Rare Berkshire pigs

Rare

Berkshire pigs

When we first decided to raise free range pigs our concern was how a cute little pink piglet would fair in the ever changing Gippsland environment! After extensive research we found that the best pigs to raise as free range pigs were heritage breeds with darker skin as they are more accustomed to living in outdoor environments – in turn this led us to our beautiful Berkshires.

The Berkshire pig was first referenced by Oliver Cromwell’s (1599-1658) troops during the English civil war. The colour of this original Berkshire varied from black to sandy red. It was renowned for its size and the succulent meat it produced. For this reason the breed was kept by the Royal family and they have continued to do so for centuries. Queen Victoria bred the famous boar “Windsor Castle” who exceeded 500kgs mature weight. Approximately 300 years ago the Berkshire was crossed with Chinese and Siamese blood resulting in a black coat with six distinctive white spots (face, trotters and tail) we see today.

Not long after the creation of the black Berkshire, as a diplomatic gift, a small group of this breed were sent to the Kingdom of Ryukyu (modern day Okinawa). The Okinawans were so impressed by the quality of the breed that they soon sent some north to Kyushu. The Japanese have been breeding Berkshires since this time and call it Kurobuta (meaning “black pig”). The Japanese regard Kurobuta pork as the highest quality over any other breed.

Berkshires are still considered to be a rare breed and were listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia not too long ago. We are excited to be breeding such a wonderful animal and helping its’ conservation at the same time.

Free Range Pigs

Our

Free Range Pigs

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One of our main goals when starting our farm was to ensure that all our animals are treated with respect and compassion in an ethical and humane environment. To accomplish this, we felt that we only had one choice when it came to raising pigs – they had to be free range pigs!

Our free range pigs are able to roam in the paddocks as they please from the time they are born. We also provide huts and straw bedding for shelter from the elements which they can go into and out of any time they choose. We do not use nose rings, teeth clippers or tail dockers and our sows are not put into stalls or crates when having their litters (known as farrowing) – our pigs are able to behave and act as pigs do! Our Berkshire free range pigs root around in the paddocks during the day but are also fed a grain mix which provides them with their essential nutrients. We feed different diets to the pigs depending on their stage of life to ensure their intake suits their requirements.

Many people are scared of pigs due to their sheer size, but we have always found our Berkshires to be friendly, curious and happy in human company. As we are among our pigs each day they are used to interaction and can always be moved easily when needed. At weaning, our piglets are moved in their family group and stay this way to reduce any stress.

As pigs do not sweat, it is important that they have access to plenty of water in the warmer weather. We ensure that all our free range pigs have access to a wallow and we also have sprinklers attached to all their huts which they love standing under in the heat! In winter an extra layer of bedding is put down in their huts as pigs also do not like the extreme cold.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our Berkshire free range pigs, please Contact Us.