Friday, March 2, 2012

The Pigs we have.....

After my last post, a friend asked what kind of pigs we raise here on Buckland farm, and I thought that was a question worth answering on a larger scale, for all to see. 
At the present moment we have twenty five pigs on the farm, ranging from three months to about 16 months in age. We have one boar who goes by the name of Bo, and he is getting close to 800 pounds. He’s a big boy and can be both super sweet, coming up to you for belly rubs, or a complete jerk, pushing you around with his nose and pestering his pen mates, Fern and Willow (more on them later). Bo is a cross between Tamworth and Gloucester Old Spot. Tamworths are one of the oldest domestic breeds of pigs and they are originally from England. They are a medium sized pig, topping the scale at 850 pounds, with perky ears, a long body and a beautiful copper-red coat.  A couple characteristics of the Tamworth make them a perfect pig for our farm; they are very efficient foragers, have strong legs and bodies that enable them to walk through hilly, rocky and muddy environments and are even tempered, intelligent and fun to be around. They are also very hardy and can withstand harsh winters, rough winds and hot summers. The Tamworth is also know as the bacon pig, because they have a long body and therefore a large belly perfectly shaped for tasty bacon. 
Gloucester Old Spots also originate in England and have similar charecteristics to the Tamworth when it comes to foraging and having the build to live out in the pasture. They are a bit smaller than the Tamworth, have light hair with black spots all over it and huge, droopy ears that fall forward over the face. Bo has the color of a Tamworth, except for two white socks on his front feet,  but most definitely has the ears of a Gloucester.
The third breed of pig that we are breeding in is the Arkansas Razorback. These are a breed of feral pig pig that closely resemble wild boars, and are therefore much smaller and are even more adept at being out in the wild. 
You have met Ruby and Garnett who are both 100% Tamworth and they have been impregnated by Bo. So their litter will be mostly Tamworth with some Gloucester in them, exactly like the 14 juveniles we have running around, who are also Bo’s offspring but mothered by another 100% Tamworth breeding pair: Fern and Willow. Bo has recently re-mated with Fern and Willow, I know this because I saw it with my own eyes, so we will have so we will have a lot of little piggies running around within a few months.
Like I said, Bo is big and Bo is getting old, so he has been slated for a farm slaughter. He will be replaced by Agamemnon, a pure bred Tamworth hog, who will be breading with Strawberry and Juniper, who are our Tamworth and Razorback crosses. He has attempted to mate with them recently, and we are hoping that in his teenage excitement he wasn’t able to seal the deal, if you will. For if he did, they will give birth at the same time as Fern and Willow and we will have between 35 and 45 piglets from one day to the next, not  a disaster, but definitely not planned. We will keep a good eye on them and see if they have their cycles in three weeks. 
 I know this is a lot of information, and I still get a bit confused myself, but it gives you an idea of what we have here on the farm, what we are breeding and how they are all related. Please post and questions or comments, and I will do my best to answer them...

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