Successful meeting of saddle pig breeders at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN)

Created by Isabel Haberkorn | |   News

On October 20, 2023, the annual saddle pig breeders meeting took place at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN).


Mainly breeders from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein were present, as well as some interested FBN staff members involved in current saddle pig experiments. The meeting started with an informative tour on the visitors' walkway of the Experimental Swine Facility (EAS), where questions about the runs, pens, cleanliness in the barn, drinking troughs and the problems of the saddle pig breeders were discussed. A focus for the preservation of rare lines and the breeding of new boars for the insemination station is the successful insemination at the FBN with semen from the cryopreserve of the German Genetic Reserve from Mariensee, where PD Dr. Andreas Vernunft explained the procedure of obtaining and using the semen.

The breeders discussed their current challenges, such as the topics "Endo- and ectoparasites in pig husbandry" and "Feeding of pigs". Special attention was given to ways to reduce feed costs, including the use of alternative feeds and residuals. Also discussed were domestic feeds, nutrient requirements and the importance of micronutrients. 

Another important topic was parasite control and prevention, which is of great importance in view of unpaved runs on many farms. Parasites, ranging from single-celled coccidia to 20-cm-long worms, can have a significant economic impact. The meeting emphasized the importance of hygiene management, cleaning and disinfection of housing and equipment, and regular deworming of livestock.

The breed association's report showed that the herdbook population of saddleback pigs in Germany includes 185 sows and 38 boars. Challenges such as sales difficulties, lack of manpower, veterinarians and the impact of African swine fever were discussed.

The meeting ended with an appeal for more public emphasis on the special characteristics of saddleback pigs. This breed is often kept by small breeders, and any contribution to conservation is of great importance. The annual meeting of saddleback pig breeders helps to make the commitment to this special breed visible, to share valuable knowledge for practice and to secure the future of saddleback pigs.