How to Mate Pigs
Pig Farming in South Africa

© Glenneis Kriel

One of the best ways to ensure maximum pig production is to use good genetic material. Therefore, try to buy the best pigs from reputable breeders or commercial farmers.

How to get Sows Ready for Mating

Try to wean the sow on a Thursday. This means, that you will take away her litter when they are between four and six weeks of age. When weaning her on a Thursday, she can be placed in a pen close to the boars but not inside the boar pen. Good fertile sows will come into heat on the Sunday and will be ready to be placed with a boar for mating. Mating should take place on Monday or Tuesday. If a sow is not on heat by the next Thursday, she should not be serviced, as this could result in a small litter. Rather let her wait for another three weeks.

A sow should be taken to a boar’s pen, not the other way around. A sow, which is not properly on heat, will not stand for a boar and will resist mounting. Some sows will stand for one boar, but will resist another. To test whether the sow is on heat it helps to put pressure on her back and if she stands still and hollows her back she is probably ready.

The Boar and Mating

A boar that is ready for mating will produce foamy saliva.
Always keep a boar in his pen - bring the sows to him. If you take him to another pen, he will waste time to inspect his new surroundings. Keeping the boar in his own pen will help him feel confident and he will get onto the task quickly.

Try to use at least two boars for mating but at 12 to 24-hour intervals
Alternate them when mating. For example, use Number One on Monday afternoon, then use Number Two on Tuesday morning. Boars work best during the cooler part of the day

When a herd is big enough to have more than two boars, limit each boar to about 16 sows. He should serve two to three sows per week with two services per sow. Try to replace a boar every six months to prevent inbreeding. It is important to have excellent recordkeeping to keep track of which boar has been used to mate with which sow.

Do not disturb a boar when he is mating. He needs at least five minutes and maybe up to 15 minutes to complete dispensing his sperm. He dispenses about 200 ml of semen with each mating session. When the sow has been mated, take her out of the boar’s pen until the next mating is due but keep her close to the boar in her own pen. Disturbed mating may lead to small litters.

If a boar does not mate it could be due to a few factors: he has pain (feet, legs, back), he has a low libido (sexual appetite) or the sow might not be ready.