When breeding Mangalitsa, it is no different than any other breed of pig. You just have to find what works for you, your farm and your values.
Some breeders will confine a gilt and boar to a very small pen so the gilt has no choice but to breed. We recommend a larger sized pen, open with no obstacles for pigs to get injured on when the “chase” begins. This way the boar and sow are able to court one another freely and when they are ready, breeding will commence.
We recommend keeping the boar in with the sow for at least one full heat cycle. Check for signs of estrus 20-30 days after mating has occurred. If the gilt/sow is not showing signs then she is presumably pregnant and can be removed from the pen with the boar. Some breeders prefer to keep the gilt/sow with the boar for longer to make sure no sexual activity is observed.
Some breeders also choose to keep the pair together even throughout farrowing. There can be some risk associated with doing this and can really depend on individual situations and boar/sow temperaments. Do what works best for you and your farm.
There is also breeding options that involve not keeping a boar at all by only using AI (artificial insemination). This is done by purchasing semen, tracking estrus and inseminating the gilt/sow at the correct time. This mocks the natural breeding process and is cost effective for farms but is mostly used in commercial settings. Right now there are no known producers of registered pure bred mangalitsa semen in America.
AI FOR MANGALITSA
There may be some options for artificial insemination in the united states but there are no producers of registered pure bred Mangalitsa semen. There is also no known producer of pure Mangalitsa semen in Canada at this time.
This may come as an inconvenience for some breeders not comfortable keeping a boar. But with natural, selective breeding and by using the herd-book we can record patterns in behaviour to see if there is a correlation in temperament and genetics. This is why keeping records and registering DNA is important.
It’s important not only for the integrity of the breed but for the health of your herd to select breeders that are fit for the job. Pigs should be in good health, well conditioned (not too fat or to skinny), have good feet, are well manured and meet the breed standard.
It can also be important to select gilts that come from mothers with good mothering instincts or experienced well manured sows to avoid having a sow that savages piglets. Although it is not proven to be passed genetically yet with sampling DNA and making records we can begin to make the correlation. Another reason why registering your pigs is so important!
Gilts can get pregnant as young as just 4-5 months old. We strongly advise against breeding pigs any younger than 1 year old. The breeding age for Mangalitsa is 12 months but we recommend 14-18 months. You want gilts to be in good condition when they are bred.
Boars can be begin breeding from a young age but we recommend them to be least 4-6 months of age. We also recommend that if you are using a younger inexperienced boar that you pair him with smaller or younger gilts (over 1 year) so that he is not overpowered by older sows.
Signs of Estrus
- Swelling, reddening of vulva
- Discahrge from the vulva
- Ears become erect
- Changes in regular behaviour or routine
- Standing reflex – response to pressure on back (Boar presence may be necessary, especially for gilts) – this is why it is called a “standing heat”
- Interest in the boar
- Allows mounting and copulation
- Characteristic grunt
TRACKING HEAT CYCLES
Estrus or “heat” for pigs can start as young as 4-5 months. Females will cycle through estrus approximately every 21 days. It’s best practice to become familiar with your pigs cycles and to mark them on your calendars to calculate their expected cycle dates. This will allow you to know the best time to put your sow/gilt in with the boar.
HOW TO TELL IF A GILT OR SOW HAS BEEN BRED
There are a few ways to tell if your git/sow has been bred besides more experienced and expensive methods like using a vets assistance or an ultrasound.
Firstly if the gilt/sow is in fact pregnant she will not show any signs of estrus after her time with the boar has occurred. She will continue to not show signs until after piglets are born. This not only confirms mating but pregnancy as well.
Another sign of mating to look for occurs right after copulation. There will be a gelatin “plug” created by the boar’s bulbourethral glands that will form at the end of ejaculation. This acts as a plug to hold in the semen to ensure the best chances of pregnancy. This is sometimes visible and will resemble a gelatin like substance coming from the vagina of the sow/gilt.
A less messy way to tell if a sow/gilt has been bred is to look for servicing marks on the body. The boar, when mounted on his partner will often wear away the hair on the shoulders and back of the sow/gilt. This is not always 100% accurate but can sometimes be proof that mating has occurred.