If you own a ranch, farm, or a small bit of land outside city limits, you’ve probably pondered raising a few pigs. 4-H kids have been raising them for generations, and with a handful of tips about how to get started with pigs, you can too. Today we’re going to share some insights into pig breeds.
Commercial vs. Heritage Pigs
Commercial hogs are raised by the hundreds or even thousands for their meat. It’s how we can all go to the store and get a pound of bacon at incredible prices. These pigs are bred for one purpose, which doesn’t always lend as well to a small operation.
Heritage breeds, on the other hand, include the Berkshire and many others. These pigs offer flavorful meat can be bought as a crossbreed. Heritage pigs can forage on their own, if necessary and are easy to pasture. Choosing the right heritage breed often comes down to how easy they are to raise and feed, as well as the taste of the meat.
Berkshire: These highly sought after pigs have an easy-going personality and easily put on pounds with foraging. They’re also simple to keep, according to most experts.
Flavor: mild, smoky-sweet.
Perfect for: small farms in areas where winter comes late.
Chester White: These stocky pigs live long lives, make excellent mothers, and are extremely hardy in colder climates.
Flavor: mild yet flavorful meat.
Perfect for: colder regions and those interested in breeding pigs on a regular basis. Good starter pig.
Duroc: These pigs are about as adorable as they get with their droopy eyes and expressions. Duroc is one of the most common breeds in the U.S., with great temperaments, a medium build, good mothering, and piglets that are easy to wean.
Flavor: tender and juicy.
Perfect for: Those starting out raising pigs. Perfect for smaller properties and pastures.
Hampshire: These black and white pigs are a bit smaller and leaner than other breeds but have a larger loin.
Flavor: lean with a mild flavor that is perfect for curing.
Perfect for: smaller pens and pastures.
Landrace: If you’re looking for a pig with a long body that is perfect for bacon, this is the breed for you. Landrace pigs are known for large litters, large piglets, and great mothering.
Flavor: tender and flavorful; ideal for bacon.
Perfect for: farms where upwards of a dozen or more pigs can grow at one time.
Spotted: This breed is well known for its flavorful pork. Mature hogs can weigh in at over 500 pounds thanks to its ability to forage in pasture.
Flavor: tender and flavorful pork.
Perfect for: those looking to raise large pigs for their pork and overall weight.
Yorkshire: The Yorkshire is ideal for meat, which is why they’re commonly called the bacon breed.
Flavor: lean, great for bacon.
Perfect for: those looking for good meat production.
Let’s Talk about Your Pig Needs
Your Northwest owned and operated Coastal has everything you need to raise the perfect pigs, including fencing and feed, straw, medication, and troughs. You’ll also find knowledgeable folks who have raised pigs in your area and can share some insights into the breeds that might be right for you.