Our Pigs

Laverne and Shirley, two of our Hereford sows

For the past several years, we have raised pigs for sale.  We have purchased piglets from farmers in the area and raised them to market size.  We would like to be able to breed our own pigs instead of purchasing piglets, so we have recently purchased breeding stock of Hereford pigs, a heritage breed.  Heritage breeds are defined as breeds that have developed naturally, before the demands of the industrial food supply required selective breeding of animals to develop “desirable” traits.  These traditional breeds are generally better able to withstand disease and thrive under natural pasture conditions.  By raising these animals, we hope to help preserve the genetics of the original sustainable breeds.  (For more information on heritage breeds, see the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy at http://albc-usa.org.)

Hereford Pigs originated in the US during the 1920’s from the Duroc, Chester White and Poland China bloodlines.  They were developed to grow quickly and thrive both in pastured and confinement operations.  They have a very docile temperament and are usually very good mothers.  They are a beautiful red and white color, and they got their name because of their resemblance to Hereford cattle.

Although they were initially a very popular breed, in the 1960’s the large commercial pig operations began to move away from purebred hogs in favor of cross-breeds, and number of Herefords dropped.  The Hereford is currently on the “Watch” liPigsst of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.  This means that there are currently only about 2000 breeding Hereford pigs in the US. 

We currently have three Hereford sows and one Hereford boar.  We bought them all as piglets in 2010, so they have not yet reached an age where their breeding abilities have been ascertained.  We are hopeful that they will successfully produce several litters next year.

Spring, 2011, update:  We have piglets!!  Two of our Large Black sows (another heritage breed) were destined for the butcher, but we thought they were such good pigs, we’d try breeding them with Squiggy, our Hereford boar.  As a result, we have ten beautiful piglets!  Five look like mom, and five look like dad.  We are waiting and hopeful that our Hereford sows will soon follow suit.

Spring, 2012, update:  We hTwo moms, co-parenting their litters.ave piglets.  Lots and lots of piglets!  Although our Hereford sows have proven not to be very good mothers, our Large Black sows have.  And Squiggy, our Hereford boar, has proven to be a very, very good boar.   Too good, it could be argued.  He
decided that no fences will keep him from his ladies, and we have many more piglets than we had anticipated.  As luck would have it, we have found that the combination of the exceptional meat quality of the Herefords, plus the stocky build of the Large Blacks produces a fantastic pork product.  We have found our niche!