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Author Topic: What breed pigs?  (Read 44978 times)

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2007, 10:42:52 am »
Friends have just "done" an 18 month old tamworth working boar.  I would not recommend leaving a boar to this age nor using a working boar, for them it was an experiment.  The meat was superb.  No boar taint even on the stmoach area which they baconed.  The chops were huge, 1 filled a large frying pan, took me two days to eat although OH managed to eat one at a sitting.  The meat was not as tender when first tried as it would have been on a younger pig, but oddly after being frozen, thawed and then cooked the joints and chops were really tender.  None of the meat was tough.  He was free range, fed about 2 kilos a day of nuts plus a variety of fruit, veg and bread.  He had about 1.5 " back fat although thats an estimate I did not measure it. 

We send our tammy males at around 8 months  (80+ k dw), females around 1 year old, they make good baconers then.  We never, ever get much fat on ours.  We feed 2 kilos pig nuts at 16% protein per day at 4 months onwards and adlib massive amounts of fruit and veg, plus of course the generous donations of acorns and assorted nuts grown by all our neighbours.

Judith

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2007, 10:02:31 am »
Hi All

Thank you so much for the advice - I cannot tell you how helpful it is as we have so much to learn, it is all quite overwhelming.  Can anyone please suggest an "Idiot's Guide" book about keeping pigs organically?  Nothing too technical to start with - we just want to have a couple of healthy, happy pigs.

Judith

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2007, 11:01:01 am »
Try Carol Harris's book called... um, I've loaned it to someone and can't remember the title - "Traditional Pigkeeping" or similar. You'll find it on Amazon. There are photos of our happy pigs in it, so we're a wee bit biased, but it is a good book.

welshdragon

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Anglesey North Wales
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2007, 08:20:15 pm »
Hi piggie keepers.
We have gone back into owning pigs after a gap of 5 years or so. We had so much excess produce from our hydroponic set up that we decided to get a couple of "waste disposal units". We bought in a couple of Oxford Sandy and Black weaners and then a couple of weeks later bought a couple of weaners of mixed parentage. We are against nose ringing so have to put up with our fields being ploughed by piggy noses. When they tear off the grass turf and soil we collect it up,put it in old builders bags that contain a ton and then leave it over winter. In the spring we plant spuds in them and they certainly produce well. The pigs come into the barn at night for feeding and general checkover and are let out in the morning. We clean their stalls out once a week and the   manure and straw get bedded down in an old greenhouse for growing beans and one section for mushroom cultivation. The cycle of country living that is sadly being eroded by incursion of bureaucratic nonsense and imbecilic regulation.
Just my little moan
Welshdragon.

Malc

  • Joined Oct 2007
    • The Edge of Nowhere
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2007, 10:53:30 am »
Carol Harris's book is very good and has loads of relevant advice, but for day-to-day I prefer Andy Case's Starting With Pigs. It has less detail, but all the really important stuff is in there and it's a more manageable size.

As far as what breed - my limited experience would steer me away from Tamworths as a first pig - too skittish, fast and likely to escape. I'm keener on Large Blacks and Saddlebacks. But it really is a matter of taste. As with any rare breed animal, I find keepers are almost evangelical in their support of their breed.


pigsatlesrues

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2007, 11:53:54 am »
I would have to disagree with Malc regarding his comments about Tamworths.

 If there was ever a laid back pig it has to be the Tammy. Our worst nightmare is Laura our Saddleback who will crash any fence at the sight of a bucket and regularly nips my bum. Our Saddleback/Tamworth Crosses all take after their Tammy side and love nothing better than their head on my lap havng their ears tickled, or good old fashioned belly rubs. I think if you spend time with any pig you will reap the rewards. If you show them ongoing affection then they will come looking for it.

For someone daunted by size perhaps, then the Tammy does get big that is true, but if you are only keeping your pigs for meat then you will make your choice on final size when the time comes for processing.

For breeding purposes if you raise your pig from a weaner then the relationship will develop and the trust and affection will grow and you wont notice their size as they grow because you will be with them everyday.

For someone who really does prefer a smaller pig then the GOS is a good choice. Not so big, excellent meat and a wonderful nature if you spend the time developing a relationship with them.

We bought in Laura Saddleback and Vanessa Tamworth as our first pigs aged around 2 years old, both in pig to a Tamworth boar. We kept two from each litter to increase our breeding stock and later bought in unrelated boars, one of each type.

We have a wonderful relationship with those two first pigs despite Laura's quirky habits!, but both came from a very loving environment and although we pet them and they will feed from our hands, we are very respectful of them especially when they have young. When we inspect their babies during the first week of their life, the mums will always have their head in a bucket of food to distract her from our visit.
Now their daughters have recently had first their litters and the difference in the relationship with that four is quite different to the one we have with their mums. Because we have been there at the birth and raised them from day one, they will allow us to sit with their babies, handle them, and the mums will sit with us while we are handling their young, getting tickles and rubs at the same time. It just goes to show what a difference it makes giving the time and affection to your pig from day one. It is a wonderful experience it really is!

Finally I would suggest that when making your choice of pig, make time to have a couple of visits to the place you intend to buy from. See how they handle their pigs, particularly the parents, and if the parents' needs are being met.  If the parents are friendly and contented then you can be pretty confident that the young will be contented as well and easy for you to handle and form a relationship with.  If buying an older pig, then the temperament is very very important and my point above will deffintately apply. It would not be impossible to improve the temperament of an older more difficult pig, but by their sheer size, it is not something I would recommend to a novice.

These of course are only my opinions and not intended to offended anyone. Everyone has a different point of view, and that is the benifit of a forum like this one, to glean info from lots of people and form opinions of your own and most deffinately learn new things along the way.

Kate
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !

Malc

  • Joined Oct 2007
    • The Edge of Nowhere
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2007, 09:20:49 am »
Interesting to read Kate's comments. I reckon that just goes to show it probably doesn't matter what breed, as long as they are healthy and from a reliable source you can't go too far wrong. Pigs, I suspect, are as diverse as humans, dogs, cats and so on and personality maqy have as big a bearing on their behaviour as their breed.

Judith

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2007, 07:55:02 pm »
Hi all

Thank you for the advice re the books.  Both have been ordered and we hope to have them within the next few days.  I have been avidly reading all the comments but think that until we have read and digested the information in the books it will still all be a bit unclear.  Two things occur to me though.  We have John Seymour's New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency.   In it he advocates keeping a swill bucket, putting the scrapings from plates into it etc and feeding the pigs from that (along with other  pig food).  We thought that this was not permitted but the book is not that old, so we are a bit unsure.  The other thing is that when considering the size of the ark, we are told in the magazine adverts that they will hold x number of weaners or porkers.  Can any of you please tell me the difference between a weaner and a porker?  I would have thought that weaner is self explanatory but we are not sure what a porker is.  However, we thought that either a traditional ark of 8' 6" by 8' 2"  or the plastic Carberry ark at 7' 6" x 7' 6" would be OK for 2 weaners.  As usual, any help/advice will be gratefully received.

Judith

carl

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2007, 09:32:12 am »
although seymour has a lot to say, it is quite an old book that has been reprinted. go to the defra site and download their "a guide for new keepers" pigs document. it has good advise plus all the relevant regulations on feed. there is also a document called "feeding catering waste to farmed animals is illegal".which includes farm animals kept as pets. what to spend on pig arks is pretty much like buying anything, you pay your money and find out with time if you spent wisely. i have two arks, one splendid bought ark 8 x 6 which was from the traditional pig ark company, and is perfect for my 3 14 week olds to grow into, it was a wee bit expensive but came deliverey included by the nice chap who built it.so actually was cheaper than the carberry. the other is home made and a bit over engineered, but is @ 8 x 4 and is waiting to house two more weaners @ the same age. i have to say though that they are both very cosy once straw is added. i suppose that size wise you have to allow for what size they grow to etc.
there is also yet another defra publication called " the code of recommendations for the welfare of livestock"  " pigs". there seems to be such a lot to read and absorb before taking on livestock, but once you start practising and it becomes secand nature it is very rewarding. my little pigs are such fun, and quite mischevious. they are also quite friendly and really enjoy a good tickle. there is also a lot of interest from friends and neighbours regarding the end product. so it's a win win situation.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2007, 09:08:07 pm »
We bought our ark from Pig Paradise - it wasn't cheap, but it has a nice wooden floor and is nice and warm, but well ventilated. We've had it 4 years and it's pretty much like new. It also looks OK and since I can see it from the dining room window, that matters!

The floor area is about 7x4 and housed three pigs to slaughter comfortably (well, no-one had to sleep outside). The good thing about it is tat it has a door at either end and we've got it sited in the fence between our two pig pens so by opening and closing each door we can restrict them to one or other of the pens.

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2007, 08:04:06 am »
Judith, I think a weaner is a piglet just taken from mum anything from 3 weeks old (commercial unit) to 12 weeks old, outdoor free range traditional.  Or anything in between.

A porker I think is a pig around 6 months old, or around 50 - 60 k in weight. 

I would think the arc you are looking at would be more than big enough for 2 weaners growing into porkers and even on to baconers (which I think are around 9 months old and around 98 k ).
HM

Please anyone correct me if this is not correct.....

Malc

  • Joined Oct 2007
    • The Edge of Nowhere
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2007, 12:59:45 pm »
Interesting to read the comments about Seymour. It's a great book for the coffee table, there's a lot of good advice, particularly about crops and general organisation. But there's some pretty outdated and even duff advice.

A friend who has been running a smallholding for many years said that Seymour was all very well if the day could be extended to 37 hours. She also pointed out that he makes his living not from self-suffienciency, but from running courses at his farm in Ireland. Draw your own conclusions.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2007, 08:38:03 pm »
I'd agree with Malc - it's quite an inspirational book, but not awfully practical - and most of us aren't looking to knit our own knickers anyway.

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2007, 11:51:14 am »
 :D :D :D  Wolley knickers  ;D ; ;D

Pebbles

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Central Scotland
    • Ardunan Farm
    • Facebook
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2007, 06:52:30 pm »
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to announce that we are now the proud owners of two (unregistered) Oxford Sandy & Blacks. Pinky & Perky!  :D

We collected them on Saturday - they are gorgeous and have settled in very quickly to their new 'outdoor' life. We spent two weeks building them a palace of an ark during our spare time. It is over 8' square and we designed it (ok, MB designed it) to be built in sections and assembled and bolted together on site. I am really so pleased with the results - stained green and with a felt roof (pics to follow - when I work out how!) I think it will probably last longer than your average Barratt home!

A couple of questions though.

We bought 'pig feed' from the cattle auction and I'm just not very impressed with it. It looks like little dried out chipolatas, which very quickly turn to an unappetising mush on contact with the smallest amount of moisture. The pigs seem to love anything they can pick up and 'crunch'. What dry feed do you use/ recommend? I have read that it is relatively easy to change their diet when they're young, but near impossible when they're older. We have tried them on apples and cooked potatoes which they love - they won't go near cabbage?

What 'toys' do you give them to keep them happy and occupied? Don't laugh! I am going to buy them a football and they currently have a big orange traffic cone which I keep rolling about on it's side and when I turn my back they neatly stand it up and walk away from it  :-\

Any other 'must do's/ must haves' would be greatly appreciated. I have already anticipated you telling me not to name them  ;) At the moment it's a 'suck it and see' excercise - we're undecided whether or not to fatten up and butcher or breed from them.

The chap who sold them to us told us about a couple who gave up good jobs last year to become pig farmers full time. They went out and bought an assortment of 20 Tamworths and now have (I believe) about 70, possibly more. They have realised it's not as easy as they imagined and that demand for their Tammies is just not there - so many of them are now being sold. I'm so tempted!!! Maybe I should be learning from their mistake though rather than following their example?

They are such gorgeous little creatures. I so enjoy going to feed them in the morning and playing 'don't run away I won't hurt you!'  :D and my, how they love apples! MB does the bedtime shift and calls me at work to tell me what they're up to.

Does this happy feeling ever subside?

Pebbles

 

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