Why rear your own pigs?

If you are:

passionate about the provenance and quality of your food,

keen to cut down on waste, food miles,

be more self-sufficient,

reduce food cost even though it is dramatically increasing in price, it makes a lot of sense to rear your own pigs. It is no wonder that rearing free range pork is becoming  increasingly popular, especially with Tamworths. 

Why Tamworths?

Tamworths are a rare, indigenous, slower growing breed. Indeed they are the only true british pig naturally suited to life outdoors in the UK because of their coloured coat and known for producing fabulous meat. In the mid 1990’s the Tamworth came top in a taste test carried out by Bristol University using both commercial and rare breed pigs in a scientifically controlled experiment.  No wonder then that it is often and exclusively served in many of the top restaurants in the country, such as Raymond Blanc’s Le Quat Saisons.

Tamworths are,  loving, talkative “aristocrat” of a pig. The Tamworth is also one of the great ‘dual purpose’ pigs producing stunningly good pork as well as equally tremendous bacon. As one of the longest snouted pigs it is also of great use to the organic gardener or anyone who has a piece of rough overgrown land that needs clearing. A Tamworth will earn its keep as either a professional rotavator or bramble, bracken clearance operative.

What about the costs and benefits of rearing your own?

Weaners at 8 weeks will cost £50, depending on circumstances, supply of food from other sources may need approximately 140kg (£40) of food over the 12 – 15  weeks  to reach pork weight.   

A Tamworth at pork weight (65kg live weight , 45 kg dead weight) has a retail value of  approximately £220.

A Tamworth at bacon weight (100kg live weight, 80kg dead weight) becomes worth quite a few bob in premium, sausages, charcuterie if you have the desire, skill and application to achieve this. It is good to establish in advance, local options, costs of slaughtering (approx £25 ) and butchering ( approx £25) once reared at your own home as well as what you may wish to do with the delicious meat.  

Your local authority ( Animal Welfare ) department will guide you as far as obtaining a new holding number is concerned and also paperwork required when any animal is taken to slaughter. They will be a good source of information about options. You can attend a course on butchering or learn from experts with resources such as the River Cottage, Pig in a day DVD ( also on You Tube).

When should we start rearing?

Weaners are available at any time, but if you are rearing for the first time, springtime FEB/MAR is a good time to start. You will have them for 3 months as the weather improves . Many of our customers have a boar and two gilts each year at this time, with the intention of having the boar which will grow a bit faster, slaughtered earlier ( at pork weight 65-70kg) and the gilts slaughtered later for bacon and sausages. The Tamworth pig is a fantastic breed for this dual purpose.

How do I get the weaners home?

If you don’t have access to an animal trailer, we have a weaner carrier that will accommodate up to four weaners and fit into an estate car which can be borrowed.

I have heard that they are escape artists, is this true?

Well THE TAMWORTH TWO became legendary and so began the myth, however,  if you have stock fencing in reasonable condition or electric fencing it is extremely rare that our clients ever have a problem. Given a bit of space, food and clean water, Tamworths are happy animals that enjoy foraging and sleeping together. Some smallholders use a single strip of barb wire as a way to prevent digging under a stock fence, however this is, in our experience not necessary if your pigs have some space , are well looked after and stock  or electric fencing is in reasonable condition.

Worming  and Vaccinations

All our Tamworth weaners are wormed, vaccinated before they leave our farm.

Shelter

Some sort of Pig arc / shelter is essential, it will need to be big enough when your pigs grow to over 80kg.

Food and Water

Tamworths should always have a supply of clean water.

Tamworths will require 1lb (1/2 kilo) sow nuts/rolls per month of age, per day split into two feeds per day.

What about leftovers

There are clear laws associated with what you can and cannot give to pigs,

You can give to pigs:

  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Pastry
  • Biscuits
  • Pasta
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Fruit and Vegetables

If you have lots of fresh veg, fruit to mix in with pig nuts and rolls, 4lb of fruit /veg is equivalent to 1lb of pig nuts. Local schools and childrens nurserys are often a great source of leftover fruit and veg, but it must not have had contact with any cooked meat or fish. Be careful not to feed any green potatoes and the above extras in moderation as there are example of pigs getting very drunk with stomachs full of fermenting apples and pears. 

How do we get started rearing our own Tamworths?

Please give Barbara a call via Tel: 01495755557 or Email : ba@courtbleddyn.com with as much notice as possible so we arrange to have your weaners ready for collection.