Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Just wanted to share the pics. Thanks again Colette.


Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

Wow, that is beautiful! It amazes me people can do things like that!

Jessica, you had asked some questions about what is the best pig to raise for meat over on my blog in the article about Keeping a Pig for Meat.

I suspect that most any pig will do. My experiences is just with our pigs which are a mix of primarily Yorkshire (Large White) with a dab of Glouster Old Spot, Durac and Tamworth perhaps. I have heard that some people even keep pot bellied pigs for meat because they want a smaller size. If that were my goal I would just slaughter a little earlier.

That all said, there are characteristics to look for. In our case we want pigs that graze well. I have read others accounts of pigs who just laid around and didn't graze. Perhaps they were overfed or maybe some do graze better than others. Grazing and hay eating is important since this means less parasites/worms, a more natural approach to management, better quality meat (in my and others' opinions based on taste tests) and lower feed bills. Grazing and hay eating also produce healthier meat that is higher in the good Omega-3 fatty acids.

Other things I've read about breeds:
Yorkshires (Large Whites from Yorkshire, England) are a large muscled, large boned traditional breed (the oldest and definitely a heritage) that are good on pasture and excellent mothers weaning big litters. They have white skin, which matters to tanners and movie makers, excellent quality meat and just the right amount of fat. They are a bacon breed as well as pork chops with their long bodies. This is our experience and supposed to be the reason Yorkshire genetics are used extensively now in commercial hogs.

Tamworths while good grazers have less meat on them and are very lean but make excellent grazers but poor mothers.

Bershires are very tasty and a little fatty (I like that) making for an excellent meat.

Most people will say, I suspect, that their pigs are best. That is probably true. :) Pigs are great and great tasting! Check out this to read about lots of breeds.

How much all of that is real and how much of it is opinion I don't know. The Yorkshire part does seem to hold up in practice, at least with our Yorkshire crosses.

Most of all, you want pigs that taste good. :)

As to your other questions:

Best place to get them? Look in your local classified newspaper and on bulletin boards at farm stores, general stores, hardware stores, feed stores, etc. Support your local pig breeders rather than buying in piglets trucked long distances. What you don't want is to get the culls, especially not from factory farms.

If you are going to do more than just raise piglets up over the summer then ideally get pigs from someone who is doing it similarly to how you want to do it. That way the genetics are already selected in your favor.

Best way to get them cheap? Buy in the fall of the year. Piglet prices are extremely seasonal. Spring and summer are high. Fall is low. Winter may be high. It is easy to raise pigs up through the winter, even in an extreme climate like ours. Not as easy as summer but given the difference in price it is well worth it - this is what many farmers around here do.


-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm

1:47 PM  

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