Our introduction to keeping pigs started with the British Saddleback, a rare-breed, Black and White.
According to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust there are only 500 breeding sows left! That is such a pity as the Saddleback is a hardy breed and is very suitable to the Irish weather. They can withstand the winters and their black pigmentation actually protects against sunburn in summer.
About two years ago we introduced a Landrace (a traditional pink pig) sow to the herd. The thinking behind this was that we would have a longer, leaner pig. However, a pink pig is not such a good outdoor pig – particularly in the summer! They suffer terribly with sunburn! So we will be revisiting cross-breeding and will have to consider a darker skinned pig Duroc or similar. Did you know that there are 72 known breeds of pig, excluding genetically modified commercial hybrids?
They are housed in a variety of ‘sties’ from old farm sheds to purpose built arks and can wander in and out to the fields as the mood takes them. Given half a chance escapism is their natural inclination and Perky (photographed here) is the master escape artist – far away fields, etc!