We are raising our own piglets here on the farm, we call them Large Berkabaws. They are a cross of Large Black and Berkshire sows and our Ossabaw Island Hog, Don Juan. We are excited about this breed cross, the berkshire and large black sows are rare breeds, as classified by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The Large Black pig is listed as critical by the ALBC website, they are known for being good foragers on pastures and are well suited to raise large litters outdoors.
The Ossabaw Island breed is also exciting for a few reasons. First, the breed is listed as critical on the ALBC's website, ironically we keep the breed alive by raising them for meat. Secondly, they are directly related to pigs that the Spanish brought over in the 16th century, leaving them on an Island off the coast of Georgia, called Ossabaw Island. There the pigs thrived and through the course of natural selection became smaller and well adapted to the ecology of the island. They tend to be short and weigh in the region of 200 pounds when full grown. Because of their environment they are well adapted to be raised out in the pastures and woods.
The pigs at Fatstock spend their days in the woods or on weedy portions of pasture. We provide huts to allow pigs to take shelter and nest. Their diets are grain-based with supplemental veggie scraps from the kitchen. They are the ultimate recyclers on the farm!
Both the woods and the pasture allow our pigs to root and forage in a way that mimics their natural habitat and keeps them happy. They are terrific at tilling up the ground which allows us to re-seed pasture with more nutritious grasses for sheep.