The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Pigs => Topic started by: FahransFeathers on September 13, 2022, 06:51:20 pm

Title: Large Black Pigs
Post by: FahransFeathers on September 13, 2022, 06:51:20 pm
Hi everyone ,
haven't posted in what seems like forever but we finally made the move to south wales in june!
i finally got my chickens back and now have 10 but we are expecting two large black piglets in 8 weeks time!
We are also planning on getting sheep next year if budget allows.

i'm very excited but have never owned pigs so this is an entirely new venture for me,
i've got my cph and herd number sorted, pig register book and I've got a book on keeping pigs but for some reason i find it easier to process info with other people and being able to bounce ideas and knowledge about , hence posting on the forum again!

the large black piglets are going to be used as meat pigs, we are getting them at 8 weeks old, they are due to be born on friday which is very exciting and i get to see them practically straight away. we are getting two boys.
i know they are a rare breed which is why I'm looking forward to being able to support them and try the meat ourselves. not sure if next year we may continue with pigs but we will see how we find this experience, my partner is currently thinking of ways to do appropriate fencing and figure out how large an area they will need. they will be processed at an abattoir as I'm not comfortable processing them here on the farm as i am with say a chicken, but we will be getting the pigs done into joints etc. i'm not quite sure what to ask them to do really as i said I've not done this before, can someone write me a list of what cuts etc, sausages etc etc etc are best to do , I'm not keeping them on as baconers.
what is the best way to fence them in and is it better to use stock fencing with barbed wire at say the floor and then electric tape?

Can anyone also recommend anywhere in south wales close to Llanelli that does pig feed ? and also how much should i feed them up until say 6 months and what can they or can't they eat? i am aware you can't give them anything that's been in the kitchen .

Does anyone also have any recommendations for books or youtube or further info on raising them for meat?

hope my post wasn't too long but looking forward to seeing your responses.

kind regards,


Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: SallyintNorth on September 14, 2022, 10:01:38 am
Barbed wire at ground level then stock fencing above.  If you may want to move them around as they grow, teach them about electric (wire better than tape in my experience) while they're little and in a small, securely fenced pen.  (So they can't escape through the electric and so learn to avoid it.) 

They'll need more space as they grow, you can start them in any patch at weaning size.  They won't damage the ground or tree roots much until they get bigger, so if you've a bit of overgrown orchard you'd like them to clear, put them there first and move them out when they start to turn over the soil, so before they damage tree roots.

Pigs outdoors in Welsh winters can be fraught.  They can end up belly-deep in cold mud, and that's a welfare issue. You may find you need to bring them into a strawed yard / stable for the wettest part of the winter.

Rare breeds better fed on lower-spec feeds than commercial types, and less of it.  I use Allen & Page rare breed feeds, more suited to this type of pig.  Any agri merchant should stock some Allen & Page products and therefore be able to get you their pig feed if they don't stock it anyway.

Rule of thumb for rare breed pigs is 1lb feed per head per day per month of age, up to 4 months, then stick at that quantity until done.

My experience is that Large Blacks are slower-growing than other rare breeds, but the meat is awesome, so I found it worth the wait.  They run to fat easily though, so learn to check their condition score and adapt your feeding so that you can always just feel their ribs if you run your fingers lightly down their flanks. 

The butcher knows all about butchering porkers so you don't need to give them a full cutting list if you aren't sure and don't have specific requirements.  You will need to tell them things like whether you want the loins as fillets, chops or bacon (it won't be much and the eye won't be huge, but my goodness it will taste fantastic!), belly as streaky bacon, sausage, belly joints or slices, whether you want joints bone-in or rolled, what max size joints / how many from each hind leg (and whether any gammon / ham joints), whether you want all the spare meat made into sausagemeat or some as diced, whether you want all the sausagemeat made into sausages or some left as sausagemeat.  You can say things like "1/3 diced, 1/3 minced (of which half as burgers), 1/3 sausagemeat (of which 2/3 as sausages)".  If you love sausages and stews more than roast pork, you may want to say something like "one back leg jointed as pork, one as gammon and a ham joint, half of one shoulder as 2 rolled joints, the rest of the shoulder meat for sausages and diced."  Or just let the butcher do whatever comes naturally this first time, then you will understand more about the options for next time.

If you want the trotters, head, tongue, cheek, offal, etc, you will need to say so and arrange to collect probably sooner than the joints etc.  Any processing like sausages, burgers, curing bacon or hams is usually extra.  Curing takes longer so then you have a third collection, usually 2-4 weeks after the joints and sausages. 
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: SallyintNorth on September 14, 2022, 10:05:57 am
And I realised belatedly that I should have saved myself a lot of time and typing and just directed you to the information on this site! (
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: FahransFeathers on September 15, 2022, 02:13:16 pm
Ah thankyou @SallyintNorth

This is honestly so helpful, i've been doing even more research all day and i've contacted the abattoir we want to use and they said they'd take them but need 2-3 weeks notice before we can book them in, really looking forward to the whole process!
Definitely going to buy a weigh tape to keep track of their condition as i don't want them to get fat but want to keep them a correct weight in regards to their age and want to make sure I'm not over doing it.

We are going to go for sausages, definitely some joints and with the bones still in them as we use the marrow..
we'll be getting chops, belly pork joints, diced etc.
we don't eat much bacon so not going to go through with getting that made.

My OH wants to keep the trotters, head, cheek, tongue offal etc and we will definitely arrange for an earlier collection for those .

Really looking forward to getting them though, they will be born sometime today!

i'll keep everyone posted !
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: Richmond on September 15, 2022, 07:29:28 pm
Visit them as often as you can each day to make a fuss of them but don't take food unless it's feeding time, otherwise every time they see you they will squeal loudly thinking they are going to be fed. It's important to teach them manners from an early age :)

You will find that pigs who squeal every time they can see you (even if from a distance) are quite irritating! But the soft grunts they emit while having their bellies rubbed is one of the best sounds in the world :)
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: FahransFeathers on September 16, 2022, 01:55:53 pm
Yes I heard its a good idea to just get them used to your presence rather than feed them everytime you go in even if its just a treat!

Really looking forward to all the little grunts and piggie noises

Can't wait!
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: Richmond on September 16, 2022, 05:10:49 pm
Some people don't like to get too friendly with their pigs, knowing that it will be harder emotionally to send them off, but actually the more they are used to being handled and fussed, the easier they are to move, tag, load etc. At least that's what we've found!
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: harmony on September 22, 2022, 09:39:52 am
Large Blacks can look like greyhounds and still be fatty. There is advice on finishing LB's on the breed website.

I wouldn't take a LB more than 70kg lw.

Cutting - I would always give the butcher a list. Butchers have slightly different ways of doing things so it worth discussing your list with them. If you want head and trotters they need to know. If you want offal the slaughterhouse need to know. Your butcher may not be able to split the pig so that is something else to talk about and collection from slaughter house to butcher.

Front legs are called shoulders. Back legs are legs.

Get a price. People can be caught out by the cost of butchering as costs vary widely.

Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: SallyintNorth on September 22, 2022, 09:23:49 pm
Large Blacks can look like greyhounds and still be fatty. There is advice on finishing LB's on the breed website.

Do you have a link for that, @harmony?  I looked on the Breed Soc site and couldn't spot it.  We had LBs here last time and (the team, I was not involved) produced a lot of very expensive fat, so it would be fab if there was something I could point the guys to for next time.  (TBH, I think - with regret - that LBs are not really suitable for us here as we are a wet, clay site so can only really have pigs outdoors April thru early October, which is pushing it for LBs to mature to good sized baconers, but as they are also known as Cornish Black, it would be nice to support our local breed if we can find a way to make it work for us and them.) 
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: harmony on September 22, 2022, 09:35:27 pm
Frequently Asked Questions | lbpbc ( (

Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: SallyintNorth on September 22, 2022, 10:00:07 pm
Oh, thanks.  I had found and read that page but had got it in my head that I was looking for something about condition scoring a LB.   ::)
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: harmony on September 23, 2022, 08:18:30 am
I'm sure the LBPBC would be happy to have a chat with you Sally. I crossed my LB with a Lop boar. which put some shape and backend onto the LB and reduced fat. I take my Lops to a 100kg lw and they aren't fatty at all. The difficulty with a breed that looks lean but actually is prone to fat is that the fat isn't obvious until it is hanging, compared with say an old spot where you can feel the squidge (if that makes sense).
Title: Re: Large Black Pigs
Post by: SallyintNorth on September 23, 2022, 08:47:40 am
That helps explain what happened, thanks harmony.  I was keeping a weather eye from a distance on the piggies, having been quite sure they'd made an unsuitable choice buying LB weaners in late spring and knowing that the butcher they like to use needs 'em early October.  Then was quite surprised and impressed when they seemed to be growing faster than I expected, and looked not lean but not horribly fat either.   However, when the bacon came back it was awful - well over an inch of fat and very little eye.  (Typical first time smallholder carcase, I thought!  Not to say that all smallholders overfeed their first batch, but it's a very common newbie error.) 

So I guess my "weather eye from a distance" wasn't close enough scrutiny with this sort of pig.

I might do a bit of scouting and see if anyone locally produces litters in January.  If we got weaners in March and used the same butcher we use for our other meat, who will take 'em up until early November, they'd have time to grow at the right pace.  And weaners on ground still a bit soggy, as it often is in March, is feasible.  By the time they're big enough to start rootling and sinking into mud, the ground would be dried up and not a problem.