Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why Large Blacks?


Well...I didn't get much farming done last night. I forgot that I had a baseball game and only managed to get home from work, do the chores, eat supper, go play ball and then drag myself to bed. On a positive note, I went 1 for 2 with a single up the middle and we ended up winning 8-2. I should probably also mention that I got thrown out trying to steal 2nd, but by then it was already 4-0. I love baseball.

I have been asked a few times why it is that I chose Large Black Pigs over any other breed. Truth be told, I had it narrowed down to a few different breeds. In no particular order, I had decided on either Tamworth, Berkshire or Large Blacks. I wanted a heritage breed for their pasturing abilities. The dark colours of the heritage breeds also means that they fair better outdoors in the summer than the white breeds. A heritage breed pig also has more intramuscular fat than the modern commercial breeds...the meat is more tender and tasteful. A pig that is genetically suited for grazing utilizes much less feed (up to 40% less) so that is a better fit for our farm which is mostly grass. The fact that I ended up with Large Blacks was just an accident I suppose. I belong to Rare Breeds Canada and one of the executive here in Alberta wanted to focus on her pony enterprise and had a trio of 'Blacks. We made a deal that suited us both and that is how I ended up with these pigs. I simply love them though...their long dangling ears, pleasant demeanour and hardiness are all wonderful.

There are some very minor differences between the heritage breeds of hogs. Tamworths, in my opinion are not very handsome pigs and they do have somewhat of a reputation for being aggressive. I am sure that I will get comments that they are beautiful and extremely docile...again, it is only my opinion. The Berkshires are a good pig and are known as the "Black Angus" of the hog world. There are more and more of them around western Canada now that there is a good market for them in Japan....a good pig. The Large Blacks, as I have already mentioned, are the lumbering, gentle giants of the pig world. Some people speculate that they are slow and methodical because their ears hang down over their eyes and they can't see where they are going! There is some truth to that actually. At any rate, I love my English Large Black Pigs and am happy that, as usual, things work out as they are supposed to!

2 comments:

  1. Yes, she is big. I am guessing that she is somewhere around 600 pounds. You should see the boar! I will get some photos with me in the frame for reference....John

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