We raise heritage homestead pastured pigs for meat and piglet sales. Our boar, Wilbur is a Gloucestershire Old Spot, and our sows are Ursula, a RW/Berkshire cross, and Lavonne, a RW/Large Black cross. Out of the four sows we worked with in 2016, these two girls struck the best balance between staying friendly and calm as mothers, and raising the healthiest and tastiest babies.
People can’t believe how delicious the meat from these pigs tastes. We’ve seen friends try to trick each other out of cherished bites of meat fat. These old breeds originated from all over the world and are known for having an all-around balance between fat and leanness, good marbling, and exceptionally flavorful meat.
Our pigs are fed a home-mixed blend of non-GMO peas, barley, and wheat. We lacto-ferment this mixture in whey from our raw goat and sheep cheesemaking, and add certified organic flaxseed, sunflower seeds, kelp, and clay for vitamins, minerals, and key amino acids (like Omega 3s). They are also treated to organic hay, kitchen and garden scraps, and all the acorns they can gobble in the fall. We’re experimenting with feeding some alfalfa (we can’t get organic) in to our breeders for better overall nutrition, and are looking forward to trying out organic hydroponic fodder. Our pigs are happy, and the picture of health, with shiny coats and clear alert eyes and enthusiastic grunts of satisfaction, especially when we're giving them their belly scratches. They live outside with lots of room to root and run (especially when we’re coming to feed them). Pigs can be heavy on the land, and so we move them regularly to manage their impacts and also keep them on clean ground. We try to manage any parasite loading by keeping the animals well-fed, in good health, and through occasional use of garlic or diatomaceous earth.
All of these breeds are medium/large to very large pig breeds, and this is intentional because we have such a strong predator presence in our woods. We’ve seen large mountain lions, and our neighbors commonly have run-ins with bears. We wanted animals that would be large enough to be formidable. At the same time, all of these breeds are known for being docile. Since we pasture our boar together with our sows, we selected the Old Spot for the boar, since they’re the most docile and smallest of the breeds we work with. And they make cute red/orange babies with black spots and pink noses!
We love helping others get started raising pigs.