Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: What breed pigs?  (Read 42608 times)

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
What breed pigs?
« on: October 21, 2007, 11:25:24 am »
Wondering what pigs everyone has? 

We are the proud supporters of a gang of Gloucesters, a troup of tamworths and a single saddleback sows, plus the boar and the assorted offspring.


Judith

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 11:44:53 am »
Hi

We are currently looking into keeping pigs and want to get a couple of weaners once we have their home set up.  We are intending to keep them for the meat - not as pets - so can anyone please tell me what the best breed is for good, tasty meat?  Is there any difference or do they all taste the same?  We are complete beginners so need all the advice we can get!

Thanks

Judith

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
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Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2007, 02:09:24 pm »
We're big fans of Tamworths. Taste great and are dual-purpose - are good for bacon and pork.

Bristol University did some taste test research some years ago and the Tamworth pork won, so they're endorsed by scientists!   ;)

farmingfriends

  • Joined Oct 2007
    • Farming Friends
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2007, 02:59:53 pm »
I have two saddleback gilts who are in pig.
Sara from farmingfriends
farmingfriends

Jon

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2007, 03:57:38 pm »
Hi,

Tamworths are good, but what about somthing different.  Try middle white, very good meat (currently making some parma ham).  Although would like to know what the Mangalitza are like, looks like a multi pupose pig (meat and wool!)

Regards
Jon :D

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2007, 04:04:59 pm »
I think it's personal preference as much as anything and I think folk are quite loyal to their chosen breed. The traditional breeds tend to be fatter therefore more tasty, since the flavour is in the fat. Some breeds are favoured for different outcomes although I think this is more to do with size and conformation than flavour. Berkshires are usually regarded as  pork pig - they are quite small so produce smaller joints. Other breeds that are very long in the back are favoured for bacon. Tamworths are regarded as a dual purpose breed, producing good quality bacon and pork.

Also depends what you want them for and where you are going to keep them. Tamworths are the closest breed to the forest pig, so are ideal for woodland areas, although all pigs like woodland. The long snout on the Tamworth makes it a great rooter - so if you want land cleared, the Tamworth's your boy (or girl). The Gloucester Old Sport was bred to live in the apple orchards of its home area. Shorter snouted pigs don't root so vigorously. Pigs with lop as opposed to prick ears don't move as fast because they can't see so well. Our prick eared Tamworths were pretty fast on their feet and seemed to enjoy a good race around the pen.

Have a look on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust website or contact the various breed societies for more information and names of local breeders. It might come down to what you can get in your area - although I get the feeling that small-scale pig keeping is on the increase, so choice is getting better.

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2007, 08:53:58 pm »
My all time taste favourite is the tamworth.  Just dont push them let them grow slowly.  (My opinion).

My friends have mangalitsas.  Lovely pigs but very hairy.  They carcass out smaller.  I believe Tony York at Pig Paradise Farm has mangalitsas now.  They are very intelligent, more dog like than most pigs we have kept.  We gave up keeping them because with their very hairy coats they are very well insulated against the electric fence, ours at least had the singleminded object of escaping at every opportunity.  Amazing to see a full grown sow wriggle through the tiniest hole.  They say tamworths are good at escaping, nothing on a mangalitsa.

For someone starting out with pigs my personal preference would be a Gloucester.  Easy gentle natured and not fast if they do escape, unlike the racehorse tamworths with whom we resort to the bike or car if they escape down the road.

pigsatlesrues

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2007, 09:42:42 pm »
Good evening all!

We are new to this forum and breed British Rare Breeds here in Normandy, France. We have Tammy's, Saddlebacks, and will be introducing a weaner female Old Spot in the New Year. We also have Vietnamese potbellies and Mangalitza's.
We have been increasing our numbers over the past 20 months with our 'in house' breeding programme to get to this stage where we are now in a postion to be able to sell our pork and bacon products to both English and French. One thing the English miss out here is a nice piece of bacon, English style sausages, and crackling on their joints! We are in the process of registering with the French authorities to provide these most important products in our area.
All of our pigs are friendly and adore being fussed and belly rubbed. If we had to choose then our personal preference would be the Tammy every time. They have such wonderful natures and personality and their meat is out of this world. We also enjoy the Tammy/Saddleback cross meat and find it a popular choice at spit roasts.
The French are frequent visitors to our small holding; Free range pigs are not a common site in France and the fact that our pigs can be handled just bowls them over. We have Swallow Belly Mangalitz's which are incredibly scarce here. We only know of one other family in Brittany who have the family group that ours are from. We are in the process of importing from Austria some Reds and Blonds into France and unrelated Swallow Bellies, and with our friends hope to increase their numbers and encourage others to be interested. The French call them Chien Cochon (dog pigs) because they think they look like dogs!!
I adore the potbelly meat - I think it has a taste and texture somewhere between lamb and pork. We have just processed a Potbelly/Saddleback cross (accidental mating not to be encouraged!),  so will be interested to see if this changes the meat significantly. The saddleback/potbellies look very lovely I have to say! We have a Potbelly/Mangalitza cross litter due soon, so again, an interesting combination and since we find that no one else wants to buy anything to do with potbelly it forms a main part of our diet which suits us because we love it!



Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2007, 08:05:14 am »
Hello PigsatlaRues,
We used to have swallowbellied mangalitsas, very hairy.  Our French farmer neighbour and his wife stopped at their paddock and were over heard to say, 

"No they are not sheep ...?????  "  Our postman thought they were dogs.


Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 01:45:07 pm »
I cannot imagine what our local abbatoir would say if we rolled up with Mangalitzas - they do enough moaning about the hair on Tamworths.

carl

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2007, 02:32:40 pm »
I have just started out with pigs. We have just got three g.o.s. weaners,now 11 weeks old. so far so good. they are no trouble at all. I would not like to see how tamworths root if these three babies are anything to go by. we joke about escape tunnels as the pile into the ground. they are very friendly, and will roll over for a tickle. two of these will go for meat and the better of the gilts will be bred. I would like to look at other breeds as time progesses.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2007, 02:39:28 pm by carl »

Hilarysmum

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2007, 08:06:26 pm »
Hi Carl thats the fun of pigs, each breed being different, both in character and flavour.  Its not the tamworth digging that causes problems at ours, its the speed with which they can run when they are out. 

Judith

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2007, 08:52:35 am »
 
Thank you everyone for your advice, it has been much appreciated.  It looks like Tamworths are the overall favourite, especially as they are described as excellent rooters.  We have an acre of brambles etc to clear but if the pigs will enjoy doing it for us, who am I to deny them their pleasure?  Now all I have to do is to find the time and cash to set it all up!  Also, I think that we have to register with a vet before we can keep pigs.  Can anyone enlighten me please?  I have been reading the DEFRA booklet about keeping pigs and it is full of horrific things like tail docking, nose rings, teeth grinding (Aaarrgh! And me a dental phobic!) etc but I think that the information is mainly for people who want to have a pig unit.  There was only about a page and a half devoted to keeping pigs in a holistic way.  All we want to do is to have a couple of weaners for meat and for them to have a short but happy life before they end up on a plate.  Are these things really necessary?  Please help!

Judith

pigsatlesrues

  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2007, 11:23:31 am »
Judith

You most deffinately do not need to dock tails or cut teeth. This is a horrible practice done on intensive farms. Here in France it is common practice in these types of farms, and to us a disgusting and inhumane practice.

Just enjoy your pigs!! If they are for your own consumption I am not even sure you even need to tag them. Certainly in our case, we only need to tag our breeding stock and all pigs destined for meat do not need tags whilst growing but do need to be tatooed prior to going to the abatoir. You would need to check the rules about taking your pigs to the abatoir in UK. Not sure of the rules there but DEPRA would be able to adivise you.

Your choice of Tamworth is an excellent one. We love our Tammy's and infact bought our first one, Vannessa from Hillarysmum along with Laura our Saddleback. They have the most wonderful temperaments - you wont regret it!

Be careful about feeding though. You would be amazed how many people over feed their pigs and ultimately waste their money because inevitably excess food will turn to fat and an unhealthy pig.  I have seen pigs with as much as three inches plus of fat once processed.  We rehomed a 4 year old Tamworth who much loved by her previous family was so fat she could hardly walk, and wheezed when she breathed. It has taken us months to get her into shape and she is now a different pig altogether. Our problem now is that after all this time she still hasn't come into season and if she doesn't then we have a difficult choice to make about her.

At this time of year there is an abundance of fruits and nuts which along side their staple diet will keep your pigs contented and ultimately give you the best meat. Always good to get your weaners early spring and grow them through the year when they can get the best of all natures fayre. Most of the people who come to us for weaners come between end March to beginning of May and usually plan to slaughter around end November beginning of December.

One thing to remember though when you reach this time is that your pigs will be very good friends/close family and it would be devistating for them if having two pigs you only slaughter one, leaving one for later. Do them at the same time? it is much kinder. If you went for three weaners then kill one and do two later.
Tamworths are slow growers,and benifit from that,  and infact will still give you perfect meat as old as 18 months old. Hiliarysmum might correct me there!

I will look forward to reading how you get on!

Kate
Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What breed pigs?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2007, 04:13:23 pm »
Absolutely agree about the feeding. We've just got our Tamworths back from the butcher and they are the leanest we're managed. When we went on our Pig Paradise course, we were told "1lb per month of age per day up to a maximum of 6lb per day" (except for lactating sows). The chap weighed it out 6lb and another couple gasped and said they had fed their Saddlebacks about twice that - and had about 3" of back fat on the carcase. It's just money wasted.

I also agree about the slaughter policy - we always send ours together. They are much less stressed than if they are separated.

We don't dock or cut teeth, or tag. We mark the pigs for slaughter only.

Enjoy your Tamworths!

 

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