Sorting through hundreds of prospect photos online can be incredibly overwhelming and might leave you feeling more confused than excited. Each seller has a different approach to getting pigs ready for sale, which translates to some pigs that are already bloomy and look ready for the show ring, while others are still very green and natural in their appearance. Ryan Sites gives some insight on how to break them down, so that no matter which look you prefer in a baby pig, you can set yourself up for the best outcome on show day.
Check for Structure
Start off looking at feet and legs. No matter their current condition, their feet and legs need to be structurally correct. “Without this, you’re never going to get all the way to the end,” Sites said.
Sites recommends to start by checking the angles and make sure they are inside themselves where everything is in line from the shoulder down. The angle of their shoulder and front knee needs to be correct, as well. Following their shoulder down, pay close attention to the front feet and pastern set. They need to be up on their toes, not too high, but enough to have the right kind of setting to sit high in the pasterns.
“Many times, those that are flat footed as babies are never going to get right,” Sites said. “As they mature and gain weight, they are just going to get flatter.”
Checking the hock placement from behind is also key. The hind legs need to look like they have an angle to them and are not too straight.
Check for Muscle
Good muscle indicators have to do with width of body at certain points. Look at their width of hip, width of chest, and the width from the hock to the ground.
Bloomy pigs may seem to have muscle already, but by measuring these width points will give you a better idea of muscle mass as they get older. You can also see the potential for natural pigs there too. “He may be green, but he has a chance to come a long way if he has good width in these key areas,” Sites said.
The Best Angle
Sometimes it is hard to look for these things in a picture online. Sites said the three quarter angle photo will give you the best look at a pig. This angle gives you the ability to check the feet and legs from behind, yet see enough of the design to determine widths.
Keep in Mind
You can’t fix feet and legs. If the pig looks extremely straight or bowed in his hock he is more than likely not going to get better.
Ultimately, if you are still unsure about what you are seeing in the photo call the seller to ask any questions you have or discuss your concerns.