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a174 where herds of pigs were turned out into the forests in late RULESANDREGULATIONS…
summer. During the autumn they fattened on acorns and beech Pigsareomnivoresbutit’sillegal
mast before being slaughtered in November. After that the bacon tofeedthemonmeatorany
would feed the locals through the winter. “I’d love to see history otheranimalby-productapart
repeating itself,” she says. fromfishmealinpigfood.It’s
Under normal conditions, however, she concedes that while her againstthelawtofeedthem
pigs spend many hours happily rooting in the soil, in reality they withcateringwasteorwaste
get little of their own food. thathasbeenincontactwith
“They get thiamine deficiency if they’re not fed a balanced diet,” meat,includingcookingoil.
she explains. “And it’s a particular risk if they are feeding on Therearesomewastefoods
bracken roots.” youcangivepigs,suchas
Commercial pigs have around three litters a year but Sanna’s are vegetablesandcereal,aslongastheydon’tcomefromcatering
restricted to one or maybe two a year, depending on the availability establishments.Defrahavefulldetails,justtel:08459335577.
of the boar and how the ground is looking.
“This year it was two because we got stuck with the boar for CHOOSEYOURBREED…
several months thanks to foot and mouth and the girls all ended up Traditionalbreedpigsaremostsuitedtolivingoutside.Theytendtobe
with more than we’d intended,” she shrugs – then smiles at the smallerandhardierandthemostpopularincludeBerkshires,British
sight of the piglets careering around their paddock in an anarchic Saddlebacks,MiddleWhites,OxfordSandandBlacks,Tamworthsand
game of tag. “But who’s complaining?” GloucestershireOldSpots.
“I may be vegetarian, but I’m not sentimental. Bramble and CarolHarrisofPentrePigsinWelshpool,Powys,hasnotonlyreared
Hazel were bought to clear the land and at the end of the summer free-rangeporkersformanyyears,shehaswrittenabookcalled
we were going to use them for food. Then I fell in love with them, TraditionalPigKeeping.
so the first litters were an afterthought.” “Contactthebreedclubsandspeaktosomeoneabouttheonesyou’re
interestedin,”shesuggests.“Breedsdovary,though.Tamworthsaremore
adventurousandnoisywhereasOldSpotsaremoresolid.”
• Details of different pig breeds can be found at www.britishpigs.org.uk
PAYINGUP…
Whenitcomestobuyingpigs,pricescanvarydramaticallyonadaily
basis,accordingtoKeithBrown,chairmanoftheWalesandBorder
CountiesPigBreeders’Association.
“Generally,aneight-weekoldpedigreeweanerwillcostyoubetween
£30and£50andabreedingsowwillcostupwardsof£150,althoughyou
canpayupto£400,”hesays.“Butyoucouldpay£18foraweaneroneday
atHerefordMarketand£40to£45forsimilarthenextday.”
GOODHEALTH…
Ahealthypigshouldhaveshinyeyesandcoat,agoodappetite,bealert
andlivelyandrespondwelltopeopleanditscompanions.
However,pigscansufferfromavarietyofailmentsbeyondswineflu
Despite her protestations about being practical, she confesses includingworms,parasites,diarrhoea,colds,pneumonia,sunburn,
that she couldn’t bring herself to send all of them to the abattoir heatstroke,swinepoxandevenarthritis.
– hence Porker Devine joined her mini-herd. Somediseasesarerarebut‘notifiable’,suchasfootandmouth,anthrax
“Then of course we had to keep Bluebell and Buttercup from the andswinefever.IfyoususpectsignsyoumustcontactDefraimmediately.
next litter – but it’s now time to be a bit more pragmatic. You can’t
just keep on breeding pigs because they are pretty,” she says. FOODFORTHOUGHT…
“Most of these are going to be eaten and my daughter, Harry, is Traditionallyrearedpigsarereadytobeslaughteredataboutsixmonths
very sensible about it all. There were a few tears when the last lot old.Thosedestinedtobebaconneedlongertomature–aboutayear.
went off to the abattoir, but it doesn’t bother her at all when Thosebredforlargerjointsandtenderloins–sixtoninemonths.And
‘ginger sausages’ come out of the freezer: she knows they had a older‘sausagefemales’canbeslaughteredanytime.TheMeatHygiene
happy natural life.” Servicecansupplyalistofaccreditedestablishments.Tel:01904455501.
Indeed, Sanna’s freezer is already bursting with sausages and
joints from her first litters and the Rhayader butcher is going to ANIMALMAGIC…
stock her next batch as local organic pork. “Pigsreallydomakegoodpets,”sayssmallholderRobBrownfromCefn
“My next plan is to convert the old outdoor privy into a CyfronyddFarminPowys,“butit’smuchbettertokeeptwothanone
smokehouse,” she laughs. “Who knows what will come next.” solitarypig,asthey’reveryintelligentandsociablecreatures.
“Assoonasapigcatchessightofyou,it’llrunuptoyou,giveyousome
fussandthenwalkalongsideyouquitehappily.Andbecauseoftheir
FURTHERINFORMATION intelligence,they’reeasiertotrainthandogsandarenaturallyextremely
Tofindoutmoreaboutpigkeeping,contactKeithBrownattheWales clean–they’llevenwipetheirfeetbeforecominginside!
andBorderCountiesPigBreedersAssociationontel:01982552100. “Anyonecontemplatingowningapigshouldvisitanagriculturalshow
SannaSargeantalsoregularlyhaspigletsforsale.Tel:01597810643. toseethevariousbreedsandtalktotheowners.”
• Cefn Cyfronydd Farm, Cyfronydd,Welshpool, Powys.Tel: 07831 333545.
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