We are not lucky enough to keep pigs at moment but this is something we are looking into for the future. We have been lucky enough to find a breeder of the Large Black who has kindly provided some information on the breed for us.
Large Black – Vulnerable (RBST watchlist 2009)
"They are distinguished by their gigantic size, they are the largest of the kind I have ever seen, and as perfect a make as possible in pigs... their heads are large, with very long ears hanging down on each side of the face, so they can scarcely see their way." - Parkinson 1810
The Large Black Pedigree breed originates from the Old English Hog established in the 16th and 17th centuries. By the late 1880s there were two distinct types of Large Black, one to be found in East Anglia and the other in Devon and Cornwall. However the founding of the Large Black Pig Society in 1889 led to an increase in the exchange of stock between breeders in the two regions. Large Black pigs are very docile, probably because their vision is very limited due to their enormous ears which cover their eyes. Their black skin makes them an ideal out door pig because the dark pigmentation gives them much more protection from the sun their their pale skinned cousins. A large black pig will happily live outdoors all year and will farrow in this outdoor system with great success.
A large black sow makes an excellent mother often having litters of 12 upwards, the mothers have excellent milking ability which allows them to cope with very large litters.
These pigs started to see a decline during the 1960's when consumers decided that they didn't want to see back stubble on their pork, which had a huge negative impact on all coloured pig breeds. This was huge mistake as the meat from this breed is quite exceptional. A large black carcass will give you succulent pork but can also give you the ultimate bacon.
Being hardy, great mothers, docile with a placid temperament they are easy to look after and will respect a single line of electric fencing. Couple this with the excellent quality of meat both for pork and curing, I believe you have the ultimate small holder pig.
Some of these photos show one of my breeding sows, Geraldine. We kept our pigs in woodland where they lived all year round with wooden arks for shelter. As Geraldine was expected to farrow in a day or so we gave her ark a sweep and filled it with fresh straw for her to “nest”. This can be an amazing experience for a new pig keeper, watching your sow prepare the nest for her litter is an incredible sight. Geraldine, who was a delightful character, immediately entered her ark and removed all the straw we had lovingly put there. She then created her nest just outside the ark which is where her litter of 13 was born. She raised all 13 outside in the woodland.
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