Please consult the Marias Fair 4-H website for a complete listing of rules, this is a summary of pertinent information to know at the beginning of the project.

Age and enrollment requirements

  • Youth must be 8 years of age by October 1 of the current year to enroll in the market swine and/or swine breeding projects.

Market Swine Specific

  • Breeds - Any swine breed is acceptable.
  • Tagging Deadline - Market animals need to be tagged no later than the deadline set by the Marias Fair 4-H Livestock Committee (April 12, 2021), and the animal needs to be in full possession of the 4-Her at this date. Watch your county newsletter and communicate with your Extension Agent on how this will be handled within your county.
  • Tagging Procedure - A Marias Fair button with a green numbered tag in one ear is required, this will be administered through the county Extension Office. Should an animal lose their ear tag, a replacement tag must be requested through the Extension Office. 
  • Spare – One spare animal may be weighed in/exhibitor, including for a pen of three. In the case of the death of an exhibitor’s Marias Fair market animal(s), the exhibitor may purchase another exhibitor’s officially weighed-in Marias Fair market animal. 
  • Livestock Quality Assurance - Livestock Quality Assurance training is required every other year for members. Watch your county newsletter for training dates, times, and locations. 
  • Minimum weight - The minimum weight for sale at the Marias Fair Livestock Auction is 220 pounds. If an animal is underweight, they may still participate in the showmanship portion of the livestock show and compete in a special feeder class. Underweight animals cannot be sold at the 4-H livestock auction. They may be sold private treaty, but no signs may be posted until after the livestock auction.
  • Maximum weight - The maximum weight for sale is 300 pounds. Any hog that weighs over 300 pounds is still eligible for show and sale, but the member will only be paid for 300 pounds.
  • Maximum weight for sale participation - Animals over 336 lbs will not be eligble to be sold at the Marias Fair 4-H Livestock Sale.
  • Show and sale requirements - Showing in market and showmanship classes and the member being present at the sale are required to sell in the 4-H livestock auction.
  • Waterer/Feeder requirements – At the fair, self-waterers are required in hog pens, and self- feeders are recommended.

Breeding Swine Specific

  • Breeds - Any swine breed is acceptable.
  • Entries -Members are allowed only one entry per class.
  • Identification - Breeding animals must have either the 4-H Clover tattoo or an association registration tattoo or picture of their animal submitted to their Extension Office by the hog weigh- in deadline year. The 4-Her needs to have full possession of their project animal at this time. 

Questions - Please direct any specific questions to your county extension agricultural agent or Livestock Committee Advising Agents, Jesse Fulbright ([email protected], 759-5625) or Kari Lewis ([email protected], 873-2239).

Swine Management Considerations

Commingling Pigs

Commingling occurs when you mingle pigs from more than one location together (example, you purchase a show pig from one breeder and a spare pig from a local breeder). This is a relatively low risk situation with market hogs, as compared to a breeding operation where you already have your own pigs on site and then run the risk of bringing a disease into your breeding operation.

However, any time you mix pigs (or any livestock), you do run the risk that if one has a disease, it will be transferred to the other pig(s). To prevent this, a 21-day quarantine (pigs are penned separately) can be implemented. If after 21 days there are no signs of sickness or disease, you can then mix the pigs.

If you choose not to do a quarantine period (it may not be realistic for every 4-Her, and again, is not a critical recommendation for market hogs), you should at the minimum watch the pigs for a couple hours to make sure they are adjusting to their new pen mate. If there appears to be excessive fighting, you may need to pen them next to each other until they are acclimated and then reintroduce them.

Regardless of how you choose to mix your hogs, you will want to make sure that they have all had a similar vaccination program. If there are differences in their previous vaccinations, make sure that you get both on a similar program. Below are some specific vaccinations to ask your breeder about. These recommendations come from Dr. Jeanne Rankin (veterinarian) and Marc King (MSU Extension agent in Sweetgrass County and a show pig breeder).

Recommended Vaccinations

  • Circovirus and Mycoplasma – this can be a one or two dose program
    • According to Dr. Rankin, many of the colonies give a circovirus and mycloplasma vaccine to the pigs (at 21 to 28 days of age), but a booster dose at 3 weeks after arrival to your operation would be a good idea.
      • Marc King said he does not vaccinate for Circovirus as he hasn’t seen it to be an issue, but he does give his pigs a Mycoplasma booster around mid-May.
    • Erysipelas – this can be an injectable or oral vaccine, highly recommended
      • This can be given 1 to 3 weeks after arrival to your operation.
    • Rhinitis
      • This is a vaccination highly recommended, and helps prevent deformities in the nose.
      • Commonly sows and gilts receive vaccination prior to farrowing, and then piglets receive a 1 ml dose at 7-10 days, followed by a 2 ml dose 2 weeks later. 
    • 7-Way vaccination
      • This was a vaccination recommended by Marc King, who gives it twice prior to the sale of his feeder pigs. If your pigs have not been given a 7-way, it may be one to consider.
    • Reference article on vaccinations: mags/se_archive_new/2015/2015_march_seedstock/2015_March_Seedstock.html#p=32

Recommended Deworming Protocol

It is highly recommended to deworm hogs every month. This is critical to achieving a high rate of gain, improving feed conversion, and decreasing potential disease problems with your hog. The Marias Fair Livestock Committee provides an injectable dewormer for when the hog is tagged, and will leave a syringe with 2 ml of Ivermectrin to deworm with 3 weeks later for 4-H pigs. Not all products cover all species of worms, so it is recommended to rotate deworming products each month (for example, may use Ivomec one month, Dectomax the next month, and Safeguard the last month) to ensure that all species are covered.

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