Heritage pig breeds have gained popularity in recent years as homesteaders take more of an interested in raising sustainable pork on their own farms.
Today, we're taking a look at some of the pros and cons of raising heritage pigs so you can decide if this may be an animal you'd be interested in adding to your farm.
Links mentioned in this episode:
The Livestock Conservancy: https://www.livestockconservancy.org
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homestead and leading a self sufficient life is overwhelming. Where do you start? Can you even consider
yourself a homesteader? We're here to pull back the curtain on self sufficient living and talk about what it really takes to live this life. The good, the bad and the crazy.
I'm Bonnie, a k a. The not so modern housewife, wife, mother and coffee addict who enjoys teaching others where their food comes from and enabling them to live more sustainably.
I'm Danielle from the rustic elk. Why mom to three farm girls and passionate about helping other stitch the consumer mindset and learn to become more self sufficient through foraging, hunting, growing and preserving their own food. Join
us as we put the simple back into old fashioned living and inspire you to produce organic food in your backyard no matter where you live. Welcome back to beyond the home, said podcast. Today we're talking about heritage pigs and why they may or may not be the best choice for your farm. Ah, this is Bonnie and I actually I do not raise heritage pigs. I raise commercial, um, pig breeds there kind of a mix. York Shire mixes. And Danielle, you have not actually raised pigs. But you were saying that you have butchered heritage. Big?
Yeah, we butchered a mule foot. Um, it's been two years ago. Yeah, about two years ago. So that's all my experience that you're evil for not raising a heritage pig. Well, I'll say they were
They were actually heritage pigs. But when our 1st 2 pigs that we raised were wild berk, shyer crosses, or at least that's our best guess. Um, small, black. A little bit bigger than a true wild pig. Um, but what? Once we we raised them and we butchered them, we ended up deciding, um, to stick with commercial bit pigs. But I had some other reasons for choosing commercial pigs as well. But, um, because heritage pigs have gained in popularity, Um, and a lot of people may have some questions about what constitutes a heritage pig. Why, they may or may not want to choose heritage pigs. We figured we'd go ahead and talk about it and talk kind of about some of the arguments for or against them. And, um, that way you guys have the information that you need to make the best decision for you. So starting out with, um, some of the pros I know a lot of folks and me included, at least for a lot of different things, just like the idea of preserving heritage breeds. You know, um, I know a lot of us that she usedto to live this home setting lifestyle. You know, we want to kind of preserve the past. And so heritage breeds are a big part of that past. Ah, lot of you know, heritage breeds as far as, um, chickens and cows and things were actually dual purpose. And so that's a big appeal for a lot of people. So I would definitely say, Like wanting to preserve these old breeds like the glass for old spots or, uh, the Coney Cooney's, You know, things like that. Um, you know, people want to preserve those breeds that they're not lost
because a lot of them are going extinct because so many people have gone to commercial breaks. But yeah, I'm one of those people that I feel like we should definitely preserve our heritage breeds. Our ancestors were truly hard to create these breeds, and in a lot of instances, there are a lot more sustainable than, um, commercial breeds. But like I said, I don't have experienced specifically with pigs, so I only know what I've researched. Right? Well, we have
some heritage breeds that have become more commercial over the years. Like the just the way they've been bred has changed. Um, so, like, I know, uh, my grandpa would always talk about raising Poland. Chinas, which were, Ah, spotted pig that was actually, um, developed in Ohio. But I know, like the ones that I've seen in recent years, Um, I have more of that commercial look, too. I believe Iraq's are also considered a heritage breed, but those have definitely taken on more of a commercial look. So typically, the ones that we see folks raising for heritage or as heritage breeds, are these smaller, more lard type pigs like the the Cooney. Cooney is in the glass for old spots. I've even seen some folks raising pot bellies as meat pigs. Just definitely a large pig.
Yeah, our, uh, meal foot was definitely a large pig. I don't think I've ever made so much Martin my entire life. Right, So cut. Same extra. Not so much. Yeah, not so much bacon. I know that is kind of disappointing, but, you know, I did read a thing the other day that said that, um a lot of the newer breeds air, actually getting to the point where they don't have enough fat,
right? Well, and I think that is where, um,
like one of the
one of the biggest benefits that you see people mention when it comes to raising heritage. Pigs is the flavor of the meat and how it's so nicely marbled with the fat, you get a lot more flavor. The meat is a lot juicier because a lot of, you know, commercial pork gets the reputation for being very dry because it doesn't have enough fat. Um and so, yeah, I could definitely see you know, the benefit from a flavor standpoint. Um, well,
I I know the mule fits the people that raised them. Um, we're actually trying tow seller meat to arrest or a local restaurant that was trying to do some kind of farm work things, So yeah, definitely a
lot. I've heard that a lot with folks raising mule foot's, um, red wattles are also sophistry really prized by chefs.
Yeah, So there's there's benefits to them, I guess. But yet arse definitely. That was a lot of fat. And then we had I still have large and freezer two years later that, you know, I can Yeah, that's it was incredible. I think we ended up. It's like I wanna say, like, two or 35 gallon buckets before is rendered down.
Oh, yeah, Yeah. We had a big plastic bags full of the fat from our, um our Berkshire crosses that we raised. And even even with all of that extra fat that the butcher had taken off our pork chops for pretty much like as much fat as they were meat, it was It was really too much. Um, and we kind of get in that with the cons, but I can't have a lot of fat in my diet because I don't have a gall bladder anymore. Um, so it was really It was really too much fat for me. Um, but eso, aside from just that, I just you know, the fat content as far as giving more flavor. Um, And then, of course, if you want large for cooking, it's really nice toe have that extra lard. There's And there's other things you can do with it too. Because I know folks that make candles make soap with their lard.
Yeah, we use a lot of lard. I cook with it a lot, and I make soap with it and all kinds of things. So and we still have large, right? Yeah, I'm on a regular basis. It's not like, you know, we you know, anything that calls for Crisco or whatever way always use lard.
Yeah, I'm I'm glad that we've completely eliminated Crisco from our kitchen. Uh, and when it comes to cooking with cast iron, I really do think lard is the best thing to season the cast iron with
Oh, yes, absolutely. But we, uh we have a little pan that we keep s so we can brush lard. And after we get done cooking and washing out skillets, that that's a good yeah, we actually will go to the, you know, like the flea market. Whatever. And find a old vintage pan. It's been re seasoned, and we usually bake it often. Do it ourselves because we know it's been done with Chris. Oh,
yeah, That makes sense. Yes. Yeah, I know what I
can usually tell. They're kind of like yellow.
Oh, yeah. I hadn't thought about that. I haven't gotten a lot of vintage pieces, so I'll have to keep an eye out for that. You know, what I normally do is I'll just take, like, a spoonful of the lard. And, um when after I washed the panel, put it back on the stove to dry, and then I'll take that spoonful of lard in like a piece of paper towel and wipe it around the inside of the pan.
Now we have, like, a little silicon pastry brush and just get some and get in there and, well, the same thing. We put it all back. I must own to dry it out. Well, it's still nice and warm. You just take the lardon spread and pan. Well,
yeah, because it can kind of bind with it a little better when it's warm. Too rain. But yet Ah. So aside from just the meat aspects, I know a lot of people like the Heritage Pigs because they're not known for being routing pigs, and they're not nearly as hard on fences as the commercial braids are s O. I know. Like for a lot of small homesteaders. They end up being a nice option because they can. They can really free range them without having tohave like a fortified Pigpen him. Because my I mean, I I love my pigs to death, but they're so hard on fences and I have tohave two lines of hot wire all the way around their pen. And then we have to keep checking the hot wire because they'll root and dig right by the fence, and they'll throw all that dirt on top, the hot wire, and then it grounds out the whole fence. I
Yeah, so we have to We have to keep checking it, because as soon as they figure out the fence isn't working, then they'll start trying to get
out. Yeah, I've heard, and I don't know if it isn't true that, um, commercial breathes content to be a little more aggressive than heritage breeds. Uh, you know, I heard this. I don't know how true it is. I think I think, really, I think is
really an individual thing. My, my pigs are not aggressive at all, except for the fact that they just don't realize how big they are. And so they still think they can fit between my legs and so they will, like, try to They'll just basically run me over, not even realizing that they're going to knock me to the ground and trump all over me. Um, but I mean, we can go in there and rubble over them, and they basically act like they're giant dogs. But I have known some like commercially bred pigs that, uh, that are more aggressive, like, especially the sowles when they have babies. I've known some that you cannot go in there pin when they have babies, because they will just rip your arms off. And I think that I
think I think it's
like a lot of things. If you have an aggressive animal, I I don't think you should breed it, because I do think a lot of that aggression is genetic. But because so many folks raising commercial pigs are farrowing and crates, um, you know the aggressive aggression from the South's becomes less than issue because they don't have to worry about the South killing the babies. So now you no longer have to worry about aggression being a factor for breeding selection. And so I I still think it's important that you select that you select for personality and, you know, select away from aggression. But I haven't known enough heritage pigs to know if any of them could be aggressive like when they have babies. But I imagine it's kind of the same thing. If you're not selecting for gentler pigs, then you're not going to get gentler pigs.
One thing I have guys don't keep a boar, right? Well know we have a
boar. Now, um, we didn't use to because, you know, we we try to breed with artificial insemination. The problem I was running into was that, um I couldn't tell when my girls were in standing heat. And so I wanted to get a bore so I could tease them so I could see when they were in standing heat, Um, and of course, mine. He was. He was in a separate pen. He's not in a separate pin anymore because we had a hard time keeping him separate. Um, so now he's in with the girls, but he's been in with the girls for a year and never got them pregnant. And then when I decided to a I them again, I think he managed to get them pregnant. Go figure. Um,
but e m Ah, and and again, he's he's not aggressive,
either. We can go in with him. The only thing I have to watch with him is he does have the tusks, and, um, he'll try to push me around either, Like, you know, to get me to feed him or to get me to pay attention to him. And because his tests are so hard, he's, like, left nice, big bruises on my thighs.
Um, no. Yeah, it's not
the most pleasant thing. Um, but I think he's Hi. This is gonna sound really bad. I
think he's too dumb to be mean. I mean, we're talking about a
pig who was literally, like, lifting the whole fence and then putting it back down again.
Oh, a guy. He wasn't actually
getting out. He was just standing there lifting the fence up.
So if you I have a question if you if you use artificial insemination than how do you know if you're breeding for, um aggression or against aggression? I don't know the word. I want to use their You know what I mean? Yeah. Um, that's a good point. Ah, I haven't had an issue. I mean, um I guess the best I would think this would be even more, I would think, would be even more of an issue for people that are choosing to breathe heritage pigs because a lot of people don't keep a boar. And it's hard to find local people that have a boar that you could borrow so right, I think if if they are, if they tend to the aggressive, you know, maybe it's just a pig thing and not necessarily commercial versus heritage than you would definitely not know if you were trying to breed out the aggression and not, I would think, Yeah. Although I really
have to wonder, Um, how how good of an A I bore they would be if they were aggressive, like I would think they would be difficult to collect. But then again, I've worked with Horse Stallion's who were a little bit on the aggressive side that, you know, they still managed to collect him. Um, so, yeah, there's always ways around it, but I think, Um and I
is a little bit of a nurture site there because of the fact my sow is such a good mom and the daughters of her that I've kept have been friendly and great. I haven't gotten any letters out of them yet, so I can't determine if they're good moms yet or not. But, um, I'm hoping that she'll ease, you know, some of that rubbed off on her daughters, but
like they don't, they don't take up much space, right? You can put him in a smaller pen than you can urge, Pig, I don't know. Maybe. Well, in my experience,
the problem with a smaller pin with any pig is, um if the PIN is not large enough to be able to dry out, then
that's gonna smell. It's
gonna smell really bad. Yeah, um, if it's small ends, they don't like pigs are actually fairly clean animals, and they will go to one area of their pin to go to the bathroom. But if they're pin is so small that they can't get away to goto one area to go to the bathroom than they're always kind of. It's always wet it always stinks. It's ugh. They're basically laying in their own manure. Um, my pigs, like they have, they have their one corner where they go to the bathroom. We have another corner where the water spigot is and they will actually stand there because we have the automatic steel pig nipples for their water. They'll stand there with their lips against the spigot so that all the water runs out so I can create a mud
hole right there. Of course, of course. But
you know, so that area pretty much always stays wet, but it's separate from where they go to the bathroom. So the only time we really haven't issue of smell as if it's just been raining for days on end and the ground just completely saturated.
Well, I think you have that with any animal, though nearly.
Oh, yeah, because honestly, are our chickens and turkeys will smell worse than the pigs when we've had a lot of rain.
Yeah, we don't have very many chickens, and, uh and we have a couple ducks and they're in a massive pen. And when we get a lot of brain, which we've had a lot of moisture here lately. It smells over there. I mean, it's just it's a given. Yeah, because it can't dry out. So
right. Um, yeah. I mean, there's, you know, we've had toe dump fresh soil down. We've gotten wood chips. We put the wood ships down, like anything to kind of get them up out of that mud.
All right, We're still
only problem you run into if you're adding wood chips is it tends to hold that moisture in the soil, and then, you know, it doesn't always do
lot for the smell. Yeah, it's, you know, it's kind of Ah, um, give and take
right. So you have to have them in the same size. The only reason I ask is because I know heritage breeds usually. Um, I don't need the grain and stuff, but they need pasture in order to thrive. So I just wonder if this since they don't get commercial feed or they don't need commercial fees and maybe, right?
Yeah, like I don't I don't have an acre fenced off for my pigs. Um, because even if I put them on grass, they would turn it, they would turn it all over they're interested in eating the roots than they are the actual grass. Um, so they're they're pretty much on grain 24. So I'm not 20 for something, but, I mean, they're just They're 100. Um, so I don't need a large area from that aspect, so they could be on pasture. Now, I could let them out and, you know, let them eat acorns all day long because I have plenty of accord, but they just they tear everything up. Um, they would they would get into the other animal pens if I didn't have them fenced off from the other animal pens. They love to flip over the rabbit cages so they can get any pellets or anything. The rabbits drop. Oh, so it's just just from us for the size aspect. Um, they can just do so much damage when they're out. And so I have to keep them penned up
so the heritage breeds don't do as much damage. I don't
think so. I mean, I know a lot of folks that have their heritage. Pigs. Um, you kind of turned out with all of their other animals, and they get along fine. Uh, the only thing you have to keep mine is they are all divorce. And so there's there is still that chance that they could eat the chickens. Or, um, I've I've heard stories of of pigs going like I's gonna think this is so bad. Um, I have heard stories of pigs being, like, kind of pinned in with dairy goats and eating the utters off of the goats. Oh, my goodness. Right. So there's there's things like that and, you know, you see these cute videos where, like, you know, the piglets is nursing off of the cow or something like that, But they have these sharp, tiny little teeth. And, you know, if you know, if they get a bite in the taste of blood, I would just worry. Um, right, you know, I mean, if they if they bite the South because they will leave marks on the cell, too. The south is usually pretty quick to correct. Um um, but if you're talking about an animal from another species, you know, they may not. I mean, I know how to put a pig in their place, I guess.
Right? I wasn't necessarily talking about Pennington together. Out I always honestly thought that they had to be separated, but I dismissed from, like, a space asked best. You know, like if you have a smaller Yeah, a more acreage or smaller space. If, aside from you know, of course, the needs of their room. But I just wondered if if hair does Rachel thrive in the same amount of space on grain, for instance as a commercial breed. Yeah, I think if
you don't have enough enough pasture for them to get all of their calorie requirements, then you're gonna have to supplement with some grain. Um, bites. I don't know that because you you've seen the big little farm and they had hair. Yes, Higgs. And I don't think they're Pigpen was necessarily that big. But I can't remember if they were supplementing with grain or
not. I want to say they weren't. But the point is it aggress? Yeah, they did. But the farming model that they were trying to build and promote, I think they did not bit. Don't quote me on that, because I'm not entirely sure. Yeah, well, you have a brother thing
trying to do more of a regenerative regenerative permaculture set up. So I think they were at least trying to minimize their green usage.
Right? And it it's more expensive to feed him. Grain, of course. Yes, it iss Yeah. And, um, we will commercial breathes. Can you not feed them green? I know, Like cows, for instance. A lot of them are so used to grain diets that it's really hard to not feed them, at least on supplemental grain. Even if you're trying with I don't know, I think that's
kind of a misnomer, because most cows spend most of their life on pasture. D'oh! Just if you want to pull them off of grass and grain, feed them that it increases that fat content. Um and so you get, like, better marbling and stuff with the beef. If you finished them on grain,
right? I know her. Was it? I think it was when I don't even know she doesn't anymore. Reformation. A pers a long while back was talking about specifically about her dairy cow and how they had to supplement her with grain. Yes, she was grain fed prior to you. I mean, well, and I think that has to the entire thing. Yeah, that has to
do with the milk production too. Because if, um if you're not supplementing with grain, you're gonna get less milk,
right Right now is supplemented into the goats with green. Yeah, like I particular reason
I used to work on a dairy farm, and
some sometimes a year, that we're giving them corn. But then we were also giving them, um, psyllid JJ, which is just like fermented corn stocks and stuff like that. And so we're kind of giving that in place of their grain, But it was just It was almost more to keep them occupied while they're in the milk Stan shins than anything. Yeah, because, I mean, the rest of the time, they were just out on pasture. Um, and like, I could get away with Onley feeding my goats. Hey, but then when I'm actually when my girls Aaron milk, I give them extra grain while they're on the milk stand to keep them occupied. But then also to give them those extra calories for the milk production.
Have you tried the cafe? That's what we'd ended up doing. I have
not. Um I don't know how readily available it is. down here. We
didn't. I found it here. So I would think that you want it there, but way we don't
grow a whole lot of Hey down here.
Right. Well, this is shipped. I mean, we have meals here. Don't get me wrong. But these this little farm that we found it at, you know, they're just distributors, and they have it shipped from somewhere down south. I want to stay Albion. Okay, I can't even remember. Yeah,
I have to look into, um no, we just We get the big alfalfa blocks for the horses, so we just break some of the alfalfa offering. Give it to the goats. Right. I'm sure someone's probably going to be like you can't feed alfalfa. Two goats. They're fine.
Oh, our go tattle, Papa. Like it's Oh, they love
it. I mean, what, they don't end up sleeping in, but, um, getting completely subjective pigs Anyway, it throws off the calcium phosphorus ratio. Yada yada. Ya know, we could talk about that
another time. Okay, I'm talking about yes. Anyway, I expect a pig's grain. Um, and great. Yeah. So Okay. Actually, I guess we can
kind of roll into our cons Because we can talk about commercial pigs. Can you not feed them grain? Um, the problem is they're just they're not gonna be sustainable in pasture because, like I said, they're going to turn it and they're gonna go after. I mean, if you have a corns and things like that, they love nuts, but mostly they're gonna go after the roots. And so your passion is not going to, um,
last replenish itself right now. That's not to
say you can't dio a rotational basis because I know folks who you know, will. They're basically fence in like their garden area or somewhere where they're planning on receding the offense that end, like, for the winter and let the pigs stay on it and the pigs will turn it and eat whatever's in the ground and fertilize it all winter. And then in the spring, they can recede it. Um, and then maybe, you know, in the summer they put chickens or horses or cows or something like that on it, and then the winter, they kind of do the same thing over again. Aye. Or they rotate him to a different pasture or something like that. Ah, And so I think you can do that to a degree. Um, but you're the pigs are gonna grow slower, and so it depends on kind of what your goals are gonna be from me. Um, if I'm if I'm raising a terminal animal, Um, I don't want to keep them longer than I really have to, because I have to. I have to pay to house them. I have to. I have to pay to maintain their housing. And then there's also that increased chance that something horrible happens. And I end up with a vet bill or something like that, or end up right animal. And so I think the longer you have to keep them, the greater your risks increase. And then also ultimately, the greater your expenses increase, even though you may or may not be actually feeding them like they may not actually be on the feed. Bill,
I understand you're saying,
Yeah. When I calculated out my costs for raising a commercial pig, it only came up to about a dollar a pound. And that's on grain. So I really didn't think that was too bad. Um,
you don't feed him organic grain, right? you just feed him?
No, I don't buy. It would be great, but I just can't afford that. I I get it from a local mill. And so it's I mean, I can only see what's in it. Um,
right, you're not buying, like commercial feed from the seats or whatever,
right? It's, you know, it's not Taylor did. And it's yes, right. Um and I mean, it's fresh. I like to think it's good quality. I mean, the pigs, you know, all of my animals do well on it. Um, you know, I'm not giving them a bunch of extra stuff.
Uh, so if if I wanted to clear an area, it's probably better to use a commercial pig than a heritage big. Um, I mean, in terms
of turning over the soil. Yes, because the heritage pigs, they may dig a little bit, but not nearly what a commercial pick will.
And then, how long to Bisher for a commercial? I've heard
of some folks butchering as early as six months. My allow average has usually been about 7 to 8 months. Okay, Yeah, it's it's a very short grow out, and we're talking £300 live wait by the time they're 78 months
old. And anyway, what's the, uh, yield on that? Well, I've waited 300 because that's about what? Ours. Woz and I know what our yield was and it wasn't very significant. Others in the Lord. Ah, about 50% return. Okay, Yeah, ours was closer to about 35. Yeah, and and here's the
thing that I've noticed with my commercial pigs with me raising them myself and also with me controlling the breeding in the selection. Um, I'm still getting I'm getting lard back. I'm getting a good fat, um, rim on my cuts, and I'm getting good marbling, so I'm still getting good flavor. Um, I haven't had a chance to really compare it to, like, true heritage pigs to see how the flavor compares, but in terms of comparing what I'm getting to what I buy at the store, I will not buy pork at the store anymore because it's so bland.
It is gland.
Yeah, and so ours. Yeah, I just has so much more flavor. It's so juicy. Um, and you know, I know what goes into it. So I think it's, you know, it's tough to compare homegrown port like homegrown pork to heritage. I don't know what the difference is because all the comparisons you see our heritage too commercial like store bought
Ryan or brought commercial break.
Yeah, and so And I think no matter what, homegrown is always gonna taste better. Regardless,
it's always better because even if you did, even well, even if you don't raise it yourself, if you find homegrown pork, regardless of the breed, it's it's better anyway, because you can talk to the farmer and figure out we have an actual pig farm down the road from us. It's disgusting. Yeah, it is. It is a house, you weak and in It's the ways. And when we get closer to, especially on a nice hot summer day, you could smell it for quite a ways. Well, I I
grew up in the middle of Hug country in Ohio, and I mean, we had, uh I mean, still, um, the farmers that are still left on my road that I grew up on our hog farmers. Now their practices have changed quite a bit. So, um, I think they have a one there more self contained than they used to be. And I think they have better ventilation on their barns than they used to have. But right when they would clean out those pins in the spring. I mean, you would smell it for miles. And I, um I don't notice that anymore. Uh, so that was kind of a big reason why growing up, I had zero interest in raising pigs. And it's kind of ironic that now, here I am, breeding them. Um, but, you know, it's also one of those things where I learned that what I learned growing up as being normal didn't have to be normal,
And so I found ways to make it work for us that I'm more comfortable with that doesn't have the smell. And and, you know, like I said, I really like my pigs. Aside from, you know, they want to knock me over and trample me and steal food. Um, but yes. So we're talking a little bit about yield. Um,
I will. I mean, I can I can
fill my freezer with one hog, and, um I mean, probably if you compare a life wayto hanging Wait, I think it's actually like 75%. But then once they break it down into retail cuts, um, I I mean, I usually get over £100 of pork back. I mean, probably closer, like, 125 £130 of pork. And I mean, that's usually enough to feed my family. We may run out of sausage pretty quick. Um, and I still have hams in my freezer that I need to process. But, uh, if you compare that to a heritage pig that you, you know, from from my experience, the heritage pigs and granted, this is, you know, pretty much little to no grain take about 12 to 18 months before they are a butcher.
Wait. Yeah, I think ours was right. At 16 months old. Yeah. And they'll they'll keep
growing. I mean, all pigs will keep growing until they're about, but yeah, I mean, if you get much bigger than that, you know, the meat starts to get tougher. It starts to get a stronger flavor. You know, we had one borrow that We didn't butcher until he was, too. And there's definitely I mean, he was He was castrated as an month old, but There's still a strong, distinct flavor there, and it's not necessarily favorable, all
It's It's a very strong flavor. I have to be a little more sparing with the meat from him. Um, so, yes. So you're looking at feeding or keeping them for 12 to 18 months, and then you're only gonna get about half the yield. Um, because I think it's two more typical to get closer, like 50 £60 of meat off of them.
Yeah, that's about that's about what we got. Yeah, out of ours. Yeah. When all of a sudden. And we did butchered ourselves, and we were completely knowledgeable. But the the former that we bought the pig off of actually did help us, and he corrupt growing, you know, raising pigs. So he knew what he was doing. So we didn't go into completely blind. And it's not really a lot different cuts of, like a deer and we but your own dear. So but yeah, we didn't get anywhere near £100 knowing you,
so yes. So if you want to feed your family, you're gonna have to raise two or three, which I mean, if you're only able to butcher them every year to year and 1/2. Then you're probably actually keeping more than two or three so that you can kind of keep a steady supply of poor
and the bacon is on. It's good.
No. Well, that's Yeah. The thing with the higher fat content is your pork. Billions of being almost all fat.
Yeah, Horace was pretty. I mean, it was good and I cared it or, you know, we did it ourselves. But it wasn't nearly as good as, um, like other other homegrown. Like he said, you really can't compare one of the other. So I will say other homegrown that we bought it like the farmer's market and stuff it was not near is good as that, because there's so much fat on. Yeah, don't yield near a cz much bacon as like a hunger on pork belly,
right? Yeah, because well, in, you know, the the commercial breathes air just so much wider. And so your pork belly just ends up being a larger cut of me.
off of my pigs will get about £20 of bacon off one pig. You're on £20 of pork belly but yeah, and then, all
cure it and smoke it for my own bacon. But and then, like I said, you know, for me, um, I have a hard time digesting anything that's high fat, and it will actually make me sick. So for me, um, you know, eat in the the fattier cuts. I really couldn't because, um, I just it made me ill. But
there's also folks that just from a dietary standpoint, may not want something with that fatty.
And then I see in our notes here in this nation that we have noticed that you said that they're not is marketable to people that wanna raise takes for me. The heritage breeds are all
right. Yeah, for me. I mean, the nice thing with the heritage breeds is you do have an educated market that's starting to evolve of folks who do want to raise them for me. But then you also have a lot of folks that are interested in them because they're smaller and then keeping for pets. And I know folks that have raised him his pets, and some even have ah, um, like, living indoors. And then they go out to go to the bathroom like their dogs do. But
that's so weird. I I know it is. I mean, they're they're smart. They can be house trained. Um, they're not the friendliest pets I know. Livestocks, livestock. I
know. I Well, you know, I've seen I've seen goats and chickens were in diapers inside the house, too. So but yeah. And the thing is, you still have the majority of people that when they think of raising a meat pig, they think of your typical commercial breeds and really, they want to raise, like, one pig a year, started in the spraying, butcher it in the fall, filled our freezer and then not have to worry about it for a year. You know,
Right. Never have readily available. Right. Um, and I didn't also Yeah, well, the thing
I ran into, and one reason why I want to start raising my own was just because we were We're buying piglets from other people and the quality was so hit or miss, even when we bought commercial bred pigs. Um, the the two that we got ended up being really sick and full of worms. And then they grew really slow. And we got to the point where we just had to butcher him because they just weren't growing anymore. And they just kind of stalled. And it's the quality has been a lot better since we started breeding our own raising our own.
All right, well, I know that we have trouble. I mean, I don't know how we found the pig we found to begin with. I was just, you know, chance. But, um, finding hair does read anything can be incredibly difficult. Even if you go to, um the Here it is. Read conservation website. It's still
Yeah, And I know I had looked into Gloucester old spots at one point, and I was gonna have to go out of state to find a
breeder, right? You know
that I do know one friend who is raising Cooney Cooney's. And I think she's really the only breeder in the area. I think she's pretty much supplied everybody else. I know That's raising
on. Yeah, I know. You know, a lot of times, I just from looking around that it can be difficult to find somebody that has, even if they raise them, a lot of people just raising for themselves. They don't sell stock so that you could bring your own. That can be difficult to locate, as opposed to finding stock commercial stock. There are a lot more readily available. I know a lot of the pigs that, like our own, like for each fairs and stuff. Most of them are what would be considered commercial breeds. There are very few, if any, heritage breeds that are entered into our roit fares. Well, and I will say the four H
fares are so, so competitive. Um, I know down here, folks will actually go up to Illinois to get piglets and bring them back down here. Now. We also have a lot of show pig breeders down here, too. But I mean, there these kids are paying 253 $100 for a piglets to raise up to show with the fair, and they're not making any profit. It's just strictly for the competitive aspect of it. Yeah, um, and I guess the prestige that comes with it. But that was also another factor for us. Choosing the commercial breeds was because I wanted to be able to provide the local for H kids with a more affordable alternative. I don't know how competitive my piglets would be against some of these commercial growers, but, you know, at least they would make market wait because that's one thing you have to consider is with the four H shows. They have to meet a minimum weight requirement before they're allowed to even entering the fair. So they don't meet their weight by fair time, which you're probably not going to meet the weight with a heritage breed. Then they're not even going to be allowed to show or sell that pig at the auction. Right? So that was a big reason why we chose the commercial breeds. Now the problem we ran into was we did sell some piglets to some for a Cher's for them to show, and they I don't know exactly what happened. Um, I suspect that they were not feeding them properly and they did not make fair Wait so none of them got to show. So I didn't get to see how competitive they would have been in the show ring. Um, because I part of the thing that you know people run into is they try to be economical and save money and or they just don't realize how much food pigs need when they're growing. I mean, they need up to £6 a day. Um, which I mean, really, if you if you look at it adds up pretty quickly, and if they're not getting that, they just won't grow as fast. At least you know, right? Right. Commercial breeds. Um, but yeah. And I've, you know, I've known some folks that have started out with heritage. Pigs tried doing heritage pigs, and they ended up not sticking with it because either they just weren't getting enough meat to feed their family or they could not sell the piglets. And, like, I know one person in particular, they tried, and I even kind of raised some concerns with how small they were because I went over to to help them count cast rate. And they told me that the piglets were a month old and they were, like, smaller than my newborns. Oh, my. Yeah. And well, and then I saw the mom, and there was no way the mom was £100. She was just tiny and ah, I was like, You know, I don't think these air gonna be the best pigs for you and I
all know these Air
Heritage breather. They're great. And keep in mind, these were not, um these were not true heritage Red pigs, Because a true heritage bread is actually a pure bred heritage breed. This was some mixed they had gotten from somebody else. So who knows what their actual heritage was? Um, but they I think she basically ended up giving away the sow and all the piglets because she could not sell any of them.
Well, that's terrible. I owe a lot of people that raise the Cooney Cooney's, and they seem to have pretty good luck with the few that I know that raised him. So yeah, and I'd say the nice thing
with the Cooney Cooney's is that there is such a thing is the Juliana's is another small breed. Um, you have a good pet market and like I know my friend who raises the Cooney Cooney is she probably sells as many as for pet as she does, um, as she does for meat, right? And with with selling a pure bred breed, people kind of know what they're getting um, you know, you don't end up with any surprises. Like you see some of these stories where someone thought they were getting a miniature pig and turned out to be a York shire, and now they have a £500 pig living in the house. Ah,
good idea. Always a good idea. Always
a good idea. Um, I will tell you from because I keep my breeding pigs who are basically glorified pets because I haven't actually bred them in a few years. Um, commercial breathe are very expensive pets. They eat a lot. Uh, anyway, yeah, obviously we decided that that heritage breeds were not the best option for our homestead. I know a lot of folks
and I hope I didn't make it sound too negative towards heritage. I mean, like I said, I've I've known some folks who it works great for them because they don't want to feed the grain. They want to just have them on pasture. Um, my understanding is they do make great mothers because you don't really need a lot of special accommodations for faring with them. A lot of folks just kind of let them build a nest and, you know, they have their babies out there and their pasture, and they usually do pretty
good. Yeah, I know. Generally speaking, heritage breeds are usually a little more sustainable in that aspect than commercial breeds in any kind of Doesn't matter what species were talking about. Just better for those types of things a little more sustainable, you know, And we've we've
run into our own problems, um, trying to get ours bread. Because the way the commercial break breeds have been bred, it actually makes it really difficult for them to breathe naturally. Um, especially since our Boris, like, six inches shorter than all of our girls. Um And then, of course, you need to really monitor them to make sure that they're in standing. He if you want to artificial insemination. And I probably have not been doing
a good enough job monitoring mine. So e what she was saying you were singing. Um, anyway, so from from a breeding aspect, some
folks may find the heritage breeds to actually work out better for them. Um,
can you breed all commercial breathes? Can they bring nationally? Because I know what a lot of different species that's not actually a possibility anymore. Um, you know, I think I think it
depends. Um, you know, I've I've got friends that actually have show pigs that they have. They have been able to breed them naturally. Most folks with show pigs, um, are doing artificial insemination so they can actually select, which bores,
right? I agreed to,
um But then I've also had show pig breeders tell me that it's becoming more and more difficult for them to breed. Naturally, they have. They almost have to. They they almost have to artificially inseminate because the way they're being bred there vulva is so high up on the hams that it's just a bad angle for the boars
to be able to get to. Okay, So if somebody wanted to race pigs and wanted to bring naturally than maybe hair to treat to be a little sustainable of an option,
Yes, and and again, you know, it's probably also gonna come down to the individual pigs. They can certainly select for a cell that, um you know, I mean, most folks that are trying to breed their own back yard course probably don't want to go with a true like show Pig bread, commercial bread, pig. Because they have been bred. So lean, Um, and so you can try toe, you know, select cells that aren't quite so, like, high and tight. Um, that are easier to breed. Of course. Then you got to make sure you
have a boar that's tall
enough to get the job done. But, you know, if you're just talking about buying a piglets two raise in your backyard for me, then personally, I think the commercial breeds are a better option for most folks.
Okay, well, I still think that heritage reads win. But like I said, I don't have any experience with that, so I'm kind of out of my element, but I know you know, overall, I just feel like, you know, we need to preserve our heritage and the only way to do that if people actually raise our heritage so well that I don't Yeah, I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong commercial breeds and you know, if that's what works for you, and that's what works for you. And I don't know specifically because I don't have any experience in it. But I just you know, I've got something that I just personally feel called to do. It's just don't try to help preserve our heritage and and raise more sustainable Marines of whatever it may be. Yes, and
I do choose like i a SZ faras. The poultry goes, I go with heritage breeds. But when it comes to like, especially the pigs, it was just more economical for us to go commercial. Well, and, you know, I like that we can We can choose how we breed them so that we can still get a nice balance between the meat
to the fat ratio. Right? Right. Well, that in that aspect, I definitely think that commercial would be better than, um, heritage. Because, like I said, we definitely had a lot of fat. And but, you know, hopefully somewhere along the line, we could find some kind of common ground, right? Yeah. Great. Glorious. Raise our own. I'd be
curious to try other heritage breeds because it does seem like the glass, your old spots. Right. But I do think there's still a large pig.
Yeah, Most of them are, I think, generally speaking, and, you know, I know that the commercial breeds definitely grow faster and that's you know, that's what any of them. So you think it's held unnecessarily right? But that's not necessarily a bad thing to go slow food, either. You know, in some aspects, yes, it's more expensive. But you know, we've become a society than patients.
True well in the large. The longer you can grow them out, the more the flavor has time to develop.
So, you know, you hear about like the Cornish Rock chickens how there's so much they're the flavor of their meat is so bland compared to raising like red rockets. Or even if I butcher like my austral or Brewster's, their flavor is different than the Cornish crosses and say they don't like Heritage
turkeys, right? Right.
And really, I think the only reason the heritage breeds really fell out of favor was because large started to get such a bad rap when we started to go ass low fat diet,
Crisco and Crisco little wax alternative, right? And you know it is well, you know, in a lot of a lot of love. What makes the commercial breeds, once
they are today, is the way they've been selectively bred over the years. And so who knows where we may take Heritage Bay pigs if we start selectively breeding? Oh, you know, for different
aspects, right? If there was a bigger market for him, I think that's the other problem. Because so many people it's easier to find the commercial breeds one. And for two, like you said of the commercial, breeds are typically a lot more marketable. So it's, you know, it's hard to I want to make, you know, selectively breed things and make a bigger market for them when everybody's still goes to the other end, right? Exactly. All right, well, I think
that is it for today. It sounds like the natives are getting restless on your end. So yes, I mind just popped in to check on me.
So all right, well, we will
link to the Lifestyle Conservatory in the show notes. If you want to learn more
about the different
heritage pig breeds that are available, or you can also check out episode free on beyond the homestead dot com, and we'll talk to next time