Saddleback Pigs Arrive On The Farm

On Sunday I became the proud owner of two British Saddleback pigs. They are gilts which means, for those of you who may not know, that they are females that are yet to have piglets. I am hoping that they will have piglets which I can help to rear.

The pigs belonged to one of our friendly neighbours, where I had previously got my lovely Leghorn hens from.

We collected the pigs from the other end of the village and brought them home around teatime on Sunday. The journey in the trailer was only short and the gilts didn’t seem to mind.

The new pig home, a converted grain store, was ready and awaiting the arrival of the black and white striped pigs.

Loading the pigs to bring them to our farm went without a hitch so we could guess that the unloading at our end would be fraught with mishap, but I was wrong. The girls headed out of the trailer and up the step into the barn without a problem. They practically trotted into the new pig “stye”.

With lots of straw on the ground for bedding, a bucket full of feed and a trough full of water the pigs were set for their new life on the farmingfriends farm. So after a root about in the straw, a few slurps of water and a munch on the food, the two pigs soon settled into their new home. So much so that when I popped out to check on them a little later, the saddleback gilts were snoring and probably blissfully dreaming of more food.

I am so pleased that the pigs have settled in and I look forward to many adventures with my two new girls.

Edible Parts Of A Pig

Many parts of a pig can be cooked and eaten, even more than you could imagine!

Edible Parts Of A Pig - Labelled Pig Joints

Edible Parts Of A Pig - Labelled Pig Joints

A Key To The Labels

A = Head, B = Spare Ribs or Shoulder, C = Hand, D = Loin, E = Belly, F = Ham, G = Trotters & H = Tail.


Loin

  • A large pig’s back can be cured as back bacon.
  • A large pig’s back can be cut into roasting joints.
  • A smaller pig’s back can be used as loin chops.

Spare Ribs / Shoulder / Neck End / Blade Bone

  • The spare ribs can be used as a roasting joint.
  • They can be cut into chops.
  • The shoulder can make a roasting joint.
  • The shoulder can be cured for bacon.
  • Spare ribs can be cured as collar bacon.
  • They can be used for salami.

Ham

  • The ham can be a huge joint of prime roast pork.
  • The ham can be salted or smoked to make cured ham.
  • Only the back legs are called the ham and they can also be boned out and cut up to make gammon.

Belly

  • The belly can be cut up into strips.
  • The belly can be used for a roasting joint.
  • The thick end of the belly can make prime bacon.
  • The thin end of the belly can make streaky bacon.
  • The thin end is sometimes pickled in brine.
  • The belly can be salted or cured whole for bacon.

Hand / Hock

  • The hand / hock can be used as a roasting  joint.
  • The hand / hock can be cut up for sausagemeat.
  • The hand / hock can be used for salami.
  • The hand / hock can be cured on the bone to make a ham.

Head

  • The head can be cooked up for brawn.
  • Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recommends cutting off the ears, simmering them in water and then cutting into finger sized pieces, next coating them with mustard and breadcrumbs and then baking in the oven for 30-40 minutes until crisp and golden.
  • The chaps – pig cheeks can be used in brawn, made into ham or roasted as a roasting joint.

Trotters

  • The trotters can be cooked up for brawn.
  • They can also be boiled and served as pig’s trotters.

Tail

  • The tail can be boiled.

If you keep pigs or are thinking of keeping pigs then join the free farmingfriends pig forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about pigs and pig related issues.

A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case.

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Click on the book image below to visit Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this book or visit one of the Farming Friends Bookshops.

The Delia Collection, Pork (Delia Collection)

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Breeds Of Pig

Commercial Breeds Of Pig

Pigs which are kept by farmers for commercial purposes are;

  • Large White
  • British Landrace
  • Welsh
  • British Saddleback (Wessex Saddleback)

The two most important breeds for pig farmers are the Large White and the British Landrace.

Large White and British Landrace Pigs

  • Sows of both breeds consistently produce litters of 10-12 piglets.
  • Both breeds produce good quality pigs for meat production.
  • They both grow quickly.
  • The skin of both breeds is white.
  • Both breeds are very efficient at food conversion.

Large White Pigs

  • A very popular breed.
  • The breed was developed by Yorkshire factory workers during the 19th century.
  • It’s a strong breed.
  • Easy to rear.
  • Produces lean meat.
  • These pigs have white skin, prick ears and alert feature.

British Landrace Pigs

  • This breed originated in Scandinavia.
  • The pigs are suited to indoor systems.
  • This breed is not hardy.
  • They are a lean breed with a good length.
  • Their long carcase makes them very suitable for bacon production.
  • The pigs have white skin and lop ears.
  • The piglets grow faster than other breeds.

Welsh Pigs

  • This breed is similar to the British Landrace.
  • A popular commercial breed.
  • The pigs have white skin.
  • They are a lean breed with a good length.
  • This breed can be reared indoors and outdoors.
  • The sows have good mothering abilities.

British Saddleback Pigs

  • British Saddleback pigs have a blackcoat with a white saddle just behind their front legs.
  • Also known as the Wessex Saddleback.
  • A hardy outdoor breed.
  • Popular for crossbreeding.
  • The sows have good mothering abilities.

Minor Breeds

  • Gloucester Old Spot
  • Tamworth
  • Large Black
  • Middle White
  • Berkshire

Gloucester Old Spot Pigs

  • An English breed.
  • Gloucester Old Spot pigs have white coats with distinctive black spots on them.
  • Originally lived in apple orchards and woodlands.
  • A hardy breed.
  • Produces fine bacon.
  • Can produce many offspring.

Tamworth Pigs

  • An outdoor pig.
  • Dual purpose breed for lean pork and bacon production.
  • Tamworths are moderate sized pigs with long, lean bodies.
  • They have a red coat and prick ears.
  • Tamworth sows can produce large litters.
  • They can be lively pigs.

Large Black Pigs

  • This is a hardy and docile breed of pig.
  • They are a long, black coated pig with lop ears.
  • Large blacks produce excellent bacon.
  • The sows have very good mothering qualities.
  • This breed are capable of rearing large litters.

Middle White Pigs

  • Middle White pigs originate from Yorkshire.
  • They have been bred from Large White and Small White stock.
  • This breed has a white coat with a flattened face and nose.
  • They have pricked up ears with feathery hairs around the edges of the ears.
  • These are early maturing pigs.
  • Middle Whites are reared for pork.
  • They are good natured pigs.

Berkshire Pigs

  • Quite a rare breed of pig.
  • Berkshire pigs now have a black coat.
  • Originally had a reddish coat which sometimes had spots on it.
  • They have prick ears with white on their face, feet and the tip of their tail.
  • This breed are fast growing.
  • They are produced for their juicy pork joints and chops.
  • Berkshire pigs have a good temperament.

Imported Breeds

  • Duroc
  • Hampshire
  • Belgian Pietrain
  • Maishan
  • Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig

Duroc Pigs

  • Originates from United States.
  • A very hardy breed.
  • Has an attractive colour.
  • Can grow quickly.
  • Quality of meat good.
  • Meat is juicier and flavoursome.

Hampshire Pigs

  • Originates from the United states.
  • Good for cross breeding.
  • Quality of meat good with high lean content and good hams.
  • Not a prolific breed.

Belgian Pietrain Pigs

  • Good quality meat with high lean content and great hams.

Maishan Pigs

  • Originate from China.
  • A prolific breed whose sows can produce 20 piglets.

Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs

  • An ornamental breed.

A useful book for a new pig keeper and breeder is the book Starting With Pigs by Andy Case.

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If you keep pigs or are thinking of keeping pigs then join the free farmingfriends pig forum for the latest chat, advice and questions about pigs and pig related issues.

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Click on the image below to go to Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this book entitled Storey’s Guide To Raising Pigs.

Storey\'s Guide to Raising Pigs