Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Heritage Pigs - Part 2

Well in continuation of my heritage pig search this is now post #2.

This year we are getting the mixed breed weaner pigs which will be butchered disposed of in the fall. I still would like to own and later breed a heritage pig, but like all animals need to find the right one in temperament and traits for our circumstances.

Could this by the breed for us?

Large Black Pig - another domestic pig of England and the only one which is wholly black in colour. The Large Black is a docile pig perhaps because their large ears flop over the eyes partially obscuring their vision. They are known to have good mothering instincts with litter of 8-10 piglets. They are good for novice keepers and are a low maintenance grazing pig and is a hardy outdoor breed. I have looked at the Rare Breeds Canada website and there are several breeders around Canada and I know of some in BC as well. Now to find out of there is enough genetic diversity around...

Hampshire - This is another easy to handle breed originally exported from England. Another pig excelling in motherhood with litters of 8-10 piglets. This pig does well in any environmnet and is a good forager. It is predominantly black with a white saddle and is a lean breed. Rare Breeds Canada only has one breeder of Hampshires here.

Red Wattle - I already know this breed is not for us as this is a very active breed. It has ruddy hair and a fleshy wattle attached to each side of the neck. It originates from the United States and typically weigh 600-800 pounds but can reach 1500 pounds. Rare Breeds Canada only lists one breeder in our country.


Jody said...

I'm really encouraged by your post. It exemplifies so much of what I love about small scale farming.

It's always a good thing to meet an animal before you bring it to the table. Thank for doing this.

Carpe Diem said...

Thanks for the comment Jody. I think it is important to investigate what type of animal breeds you bring to the farm and that its traits is going to fit. Especially since we are just starting out - I don't want an animal I can't handle and then get discouraged.

Years ago when we got our first dog we did a lot of research to make sure the temperament would fit our family and we have stuck with boxers ever since. I can't believe how many people pick dogs because they are cute and then get rid of the 'stupid' dog when it is too much for them to handle. In other words don't get a Border Collie if you're a couch potato!

Jody said...

Have you read Wendell Berry's book "Bringing it to the Table"? There is an essay called "In Defense of the Family Farm". One of the points he makes is that family farms breed/select animals to suit their particular setting. I bet you'd really enjoy it.