to create paranoia, but in the West of England, where we are overrun with badgers and condemmed cattle it seems very likely to me (this is only a theory) that outdoor bred and reared kunekunes might well have TB in varying degrees. It takes a few months for the symptoms to appear after a pig has been in contact with a badger's sputum. They come into my barn and eat the pig nuts! The interesting thing is, TB can infect the reproduction organs of both the boar and the sow.

One other point which is often not noticed is that of abortion. You put your sow to the boar, she goes the three weeks and doesn't return, so you assume that she is in pig but she never produces any piglets. Has she aborted? Very likely and the abortion of her piglets is the reason why you cannot get her in pig again because of something wrong inside? It could be that in the meantime she has become overfat and has laid down a lot of fat around her ovaries, this can reduce or shutdown the production of eggs. Disease of the reproduction organs or cysts on her ovaries hampers the breeding process. I always administer long-acting penicillin if there is a suspicion of disease, discharge perhaps. Use hormone treatment by all means. I've always used PG 600 and have done for years.

Finally, only breeding from your sow once a year is detrimental.

If anyone would like comments or questions passed on to Andy please post them here and I will be happy to be the 'go between'.

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:01 pm
by wendy scu
can you ask him how he deals with a sow or gilt who doesn't come into season?
i have tried fertility treatment (at ?50 a go!!) and had no success. both my problems were with Trish . both of whom had previously produced a litter, and were returned to the boar immediately after weaning and ran with him continually ever since (except for short abscences when the boar was removed to successfully serve other sows). Neither of these pigs is overweight, and one it just 2, the other just 3.

Having said all that, they both appear to be pregnant now but its the lack of coming into season that bothers me - there is obviously something wrong somewhere and the vet could only suggest changing the brand of feed we use.

Infertility, sterility

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:42 pm
by Di
I have passed your question on to Andy who is slightly puzzled. He feels the pigs you mention must be coming into season or they would not now be pregnant. However, it may be that it is not very noticeable . Alternatively of course the fertility treatment you mention might have done the trick!

Andy did ask why the fertility treatment costs ?50 a time. He recommends PG600 which he says costs around ?9.

Hope they are pregnant. Do keep us up to date.


Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:48 pm
by wendy scu
sorry, i didn't explain that very well!

they went back to the boar (both were in with him on a permanent basis) after weaning and i watched for hogging/mating on a daily basis but saw nothing. after 3 months had them scanned - empty -
tried fertility treatment - Regumate in a tin and you spray it onto food.
still nobody hogging/mating. Sold one sow (as baron) and the people who bought her rang me to say their boar had covered her within two weeks of her arrival so i am assuming she is now pregnant.

the 2 year old eventually (6 months after weaning) came hogging and is now due to farrow shortly.
hope that makes a bit more sense! thanks for passing messages to and fro :)
does Andy get his 600 stuff from the vet?

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:09 am
by redgeorge
Quote: Finally, only breeding from your sow once a year is detrimental.

Please could you ask Andy why he feels it is detremental?? Thanks

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:04 am
by wendy scu
i can answer that one (although Andy may be more informative)
a natural cycle for the breeding sow is one and a half to two litters a year. If a sow is left with a 'rest' period between litters she will lay down internal fat (i say this as her outward appearance is nothing to go by) around her ovaries and will then cease to ovulate.
If you really want to leave your sow for a 'rest' period it is best to leave her suckling a couple of piglets as this will keep her in healthy breeding condition.

Like Andy, i see the 'breed from her once a year' situation and for the first two or three years you will get away with this then at 4 years old it will all go wrong. not every time but usually.
Like Andy, i breed from my sows on a continual cycle. they feed the litter for 8 weeks, wean them (i mean properly wean them, not just sell the piglets in dribs and drabs from the sow which i don't like to see) then return her to the boar . This is her most productive heat. if she is really looking ropey after feeding the litter you can leave her for one cycle but she will gain weight and get back into condition whilst carrying the next litter.
I know Andy has sows of around 10 years old who have followed this pattern and believe me, they look in fine condition. sows tend to age and accumulate health problems when they STOP breeding.

Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:47 am
by wendy scu
ps. as testimony to this, i think Ann Stanier and Chris wray both said in their newsletter profiles that they had lost the fertility of their sows this way, and also a pig breeder from NZ of over 40 years experience told me the same thing last year.


Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:37 pm
by Di
Sorry to be so long getting back (son's wedding at the weekend!).

I spoke to Andy tonight who agreed with everything Wendy has said. The PG600 comes from the vet. The reason for breeding twice a year is as Wendy says - longer breeding.

Andy did say that hearing what Wendy had said about her pigs - it could possibly have been the boar at fault and not the sows. It is always worth considering.

I have found this interesting as I only breed once a year. The dilema being - do you breed twice a year and hope you will be able to sell the piglets, or once a year and risk the sow not breeding after about 4 years old?


Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:23 am
by redgeorge
Thank you for your replies.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:54 pm
by wendy scu
i am happy to say that the younger of the 2 mentioned above is now bursting with milk and by my reckoning 2 days overdue to the right boar!
i'll keep you posted :D

Re: Infertility, Sterility

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:32 pm
by pedro1
i have had these two gilts for several years now and i have had a boar in with them for almost a year and the gilts have only come into season twice in 2011 and i was wondering if anyone could tell me what is wrong from pedro