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Old 03-09-2014, 08:51 PM
Status: "Hey I thought this was the train to Margaritaville?" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,911 posts, read 15,586,135 times
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I was going to add to MTSilvertips point that the heirloom breeds are making somewhat of a comeback. A lot of good cooks are going back to using lard as a standard and the heirloom hogs are valued. Especially the leaf lard.

If I were to raise hogs I would definitely go to an heirloom breed. Much leaner and overall less demanding to raise.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,550 posts, read 12,651,288 times
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Actually, some of the heirloom hogs are considered lard hogs. The three fat little black heirloom piggies here are probably closing on 40% fat by weight. They're about as wide as they are tall!
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:01 AM
Status: "Hey I thought this was the train to Margaritaville?" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,911 posts, read 15,586,135 times
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Oh wow, didn't know that. I know one thing I miss is butchering hogs and making good lard. We didn't use a lot of it, but boy it made a difference in cooking.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Some heritage hogs were raised primarily for their lard, it was a valuable commodity, sometimes more valuable than the meat.
Some are still around like the American Guinea hog
















Some are really unusual like the Mulefoot hog which doesn't have cloven hooves


There are a lot of heritage breed hogs that graze and do better on grassse and forbes and orchard leavings than on production feeds.

Heritage stock is usually much more disease resistant than commercial breeds, and much hardier which makes them a good choice for a small holder or homesteader.

As you don't have to innoculate them for a lot of disease, they finish best on pasture instead of feed lots, and even though they take longer to finish, the meat is much leaner and healthier than production so you end up with a choice product much lower in cholesterol and saturated fats and no hormones.

There is more and more market for this kind of meat, even though it usually costs more, but it is a way for someone with a small amount of acreage to produce a product that will make money for the landowner.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:43 AM
Status: "Hey I thought this was the train to Margaritaville?" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,911 posts, read 15,586,135 times
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Hmm- maybe time to build a hog pen. Hell I'm halfway there already. I've already got the mud...
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,550 posts, read 12,651,288 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threerun View Post
Hmm- maybe time to build a hog pen. Hell I'm halfway there already. I've already got the mud...
Us too. I can no longer tell the dogs from the pigs.

But if you keep your pigpen dry, it will have no odor whatever. It's the mud that gets stinky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSilvertip View Post
Some heritage hogs were raised primarily for their lard, it was a valuable commodity, sometimes more valuable than the meat. Some are still around like the American Guinea hog
These little black pigs here are Guineas by name, but if you look at 'em closely and how they differ from other pigs, it's pretty obvious they're actually the lard type of Mukota (which has lean and lard types)... both breeds are uncommon but from what I've read there are only 200 purebred Guineas in the U.S. Both have a distinctively larger gut that copes well with eating nothing but grass, have very low water requirements, and are known for having 'sweet' meat (at least if fed only hay) ...not to mention that they look identical.

Wouldn't be the first time a regional bloodline got called a 'breed', tho. Frex, historically all the Middle-Eastern sighthounds are the same breed with different coat types (eg. afghan vs saluki).
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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My yard just started to dry out, now we got rain

I had talked to my father about raising Hereford hogs, The Livestock Conservancy

Nice medium sized hog, matures in 5- 6 months, does well in a variety of climates, does well in both enclosed and pasture situations. Good disposition and adaptable.

It would be easier to get Duroc or Hampshires, but just like raising Scottish Highlander Cattle instead of angus, I have to be different

Heritage animals can be hard to get, and get breeding stock for, but their hardiness and disease resistance as well as the higher quality meat is hard to beat.

We used to raise Wessex hogs, spoiled me for production breeds ever since. That breed is pretty much extinct in the US now, but back in the 60's and 70's there were about 3 breeders in Montana that I knew and we dealt with.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wessex_Saddleback

Those guys were Hampshire breeders but wanted to bring back some of the characteristics of the Wessex to the breed.
When they died and moved their stocks were sold or eaten, and we couldn't get any more breeding stock, so ours were cross bred out of existence until we got away from raising hogs in the 1980's.

In getting links I did find the last breeder in the US, http://www.maveric9.com/recent/wessex-saddleback-hogs/

I may have to look into working with them again....

Last edited by MTSilvertip; 03-10-2014 at 10:19 AM..
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
4,943 posts, read 5,841,217 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Us too. I can no longer tell the dogs from the pigs.

But if you keep your pigpen dry, it will have no odor whatever. It's the mud that gets stinky.



These little black pigs here are Guineas by name, but if you look at 'em closely and how they differ from other pigs, it's pretty obvious they're actually the lard type of Mukota (which has lean and lard types)... both breeds are uncommon but from what I've read there are only 200 purebred Guineas in the U.S. Both have a distinctively larger gut that copes well with eating nothing but grass, have very low water requirements, and are known for having 'sweet' meat (at least if fed only hay) ...not to mention that they look identical.

Wouldn't be the first time a regional bloodline got called a 'breed', tho. Frex, historically all the Middle-Eastern sighthounds are the same breed with different coat types (eg. afghan vs saluki).
Do they look something like this?? Chunky little porkers aren't they?
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,550 posts, read 12,651,288 times
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Yep, but the ears are more upright, as in some Mukota pigs. Like the top one in build.

They're really quiet pigs, you hardly ever hear a peep out of 'em. Meanwhile the other pigs raise all kinds of squealing hell on a regular basis. And they're friendly and gentle, but also more inclined to bite (tho it seems to be social, not aggressive). The boar has tusks you could shave with, but fortunately he's not the one that likes to nip. When the piglets were first born they all wanted to follow me, just like puppies.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:51 PM
 
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Back to OP.
There is an investment required for infrastructure to raise pigs start to finish. However, not a huge investment is needed to feed out a few pigs. It is much better tasting but not as economical as buying it at grocery store...very similar to difference in buying vs feeding out chickens.

The best breed for curing (& barbequing) is Berkshire due to natural heavy marbling. A premium is paid for Berkshire pork and a niche specialty market could likely be developed by a small operator such as OP. This would enable expenditure of infrastructure of farrowing facility & nursery facility to be re-cooped. Pig production is A-I friendly which enables a change of type within a few breedings.

Montana pork producers of traditional pork (Yorkshire x Duroc or Hamp) have not realized prices that support infrastructure and feed costs for many years. I can only think of one in Montana that has remained in business. He cut back sow numbers to retain his bloodlines and is waiting out the low prices. He is keeping his specialty sausage producer supplied and has given up his Falls brand bacon contracts. He is a grains producer so he feels can afford to wait. Others have gone out of business with exception of Hutterite colony producers.
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