Our aim as an organic pork producer is to provide high welfare meat to our customers whilst educating them about ethical methods of farming. We farm Large Black pigs this has come after spending 2020 researching and trialling pig breeds to work out which is best on our land and in our system. We rear our pigs outdoors all year round moving them regularly through grass paddocks, woodland, orchards and vegetable patches. These different areas suit our pigs at different times of year, it is all more work for us but it gives the pigs the best life and lots of stimulus.
The Large Black Pig
Whilst all native pigs are considered rare breed The Large Black is on the rarer side. With lop ears and a long deep body, the Large Black is Britain’s only all black pig. They are extremely docile and hardy and suited to simple outdoor systems. Their placid temperament enables them to be easily contained by minimal fencing. The sows are excellent mothers, with exceptional milking ability. They are known for being able to convert poor quality forage and food into a lot of top quality meat. This works to our advantage as they are not picky and will make the most of whatever is on offer. Their meat is excellent as pork or bacon and due to being raised outdoors their thick layer of skin and fat makes exceptional crackling.
Our two sows Noreen and Gloria are bred twice a year. Three months, three weeks and three days later they will give to around ten piglets. Organic standards state that these piglets must not be weaned until two months old, by this time they are exploring, finding food and drinking independently of their mum and barely notice she has gone! The boys are not castrated so grow a little quicker than the girls, we judge when the pigs are ready for meat based on individual size rather than a specific age but they tend to go somewhere between six months and one year. As a rare breed it is important that only the best girls are used to breed from, we keep a close eye on our piglets to see if any are good enough to be sold or kept by us as breeding sows. We currently have our eyes on two... watch the space!